Not just for software people.

 [a gift for you!]

(answers and fixes right now! ongoing help in the future!)

You should totally go to the signup form, or read on...

Hey there!

Maybe you have a big corporate "Project That Sucks"

...and you need some hands-on help with it right away. For that, you want the immediate relief of my Emergency Agile program. (Then your project will stop sucking, and you'll have Indian food. What could be better?)

Or you're in startup mode you want to get me All Up in your business. It's the shortest, most affordable path to completing the software project that brings your vision to life. (And it will fill up soon. Get on it.)

Or you heard about my report on why so many software projects suck and what to do about them—in which case, you're in the right place. Keep reading.

On the other hand

From a recent mailing:

[I]f your environment is designed around individual heroics, it's probably not Agile. It's fine to recognize a team member's own contributions. People need to be acknowledged. What's bad is undermining teamwork by identifying as valuable just the coding, or just the sales, or just executive management. might be here just because someone told you about me, or there was something in a blog comment that piqued your interest, or I tempted you on Twitter. Maybe you're here from St. Ed's! You're not ready to be a client right now, or perhaps ever. That's cool, but I still want a way to hang out with you and share ideas about software development.

From a recent mailing:

Scrum to the rescue! I'm implementing something like a "Scrum For One" system, because Scrum is a form of agile development that fosters excellent communication and constantly adjusts expectations to match the reality of development.

Scrum is ordinarily a way of organizing teams, but now this IS a team consisting of the existing developer and me. We can get this application done, deployed, and serving its role, but helping the client feel better—more in control—is also a priority.

I maintain a personal and professional network of people who are interested in some of the same things I am, and part of that network takes the form of a really mellow email list. About once a month this includes a newsletter or "eZine" called Critical Resources, and there may be other little mailings that are hardly ever more than once a week.

And yes, the emails include offers of my products and services, but I swear they're not obnoxious or excessive. Hey, just because I make a living doing this stuff is no reason not to tell you how I can help.

It's not just a geek thing.

If you don't consider yourself a computer nerd, so much the better. About a third of the content of these emails is crazytechjunk. But most of the rest is normal life stuff like how people work together, how to know your project is already a disaster, or why gender roles are especially bad for software teams.

There are plenty of very technical resources out there—I don't need to pile on. I'm talking about a wider range of things that affect software projects. My English-major friends like it.

And there's an incentive! Yay!

"Very funny and accurate."

—Dr. Steve Belovich, IQWare

A little while ago I wrote this nine-page paper about the eight different ways that software development projects can suck, including ways that you can try to make them not suck. It's fun to read, but a practical and serious kind of fun. You'll probably see yourself or your team in at least one or two of the sections. I would totally love it if you got this paper, Don't Do That! A Contrarian Guide To Making Projects Not Suck. I would love it even more if you read it and let me know how it helped you, or even if something didn't make sense to you.
From a recent mailing:

If your project is bogging down, and everyone is dreading doing the reports, consider prioritizing the TOP THREE reports and forget about the rest in the short term. Maybe you could assign a junior developer, or an intern, to do the analysis reports that aren't of daily importance. You could even dump a segment of your database into Access once a month and let a sophsticated end user invent her own reports as she goes along.

Part of creating "critical results" is figuring out what part of the results are NOT going to be critical. Focus on the parts of your project that deliver huge benefits over costs, or those that are vital to maintaining the operation. Don't let lower-priority "want-to-have" items block progress.

Besides that, there's this shorter paper on Three Times to Consider LAMP, which is pretty much what it sounds like. (If you know that "LAMP" means Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Perl/Python/PHP.) It's not as recent but still relevant as heck, because a lot of projects really do benefit from using great free open source software like Apache and MySQL.

So you get those things

Yup. You get:

I'm going to need two things

And for that, I'm asking just one thing in return. Okay, actually two.

I need your name and your email address. Heck, I guess I don't really need your real name, but I do need an email address that works. When you submit the form, you'll get links to the two papers and my electronic minions will put you onto the email list too. If you get tired of the emails, just let me know and I will (with great sadness) take you off the list—because I hate spam as much as you do.

From a recent mailing:

When you do the right thing, you run the risks of making someone look bad, or causing yourself to appear vulnerable, or being ahead of your time. It's hard, emotionally and careerwise, to make those tough calls. Even—or perhaps especially—when you're the boss.

So that's it. You get some cool and helpful stuff to read, and I get your email address so I can keep in touch. How awesome is that? Let's do it.

Please just take a moment to fill out the form below and press the "Get connected!" button. It doesn't work without a valid email address. Check your email, and follow the instructions to download your free stuff. The welcome email has a link to download the reports in PDF format, as well as the Acrobat Reader if you need it.

Why you should opt in

  1. You get new ideas and stories every week.
  2. We totally hang out! It's fun!
  3. Weekly emails take less than two minutes to read.
  4. Monthly eZines take less than ten minutes to read.
  5. You eat better, with outstanding vegetarian recipes!
  6. You get first shot at special offers, teleconferences, and free stuff.

You will then receive all of these:

  1. "Don't do that! A Contrarian Guide To Making Projects Not Suck"

    This special report, a nine-page PDF, tells you the eight ways that most software projects suck, and how to succeed anyway.

  2. "Three Times to Consider LAMP"

    This executive-level summary (two-page PDF) explains why LAMP (the combination of Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Perl/Python/PHP) may be the platform of choice for your applications, and also when LAMP is the only right answer!

    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

  3. Critical Resources eZine

    Semi-regular articles helping you to manage projects and solve problems easily, simply, and cheaply. Every installment includes practical tips and insights that you can use now.

As someone who reads a lot of blogs, I'll tell you why I always read Mark's. Because it's not a load of BS he has simply made up to appear intelligent. Anyone who has read business books should notice the spew of bullshit coming from many writers' fingertips.

His history lesson behind each post is roughly based on NOW. It's real. Like it or not, agree or disagree, true or false, it's always based on the reality of the current situation.

It's bold and sometimes brash, but should be applauded.

Josh Walsh, Designing Interactive

The eZine comes out more or less once a month, and I also send out announcements as well as reminders of offers and programs from time to time—but not more than once a week.

Privacy Notice: I will not rent, lend, or give your email address to any third party, nor will I publish your name, without your prior written consent. You'll never get unsolicited email from a stranger as a result of your relationship with me. You can unsubscribe whenever you want.

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