Michael's Books

Re-channeling the Book

It’s been some months since I have written about the book, and needless to say, much has taken place. The sad (the death of my friend Marc Orchant), the happy (the birth of Elizabeth, my 8th child), as less as all of those things which requires a certain relentless of purpose and dogged determination (being Dad to 8 children 24×7, running a business, caring for a lifestyle block, balancing the books, etc.).

Although it has been quiet on this book blog, there’s been background happenings on the book front too. I submitted on time the first 25% of the manuscript, back in the middle of December (and just a few days before Elizabeth was born too). Sandra thanked me for sending it in, and then with Christmas and sickness up at Microsoft Press, it was a good month before I heard back on “where to from here?” She had some valid concerns about how the content was turning out, giving my unflinching style in writing how I saw things being.

I too, on my own account, was concerned about how the book was turning out — we’d agreed a blueprint for the book that looked great in a contract, but as I started to dig into SharePoint and how it worked for collaboration, it wasn’t lining up on the content side for the business end user. The 7 Pillars assessment that I originally saw as being central to the book was more difficult to write and explain for a business end user than I hoped it would be, and I began to get the sense that all of the 7 Pillars material was better targeted at the CIOs and IT Professionals. Obviously I found it interesting, but the more I worked with it in the light of the business end user, the more I questioned whether I had my target market and material in alignment. It may have been interesting, but I started to see it as non-core.

Thus when Sandra and I talked a few weeks back, I said that I thought we needed to make Seamless Teamwork a different book. The 7 Pillars piece was intended to be a 200 page Part 2, with the processes of effective collaboration as Part 3 (with Part 1 as an introduction and overview of collaboration and teamwork). I advocated that we should shoot Part 2 in the head, and that the book should be an “expanded Part 3”. And Sandra tentatively agreed, with the next action in my court to define a new table of contents and ethos.

So that’s the focus of this week … what does Seamless Teamwork look like now?

Note that when I said that we should shoot Part 2 in the head, I meant for the anticipated audience for the book. They don’t need the depth of the original Part 2 in the book, but there is a group of people who do (and, indeed, who I believe must know the full extent of where and how SharePoint does and does not meet the framewok). As I said earlier, the 7 Pillars material is better addressed to the CIOs and IT Organizations, and thus I finished (in condensed form) my 7 Pillars review of SharePoint and have released it as a White Paper (see The 7 Pillars of IT-Enabled Team Productivity: The Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Analysis).