It’s been more than one and a half years now since I published my first e-book Kanban for Skeptics. Time to look back.
I remember well how it all started. At the time I was preparing a public talk, called ‘5 arguments against Kanban’. During my brainstorming phase, I realized that I had so much material, I could easily fill a book.
That’s why I turned things upside down. First I’d write down my thoughts in a first version of the book. Then I would distill a presentation out of it. It sounds like a lot of work, but it worked like a charm. The presentation was one of the best I ever did so I repeated it at several conferences.
Doing the talk multiple times gave me extra insights on how to structure the book. Finally, after some excellent feedback of the community, I released the e-book on April 17, 2012.
I had 3 goals:
- Get feedback and learn.
- Enjoy writing by doing it more.
- Make Kanban more accessible to the general public.
Goals number 1 and 2 are accomplished, better than I could have wished for. Goal number 3 is harder to measure, but my general feeling is that Kanban remains fairly unknown, especially in Belgium. The book helps me to explain Kanban in organisations, but it certainly had no real effect on the market.
My expectations were quite modest. I would be happy if a couple of hundred copies were downloaded. That’s why I also decided to keep it free, to lower the barrier for potential readers.
On this moment, I sold more than 1700 copies on Leanpub! Really amazing for my first book which I wrote without any professional editing.
How do I look at the future of Kanban? I believe it has great potential for some companies, but will never become the next process fad, thank god. Kanban is just too complicated for most people. It requires quite some experience and study to understand its roots and principles. Whenever taken seriously, the path to taking advantage of its promises will be tough, but rewarding.