Leading Agile… 200 Posts and Counting!
Written by Mike Cottmeyer Wednesday, 9 September 2009 10:57
I wanted to take a minute this morning and mark a pretty cool milestone for Leading Agile. Yesterday I published my 200th post.
As you might imagine, I put a ton of energy into creating content for this blog. It has become a passion… a hobby even. It has been extremely rewarding to see how you guys have responded to all that effort. It’s not just about traffic and stats… although we’ll get to that in a minute… it’s about the quality of the interaction. I love it when people leave comments or repost something I’ve written out to Twitter. The conversation is what makes it all worthwhile.
The first six months I was writing Leading Agile it was called Applied Agile Leadership. I had like 10 subscribers and I am pretty sure they were all people that I worked with at CheckFree. My sister might have subscribed just becuase she felt sorry for me. Those first few months were pretty lean… if you go back and look I did a whopping three posts between June 2007 and December 2007. I was too busy in the thick of managing a pretty large program and I was commuting to Portland every other week.
The turning point for me was when I started working for VersionOne.
Not only was I working for a company that encouraged me to write… I also became a trainer and a consultant. My interactions with our customers have been a huge influence on my writing. They have helped fuel the passion… and when I’ve felt like I had nothing else to say… they have always come through with some new set of problems to solve. I’ve mentioned here before why I like to write… but a big part of it is having real people that I am trying to help. So… 2008 blew 2007 out of the water. That year I did 80 posts… averaging about 6-7 posts a month. I’ve always felt that if I was able to do two a week… that was enough.
Even though my writing went up in 2008, it took a long time to for my pageviews and subscribers to catch up. On October 2nd, 2008 I hit an inflection point. That day I jumped a few hundred subscribers… and as you can see from the chart below… my velocity of new subscribers increased as well. Looking back… I wish I knew what I did to make that happen. I had just published my 63rd post… and around that time I had just spoken at Agile 2008 in Toronto and the Agile Business Conference in London. I had also been doing a bunch of international engagements. Maybe it was just a matter of becoming better known in the community, but that day seemed to be my tipping point.
Actual pageviews during that time did not change as dramatically, but you can see that there is definitely some correlation between traffic and subscribers. That certainly makes sense just from a common sense perspective, but it is interesting to see the correlation in the actual data.
Google Analytics – Pageviews
Yesterday my good friend Martin Olesen from Denmark asked me to pick my favorite three posts from all 200. Intrigued… I decided to see if I could do it. I ended up picking 10. The funny thing is that unless you have gone back through my archives… most people probably have not ever read many of these. At the time many of these were written… I was writing to maybe 70 people. Rather than try to rank them by preference… I mean how can you choose between your children… I am going to list them from oldest to youngest. That seems fair… don’t you think?
- Does the Agile Project Leader Exist? – Your first is always the most memorable… not necessarily the best!
- Strategy as Simple Rules – Here I starting to shape my understanding of Scrum/Agile as a simple rules framwork.
- Inverting the Iron Triangle – This is where I start trying to rationalize my background in traditional project management with my agile message.
- Managing Too Much Complexity – People make things way to hard. Part of the key to being agile is reducing complexity… not managing it.
- Agile or Iterative and Incremental – Let’s call it what it is… there is alot of benefit to being iterative and incremental… let’s just not call it agile if it isn’t. This is also the post I did on October 2nd… the day that my blog starting getting significant attention.
- Evolution of a Project Schedule – This became the nucleus of my Agile PMP talk
- The Secret to Organizational Agility – This post has shaped almost everything else I’ve written about since.
- Are Scrum Roles Really Sufficient? – This was the kick-off post for my whole Agile PO team rant. This post will go down in history of the predecessor of the book Dennis and I are writing. At least from my point of view.
- Is your Organization out of Alignment? – I think this is the biggest problem to agile adoption. Again… another major theme of the book.
- 7 Tips to Get Started Blog Writing – I think I like this one becuase it marks the first time I felt confident enough in my writing approach to give others advice.
When I look back over the past 200 posts… I don’t think that my writing style has changed all that much. I may have gotten a little more conversational as I have gotten more comfortable talking to my readers. The biggest change is that I am better able to get ideas out with fewer words. I haven’t done the math but I think my average post length has probably gone down. I also think I have gotten faster getting ideas on paper. The average time I spend writing a post has gone from around 4 hours to probably less than 2. Maybe that is becuase I am writing shorter posts than I used to
Anyway… thanks for humoring me here. I sincerely appreciate that you guys are along for the ride and I am really looking forward to doing this again at post 400!