The Writing Flywheel - For Software Engineering & Product Leaders

3 Weeks

·

Cohort-based Course

Learn actionable methods to get better at writing. Learn how to clarify your own thinking and how to simplify it for others to take action.

Course overview

Want to develop clarity on your ideas and communicate them effectively?

Cohort 1 (Mar 23 - Mar 31) is now FULL.


Want to be notified to get early access to a future cohort? If so, please sign-up with your e-mail address to join the priority waitlist.


Course Overview

As an engineering or product leader, you probably write a lot: whether it be a vision / north star document, a narrative for your team's charter, a product strategy document, or a technical strategy document...


Regardless of what type of writing it is, a few things stand out in common:


- you first want to identify the key problems you must care about,

- you then want to engage actively to consume and process relevant information,

- you then want to gain insights towards solving your above key problems,

- you then want to further clarify your thinking on the above ideas,

- you then want to think about your readers and how you want to transform their thinking,

- after that, you want to simplify the message and frame the right narrative,

- you then want to structure and communicate it effectively to influence action and drive change,

- you then want to keep iterating and use the feedback to identify new problems.


Essentially, you want to create a beautiful self-reinforcing feedback loop: YOUR OWN WRITING FLYWHEEL - that keeps spinning once you gain momentum with the above - that propels your growth in your career and life.


In this course, your will learn how to create various aspects that make up your writing flywheel:


Session #1: Identifying Key Problems, Engaging Actively, and Developing Insights

- What is the Writing Flywheel, and why it is important to create one?

- Frameworks to identify key problems

- Finding writing prompts around us

- How to use writing to learn better

- How to identify and link foundational concepts

- Slipbox

- The three pathways to gain insights

- The four behaviors that lead to insights

- Take home Project #1

- Book recommendations

- Q & A / Discussion


Session #2: Developing clarity of your ideas, Thinking about your Readers, and how to simplify it for your readers

- The differences between thinking and writing.

- How to develop clarity using writing

- The one key goal you should have for your writing

- How to think about your readers

- Imperfect first drafts

- Always write for somebody

- How to use the Pyramid Principle

- Book recommendations

- Q & A / Discussion

- Take home Project #2


Session #3: Frame your Narrative

- What is a story?

- What is a a narrative?

- The difference between story and narrative.

- Circles of Experiences

- A traditional narrative structure.

- A more modern narrative structure

- The Rude Q & A Framework

- Aristotle's Framework

- Book recommendations

- Q & A / Discussion

- Take home Project #3


Session #4: More frameworks you can use to inspire action, Effectively structuring & communicating your ideas

- Ladder of Abstraction

- Identifying your key ideas

- Ranking ideas

- Document flow: Thrust and Drag

- Improving skimmability

- Decision making frameworks

- Writing related mental models

- How to handle feedback

- Book recommendations

- Q & A / Discussion


You will receive actionable feedback for all the three projects.


The first cohort size will be around 8-10 students so that we can have more deeper interactions.


You will get free access to a private community

- Make new connections across the industry.

- Keep your learning going in the future with a private community with alumni from all cohorts.


There's more - you get FREE enrollment to a future cohort of your choice within 1 year!

If you enroll in the first cohort, you will get FREE enrollment to a future cohort. So, opportunity to do a new set of writing projects, join more discussions (with the new cohort), get newer feedback on your assignments, learn newer material, and connect with more folks in a like-minded community!

Who is this course for

01

You are a Principal Engineer / Architect at a startup or large company wanting to get better at writing technical strategy documents.

02

You are a Director or Eng. Manager at a startup or a large company wanting to write (or help your team write) vision, milestone documents.

03

You are a Product Leader at a startup or large company wanting to effectively communicate your product strategy.

What you’ll get out of this course

Learn frameworks you can use to identify your key problems and how to generate insights

You will learn and apply various frameworks how to identify your key problems and how to gain new insights towards solving those problems. You will learn how to clarify your thoughts, and how to simplify and land the message,

Learn why writing is critical to improve the clarity of your thoughts

Before you can transform your readers' minds, you first need to have clarity of what you want to convey. Learn how writing can help validate your assumptions, transform your own mind, and develop clarity. Learn about actionable methods to clear the clutter and to write freely.

Learn actionable methods to simplify the message for your readers

You don't want your writing to be a set of loosely connected bullet points. Learn how to weave a narrative together. 

Learn techniques for how to effectively communicate your ideas through your writing

Learn how to identify the key messages and how to amplify them in your document. Learn how to structure your documents to make it easier for readers.

Learn from your writings and the writing of others in the cohort

Writing is a form of deliberate practice. With the documents you will be writing as part of this course, you will receive actionable feedback: from "yourself" as you write, from me, and from your peers.

