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Monday, October 7, 2013

Creating ERRC Grid for Your Book

Step 1 :

Find the top 3 books in your topic on Amazon. Read the reviews and create a document with the following sections: Positive Factors, Negative Factors. I was able to create additional sections due to large number of reviews such as Where to Go Next, In Scope, Out of Scope and Topics.

Step 2 :

Classify
: Group similar items that you find in the reviews. Phrases might be similar that expresses the same concept. Combine and merge them into just one phrase. For instance, in my research readers liked :

Practical and hands-on, Step by step approach
Very concise and educational.
Easy to Understand, Clear, Easy-to-follow, Plain spoken explanation

I logically grouped these phrases. Now I can go a level up in abstraction like this:

Delivery Style

Practical and hands-on, Step by step approach
Very concise and educational.

Readability 

Easy to Understand, Clear, Easy-to-follow, Plain spoken explanation

So in this case, the factors that buyers use to make a buying decision are Delivery Style and Readability. One of the reviewer actually based his rating by breaking his rating into different criteria:

Readability
Coverage of topics
Depth of coverage
Credibility
Accuracy
Relevance to software quality

Then gave the Overall rating based on the average of the above scores.

Step 3 :


Create this grid in a big sheet of paper. I use the 'Premium Self Stick Easel Pad'. Fill out each sections of the grid. Factors are the characteristics of the book that the readers use to make a buying decision. These factors can be derived from the Amazon reviews. This research is fuzzy, so expect some difficulty in analyzing the reviews.

Eliminate will contain the Negative Factors. Create will contain things that most of the top 3 books did not provide, if you cannot think of factors then one of the book did not provide. Raise is where you amplify what readers liked but the existing books did not provide enough of it. Reduce is where you list things that must be lowered because readers don't want it to be covered in depth.


Eliminate and Reduce steps helps you simplify your book. Create and raise list will make your book unique, helping you to come up with a unique selling proposition.


Here is the ERRC grid for my book :

Eliminate

Humor                                    [I am not a comedian. Reader can read some other book for that purpose]
Digressions
Developing Frameworks
Third-party version problems
In-depth coverage of the subject [Not in Straw-Man version, maybe later based on feedback]
Chapter on how to do TDD in different languages [Not in Straw-Man version, maybe later based on feedback]
UI Testing material is unique
Web application
Tips, tricks and strategies to using TDD tools [Refer them to other books for tool specific material]

Database related testing
Race conditions [Explain in the section on scope when TDD is insufficient. TDD is not a silver bullet]
Rambling
Repetition in case study
Bloat


Reduce

Non-Linear Coverage of Topics   [Connect new concepts to what they just learned to increase comprehension]
Collection of Notes and Tips        [They don't need my book if I don't add value to existing resources]
Good presentations on XP and Agile Modeling [Provide only enough details to set the context in the introduction]
Discussion on test coverage tool
Explains how to use TDD tools [Cover only just enough to discuss the TDD concepts]

Raise

Real World Examples
Design Principles
Show Misconceptions and Mistakes

Coherence
Practical advice
Practical and Hands-On

Clear and Concise
It is easy to understand for a beginner
A good foundation for understanding TDD
Well Defined Scope                            [The author had failed to establish the expectation for the reader]
Explanation of the TDD process and its benefits
Explain Thought Process of didactic examples
Explain the thought process of developing a complete application
From inception to the finished product
Supports the daily development work as well as the planning for a TDD project
The next best thing to sitting down for a pair-programming session with a TDD guru.
Downloadable code examples
Well organized

In depth coverage of mocks
Discuss what tests to write
Design Insights
Clear code format


Create

Code for Every Section
Examples in Different Languages
Hands-on Exercises
Solution Checkpoints
Domain Driven Design Concepts
Code Mutation Tool  (Heckle)

Head First Style [Version 2]
Put framework related material on the website where it can be updated
Provide code that is error free
Provide final and intermediate versions of the code. Code showing Before / After for each lesson.
Provide link to code repository to document the evolution of the code, checking the code in at the end of each test.


Now you have a blueprint for your book. Use this to create your Straw-Man version of your book. I will discuss about how to evolve your book from Straw-Man, Wood-Man, Tin-Man to Iron-Man in my next blog post.



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