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Thoughts on Software Engineering

How to Write a Book with Team of 30 Authors – Invited Talk

Last Sunday I was given an invited talk in the Club “Stop and Think!” about writing open source books with a large team of 30 authors. This process is really a challenge because the authors are enthusiasts and they write for the good of the community. You are not their boss because you don’t pay them. My top recommendations about running such project are:

  • Define the book contents, divide it on small enough chapters.
  • Provide templates for each chapter with outline (headings and sub-headings up to level 3). templates should have well prepared styles (for consistent formatting), example text and TODOs.
  • Prepare guidelines for the authors (written document, like a small book).
  • Writing a book is a project -> manage it like any other project. Assign tasks and deadlines, make a schedule and track the authors.
  • Risk management = small tasks for small ammount of time.
  • Remove from the team authors that do not perform well (masured in deadlines and qiality).

The detailed presentation is available in SlideShare (in Bulgarian): http://www.slideshare.net/nakov/30-2255217.

If you prefer, download the PowerPoint presentation (Nakov-How-to-Write-a-Book-with-Team-of-30-Authors.ppt) and the additional materails (How-to-Write-a-Book-with-Team-of-30-Authors-Materials.zip).

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