This course includes

4 interactive live sessions

Lifetime access to course materials

31 in-depth lessons

Direct access to instructor

5 projects to apply learnings

Guided feedback & reflection

Private community of peers

Course certificate upon completion

Maven Satisfaction Guarantee

This course is backed by Maven’s guarantee. You can receive a full refund within 14 days after the course ends, provided you meet the completion criteria in our refund policy.

Course syllabus

Expand all modules
  • Bonus

    Modules

    • Bonus Resources and Tools

What people are saying

        I had the joy to work with Kalyana and to learn from him. He taught me how adopting a structured approach to writing documents can help to clarify and distill thoughts, to communicate ideas, and to align a group of people around those ideas.
Johannes Tax

Johannes Tax

Principal Software Engineer, Grafana Labs
        Kalyana's writing style is both concise and engaging, making complex topics easy to understand for readers without a lot of b/g knowledge. His careful structure and attention to detail ensure that every piece of information is presented in a logical and approachable way. I highly recommend his writing to anyone looking to improve their writing.
Tim R

Tim R

Partner Group Engineering Manager, Microsoft
        For 30+ years, I've witnessed Kalyan's relentless pursuit of self-improvement. Now, after many recent years of learning, he has condensed his insights into this remarkable course, sparing you years of exploration. Consider this an insider's guide to writing excellence, crafted by someone who's walked the path himself. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Koushik Rajaram

Koushik Rajaram

Director of Program Management, Google

Meet your instructor

J. Kalyana Sundaram

J. Kalyana Sundaram

Software Architect and Engineering Leader | Writer | Writing Coach | Creator of the Writing Flywheel framework

I have been in the tech industry for 25+ years. I have written several hundreds of technical documents. I also have my public blog here.


I have invested 250+ hours of my personal time over the last few years to learn more about various aspects of writing. With that, I have seen up close the benefits of writing and want to share my learnings with all of you.


I believe writing is a foundational tool to improve the clarity of our thinking, develop more ideas, to share our ideas effectively to inspire action and results.


My goal is to help others around me become better writers. This course is a step in that direction.


You can find me on LinkedIn. Looking forward to connecting with you in the course!

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Course schedule

6 hrs (live) + ~4 hrs (projects) + Q & A
  • Saturday March 23 2024

    9:00 AM - 10:30 AM US Pacific Time

    Clarity:

    

    - Why writing is super critical to improve your thinking and clarity

    - Writing vs. thinking

    - How writing can lead to 50%+ newer ideas

    - Frameworks to identify key problems

    - Frameworks to gain insights

    - Book recommendations

    - Q & A / Discussion

    - Take home Project #1

  • Saturday March 30 2024

    9:00 AM - 10:30 AM US Pacific Time

    Simplifying it for readers:

    

    - How to think about your readers & the cost they pay

    - Circles of experiences

    - Transformations you want to see in your readers

    - Narrative structure and its benefits

    - Imperfect first drafts

    - Book recommendations

    - Q & A

    - Take home Project #2

  • Sunday March 31 2024

    9:00 AM - 10:30 AM US Pacific Time

    Effectively structuring & communicating ideas

    

    - Identifying your key ideas

    - Ranking ideas

    - Document flow: Thrust and Drag

    - Improving skimmability

    - Book recommendations

    - Q & A / Discussion

    - Take home Project #3

  • Saturday April 6 2024

    9:00 AM - 10:30 AM US Pacific Time

    Frameworks you can use to inspire action

    

    - Different narrative flows for different situations.

    - Aristotle's framework

    - Overview vs. Details

    - Decision making frameworks

    - Review and feedback process

    - Book recommendations

    - Q & A / Discussion

  • Important: Video recordings will be available.

    All recordings available on Maven Portal

    If you cannot attend it full time or need to drop off at any point, you can catch up and watch the video recording.

  • Writing assignments + Feedback

    2-3 hours

    DURING the course, you will do three writing assignments.


    The first two are ~250 words each. Shorter essays can be a good constraint to force clarity & conciseness :)

    Later on, you will write a third essay which will be a full narrative 6-pager on a key problem.

Learning is better with cohorts

Learning is better with cohorts

Active hands-on learning

This course builds on live workshops and hands-on projects

Interactive and project-based

You’ll be interacting with other learners through breakout rooms and project teams

Learn with a cohort of peers

Join a community of like-minded people who want to learn and grow alongside you

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I can’t make a live session?
I work full-time, what is the expected time commitment?
What’s the refund policy?
Why is this class worth my money?
I have more questions. How do I contact you?
What does the FREE enrollment to a future cohort mean? Why would I want to do that?

Create your own writing flywheel

In this course, you will get going to create your own writing flywheel to achieve growth.
In this course, you will get going to create your own writing flywheel to achieve growth.

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