[book report] The agile comms handbook

I know Giles (the author) reasonably well. We’ve had a few beers together over the years, worked together a little, popped up at the same events and know – and respect – a lot of the same folk.

Additionally his work – particularly his blogging and the work he did at Defra that he references in this book – have been a big influence on my own approach to working in the open and my advocacy for that approach.

So I am not unbiased.

All that said I think if you are a product person, digital generalist, comms person or someone who has found any of my ‘open’ working ranting over the years this book is a must-read.

It is the clearest articulation and blueprint for the kind of product comms I’ve been encouraging for years – his definition of ‘agile comms’ sums it up perfectly;

“Agile communication is a set of techniques to help teams communicate clearly and creatively about work in progress.”

The bold is my own and when combined with something else Mr Turnbull mentions a chapter or two later;

“Agile comms moves as fast as the work does.”

…you basically have my entire working philosophy summed up.

Timely, transparent, honest and plain spoken communications builds trust, improves governance and saves time and effort in the long run for some investment of time up front.

I appreciate the ongoing efforts to education about the difference between a blog and a blogpost and we’ll have to agree to disagree that “everyone loves a video” but other than that this is 180ish pages of gems (while I was bound to love all the chapters on blogging and decks I learned loads from chapters 12 and 13 about working collaboratively, bad drafts and editorial processes – all things I’ve traditionally sucked at or circumvented.)

An interesting side-effect of the book is it reminded me of a lot of the things I’ve enjoyed most about my work over the years and I’ve realised how little I’ve done of it in recent times – a useful lesson as I continue to ponder my next professional move.

The book is self-published and available from agilecommshandbook.com – check it out.

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