Project Shrink: Read It & Beat It

In my relentless efforts to dominate the software development blogosphere, I am trying to find out how to beat all competitors. As you can understand, that's not an easy thing to do!

So I've decided to ask the authors themselves to help me out. They are much better qualified to do a SWOT-analysis of their blogs than I am.

The first person to assist me is Bas de Baar, author of Project Shrink. On the latest Top 100 Blogs for Developers Bas' site is listed at #43. The blog Project Shrink is a high quality blog about project management in a global, mobile, virtual and multi-cultural world.

These are the questions I asked Bas, and the answers he gave me:

Why did you start blogging, and what's your goal now?

I started writing around 2001 as means of self-expression. It is almost therapeutic to put your opinions and doubts in words. It really improves your mind in a lot of ways.

When I first started writing on my site, the old fashioned "static" site forced me to write in a more article style of writing. When I finally "got it", when I finally understood how blogs really are different from static sites, I was ecstatic. A blog supports the style I prefer, more emerging, more incremental, refining ideas.

As years have passed by, I am getting more and more ambitious for the site 🙂 For the first time ever, I even wrote a mission statement for my site:

"The mission of is to make global, virtual and multi cultural software projects work. … in such a way that they provide a genuine contribution towards a sustainable global society."

What are the strengths of your blog?

The strength of Project Shrink is expressed in its tag line: "Projects Are About Humans. Deal With That!" "Luckily" (and I mean this in a sarcastic way) Project Management is mostly a topic about procedures and metrics. So, talking about "humans working together" in the context of projects is a fresh spin to an old and boring subject.

And what are its weaknesses?

I see two weaknesses; first and foremost, myself. English is not my native language (I am Dutch, like you), and it shows in my writing and speaking. With grammatical errors, you loose people.

On the content side, I am using a wide angle lens to the topic. I can go from meditation towards analyzing forest fires within a week. For some readers, it might be confusing. But, in my defense, it's just how my brain works.


What opportunities do you see for your blog?

I am convinced that we can run software projects more cost efficient, I am convinced we can put a global workforce effective to use, and in the mean time we can reduce urbanization and its heavy toll on the environment, we can improve education in general.

Yes we can! 🙂 The opportunity for my blog is to play an role in this educational process.

And what about its threats?

The blog can bore the heck out of people. No readers, no nothing.

My biggest nightmare, in respect to my blog, is that no one shows up.

Which of your posts are you most proud of?

The Four Dharmas Of Project Management

It is intended as my Grande Finale of 2008. Last year, I learned that you cannot jump from the PMBoK directly to topics like "mental flexibility" and "emotional intelligence". A path to "project enlightenment" has to be defined. With this article I am outlining a training route, using the Buddhist "Turnings of The Wheel Of Dharma" as a metaphor.

And which ones would you like to erase from history?

To be honest, none. On some topics I have changed my mind with the passing of time, but I wouldn't delete the post. I have deleted only once a post after I hit publish (you know, you have to be very fast). In it I was promoting the widget (an traffic exchange between blogs). Why would my readers be interested in that?

How can I make my blog more successful than yours?

According to your own metrics, you already are. But if you want to widen the gap, I suggest you look at some list building techniques found in traditional Internet marketing.

And those were the answers given by Bas, author of Project Shrink. If his answers have piqued your interest, please go and read his blog!

In the meantime, I will follow Bas' advice, and work on my list building techniques.

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