I started as the technical editor for AgileConnection back in July of 2011. I’ve had a wonderful six years and learned a ton along the way as I found new authors, reviewed submissions, and read articles to be published on the site, but now I’m leaving my post. Starting this month, there’s a new technical editor.
As I reflect on my time with AgileConnection, I’d like to share four major lessons I learned.
All Writing Is Story-Telling
I’ve had the opportunity to read hundreds of articles for this site. (Yes, some I read several times.) Every single time the writer told a story (or two or three), the article came alive. People read it and responded to it.
When people didn’t use stories in their articles, the article bogged down. I felt as if I had to slog to get through it. Those articles just didn’t have the same verve that the articles containing personal stories did.
When we tell stories in articles, we build empathy. We build empathy with the people who have the same problem or a solution to it. We might even build empathy with the people who make questionable decisions. Great stories show the context evenhandedly. That means we can see ourselves, even if we are the ones making questionable decisions.
Tell stories in your writing.
Everyone Is a Potential Writer
I’m a consultant, so I network all the time. I talk with people at conferences, at parties, and on airplanes. Sometimes, I met people who had stories to tell even though they never thought of themselves as writers.
While at the conference, at the party, or on the plane, this person would start to tell me about how their organization or team used agile and what happened.
Sometimes, they had a terrific experience. That was excellent.
More often, they stumbled. Part of their experience was great. The next part? Not just bad, but horrible.
Sometimes, they were able to rescue their situations. Sometimes they weren’t.
It didn’t matter. Each of these stories was compelling. When I asked if these people would write an article for the site, they first demurred. “No, not me!” they said.
I would sit forward and ask, “Why not you?”
More often, they said yes. They wrote their stories and we published them. Then, the best thing happened—they networked with other people and told them to write stories for AgileConnection. It was great.
Your network can do more than help you succeed with agile. It can provide multiple ways to grow professionally, including through writing.