Advice to New (and Established) Bloggers

Aside

At this writing, I’ve posted over 420 weekly round-ups of content that I think would be of interest to IT project managers. Without counting, I’d guess about 9,000 links. Curating so many lists has naturally led me to some opinions on what makes content interesting. So, here are a few thoughts for my fellow bloggers and other content producers.

  • Visualize your audience and keep them in mind when choosing topics. Write about Why and When and How they can do something useful. Create value for them
  • I generally leave out generic stuff that reads like it was bought from internet copywriters or placed by some marketing team. Be original
  • I also bypass the topics that have already been done to death. Start a new dialog
  • Good search engine optimization technique certainly has value, but it’s no substitute for good content. Don’t let SEO get in the way of what you want to communicate
  • Use facts and diagrams. Provide links to reputable sources. Show your math
  • Don’t make unsupportable claims. Don’t present conventional wisdom as if it were controversial and don’t present the controversial as settled. Maintain your integrity
  • Read your own drafts like a skeptic. Aspire to be valued as a trusted resource
  • Let people know who you are—put your name on your work. If you have a good reason to post anonymously, you can use a pseudonym
  • Post an About page with your biography, a good headshot, and an EMail address that you don’t mind being exposed to the general public
  • Turn on comments on your blog posts. You can meet some interesting people that way
  • I took a lot of the pictures embedded in my posts, including the three on this page. Stock photos are fine, but be willing to expose your personality to your readers. Be willing to be liked
  • You are building your brand. Be mindful of what you say, but express your opinions in a way that will make your readers think. Be interesting
  • It’s good to have well-founded opinions, and most people like reading well-written, opinionated content. Try to say something profound and memorable
  • I regularly include links to opinions I disagree with, and frequently adjoin articles with differing or supplementary opinions in a “point / counter-point” sequence
  • “Omit needless words.” Read The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White
  • Use your spell checker and grammar checker. There are many bloggers whose work would benefit tremendously from proper editing
  • Write clearly—ambiguity is for Christopher Nolan films
  • Sell the good stuff; you don’t need to discredit the alternatives. Take the high road
  • Be insightful. Aspire to be quotable
  • Good expository writing is well-structured. It provides some history, explores the issues and alternatives, convinces, stimulates, and calls to action. Especially if the action is to compose a rebuttal. Aspire to start a debate or even a ruckus

Thanks to all of you who take the time to produce good content—it’s appreciated. And thanks to everyone who reads these round-ups and the other content I post here. I get a lot of enjoyment out of writing this stuff and interacting with the readers. Peace be with you!

New Article on AITS: Defining Status Metrics: RAG, Trends, and Transitions

AITSBloggingAllianceMy latest article for AITS was published today: Defining Status Metrics: RAG, Trends, and Transitions.

You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and you can’t effectively communicate your measurements if there are no well-understood units of measure. I explain the rationale for selecting project-relevant dimensions, in addition to the usual schedule, budget, and quality, in order to make the status report meaningful and actionable. I also include an example of a complete scope description of one dimension, and how each RAG status will be determined. I also include guidelines for transitioning from one color to another and considerations for reporting trends.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read my stuff.

New Post at AITS: The Project Dangers of Misusing RAID

AITSBloggingAllianceAnother of my posts at AITS has been published: The Project Dangers of Misusing RAID. In this case, RAID refers not to the bug spray, but to compilations of risks, assumptions, issues, and decisions in Excel templates. While managing each of them is critical to project success, it is important to understand the relationships among them – you can’t effectively manage them in isolation.

Thanks again for taking the time to read my stuff. If you have any comments on this particular article, please leave a comment at AITS. If you want to suggest future topics, please leave a comment below.