13 years, 3 months ago

About the PEAF book

Link: http://weblog.tomgraves.org/index.php/2011/04/02/peaf-book/

I’ve just finished editing yet another book on enterprise-architecture, and set up its production via my Tetradian Books publishing setup. But you won’t see it on the site, and in fact it may never be published as such in its present form – though you will see it coming out quite soon under someone else’s imprint.

As you can imagine, there’s a story behind this. :-) (A happy story, I hasten to add!) But first, here’s the book-cover that you probably won’t see much elsewhere:

The Pragmatic Enterprise Architecture Framework, or PEAF for short, is the brainchild of my neighbour Kevin Smith. (‘Neighbour’ here is a relative term – he actually lives about fifteen miles away from where I’ve been staying in England for the past few years. But given that the EA community is pretty small, and so scattered around the globe, fifteen miles is pretty close. :-) ) We have irregular ‘HEC meetups’ – where ‘HEC’, of course, is the ubiquitous English pub-lunch of ‘Ham Egg & Chips’.

For me these meetings have been great, because we tackle such different aspects of the enterprise-architecture domain. I work mostly on ‘big-picture’ theory, these days with a strong emphasis on the ‘people-stuff’ of the enterprise, whilst Kevin concentrates on the day-to-day practicalities of doing enterprise-architecture. And that’s the whole point of his “Pragmatic EA’ – it’s all about the pragmatics. It’s all about “cutting EA to the bone”, as Kevin puts it, so that people can get started and get moving on EA, within the very real constraints and tortuous politics of large organisations. We’ve talked a lot about this EA ‘world’, using our mutual misunderstandings of each other’s approach to get a better sense of the EA whole.

That’s the backstory. Onto the story itself…

Two weeks ago as I write this, we were having another HEC-meetup. We talked about the upcoming AE Rio 2011 conference in Rio de Janeiro, where Kevin had been booked as one of the lead presenters, and for which I’d harboured some ambitions to go. (That is now happening for me, courtesy of much help from AOGEA-Brazil’s Roberto Severo and Alan Rodrigues, but that’s another story for another time.) Somewhen during that discussion, I’d talked about how I use my books as a key part of my business-marketing: as many people will know, I often turn up at EA conferences with a great stack of books to give away. Which, of course, led to the idea that Kevin needed a book too. Preferably in time for AE Rio. Which, at that point, was effectively just over three weeks away.

Well, you can pretty much guess what happened next.

We’d previously talked about setting up a publishing-operation for Kevin’s own business, but it hadn’t really got very far. I’d looked at publishing the existing PEAF materials, but I’m not comfortable about publishing others’ work, with all the nightmare complications of record-keeping and royalties that any ‘real’ publisher would have to deal with. And the PEAF material includes a lot of large-format graphics, almost all of it in colour – which would be insanely expensive to produce in print as-is. All of that material is readable online for free, anyway. So the only practicable option for a book that would also add some real value would be a simplified Introduction, summarising all the PEAF material in an immediately-usable way.

Yet although it ought to be published under Kevin’s own imprint, setting that up would take more time than we had – hence, for now, the only viable option would be to use my Tetradian Books imprint, my production-templates, and so on. It would need to be at least eighty pages, and preferably more than a hundred, in order for the book to have a conventional paperback-style spine. And given the known production lead-times, we would have less than two weeks at best to get it to press.

From start to finish, I did it in just twelve days. Yikes…

If POD-printers Lightning Source live up to their usual excellent performance, we should have the first hundred copies late next week, in time to take to Rio. Once we get back, we’ll go through all the usual rigmarole – ISBNs, trade-accounts, British Library registration and the rest – to set up Kevin’s new imprint to publish PEAF and the other upcoming ‘Pragmatic’ materials. And at that point I’ll be able to hand over all the master-files and set everything up for Kevin to (re-)publish it himself. And once that’s done, this first version will quietly disappear from view – as it should, because although, yes, I did edit it, and write all of the summaries from scratch, too, it really isn’t mine to publish. The real work on PEAF is Kevin’s – and that’s where it belongs.

It’s been an interesting challenge, not just the sheer physical effort of getting everything done in time, but also getting my head around what is still a somewhat alien style of thinking about a very different part of the business ‘world’ that I work in. It’s been a very worthwhile challenge, too. Yet not, I think, something I’d want to repeat for anyone else any time soon? :-)