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Driving Technical Change

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  207 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Finding cool languages, tools, or development techniques is easy—new ones are popping up every day. Convincing co-workers to adopt them is the hard part. The problem is political, and in political fights, logic doesn’t win for logic’s sake. Hard evidence of a superior solution is not enough. But that reality can be tough for programmers to overcome.

In Driving Technical
ebook, 131 pages
Published November 8th 2010 (first published August 25th 2010)
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Ash Moran
Dec 27, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really wish I'd read the reviews before buying this. This book reads almost cover to cover as "how to get your favourite new toy into your organisation".

There's a nod here to how to really solve problems (Chapter 3 is called Solve the Right Problem). But in the middle it contains a spectacular contradiction. Chapter 17 (Create Trust) says specifically to never lie by omission. A few pages later in chapter 21 (Create Something Compelling) he describes the following: build a solution to a pain
Coby Randquist
Feb 26, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can see how the book is good, if you're trying to prop up a company with bad management and sucky co-workers. But I'm more of the opinion that if an environment sucks, instead of learning coping mechanisms to make the job more tolerable you should find a place of employment that shares the same values you do.
Apr 07, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Meh. This book was couched in a "me vs. the world" viewpoint. Technical change should be a collaborative process, not a war to be won as Mr. Ryan framed it. I expected better from the Pragamitic Programers.

If you wand to drive change, read the Heath brothers book, "Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard"
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A quick book.

Two bad things, and one good:

* Bad: the book was about how to drive small or medium technical change. Like how to convince others to use the new toys, not how to truly change perceptions.
* Good: defining the different skeptic patterns (the uninformed, the herd, the cynic, the burned, the time crunched, the boss, the irrational). This is what I kept from the book, and it helped me understand how people think I bit more.
* Bad: the solutions were too general and shallow. It sounded
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not a technical person, but I do work in a technical environment, Dan recommended this book as I was encountering a few difficult characters who very clearly had issues with a tool I maintain. This book was great in helping me identify what type of skeptic group those individuals fell into and how to deal with them in an effective and positive way.

The book also made me think about what my tool could offer and whether it was the right solution to the problem and taking it a step further
This book was clearly aimed at techies, and was mostly about how to get your favorite tool or framework accepted by your colleagues. By assigning personas and describing patterns that can counter the various personas, it provides solid advice on influencing for people who have no skill or experience at it.

The book was probably good enough for what it was, but I imagine that the target audience to be 24-year-old developers inside slow-moving companies. For anyone who has spent time consulting,
Todd Charron
Jan 09, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly fluff, hardly any real content. I'd recommend Switch over this any day.
Sergey Shishkin
Aug 27, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The book is quite boring and doesn't solve the root cause of difficulty of motivating people to change. The model of skeptics presented is way too simplistic.
OK, so it was nothing more than anecdotes and common sense. But still, I thought of some arguments and lines of reasoning that might work while reading it.
Stig Brautaset
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
I read this book comfortably in half a day. It contains a patterns catalogue of sceptics, an array of techniques for techniques for dealing with them, and briefly a strategy for how to effectively approach your adoption goal.

Not only have I encountered several of the sceptics in the past; I am, or have been, almost all of them. This was possibly an unintended and slightly uncomfortable realisation, but a valuable one nonetheless. It may help me avoid coming across Irrational in the future.

Javier García
I have found the book to be slightly superficial and shallow. While I do find interesting how the author explains the different type of folks you can encounter, he focused the book too much in overexplaining how to ""defeat"" them. Moreover, topics which have a lot of potential to talk about, like "building trust", he just touches the surface by reducing it to "not lying". IMO, not worth the while.
Nathan Albright
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge
As someone who has a personal and professional interest in managing technological change, and being involved in it a fair amount of time myself [1], I found this book to be an immensely practical and pragmatic one. The intended audience for a book like this is a fairly large one, albeit not the kind that is to be expected to read many books relating to marketing or practical psychology, namely that of a technically proficient person who is wishing to solve some sort of organizational ...more
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some good techniques for overcoming skeptics in an organization, but based a little too much on what appears to be limited experience - really, just retellings of a few anecdotes from different perspectives. Valuable for engineers who are looking for introductory steps on the path to better collaboration, but not an expert-level handbook.
Juraci Vieira
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book, I was surprised by the fact that the book helps to understand better if the technical changes you want to propose are feasible and really necessary more than trying to convince other people to follow your ideas. Has practical steps that helps you to achieve a good level of confidence on your ideas if they are really an improvement on the current technical ecosystem.
some useful patterns, yet complete lack of depth and tangible action. Quick read. Would not recommend.
Rod Hilton
A lot of reviews criticize this book for being primarily a long essay about how to convince your coworkers to use a technology you'd like to introduce. I'm not entirely sure what these people are complaining about, that's exactly how the book bills itself. Indeed, this book is about a problem techies encounter regularly: I want us to use a specific tool or technique at work, and I need to figure out how to get my team to buy-in. As a book on that topic, it succeeds relatively well.

First, a
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book outlines a rather adversarial approach to promoting technologies and solutions in a technical workplace. It follows a 'design patterns' format split into three sections: the first outlines various stereotypes that might be encountered (e.g. cynics, the uninformed), the second looks at tactics for advancing your agenda (e.g. doing demos, gaining expertise), and the final outlines a strategy which ties these altogether.

While there are some useful insights, and some value to the patterns
Aug 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technical
Ever come across a shiny new technique or tool but couldn't get it adopted by your organization? I know I have. This book contains some ideas on how you might get people to give your idea a try. The information contained in the book isn't likely to be used daily like some other books but when you really want to try something new and have run into a road block, the book has some interesting ideas. The essence of the book is to try and identify the different archetypes of skeptics and use specific ...more
Stefan Kanev
Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has generally bad reviews and I can't understand why.

It's about convincing people to adapt a new technology or practice. I have some experience playing the evangelist, so most of the stuff is known (or common sense) to me, but it was still very useful to read the book. It describes a "few" type of skeptics and the reasons behind them (like the Burned, who have a negative experience with the technology/practice and the Time Crunched, who reject stuff because there is not time to
Tom Panning
If you're new to introducing technical change, reading this book and paying particular attention to the techniques will help you present your idea to you're group. Those new to this aspect of technical teamwork should pay less attention to the description of the types of skeptics; there's too much risk that you'll start treating people as adversaries instead of not-yet-convinced.
If you've more experienced at technical change, this book may have some techniques you hadn't thought of.
Eduards Sizovs
Jan 23, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'd like to thank the author for the book and the efforts he put into writing. Unfortunately, content-wise the book oversimplifies the problem. Driving any kind of organisational change is a complex problem, so "cookbooks" and "patterns" do not really work well. Sometimes they even make the problem worse. The best parts of this book, t.i. personalities are described in Sandro Mancuso's The Software Craftsman, which I highly recommend. If you want to learn how to drive change, try Lean Change ...more
Eugene Zharkov
Small book for quick reading. It gives you a little help when you want to embed improvements in you company, some sort of tools or frameworks and you run into difficulties, like rejecting your vision of improvement. Book is trying to identify base types of developers from psychological side and explain how you can deal with each.
For me the most useful advise was that shouldn't blindly adopt the best tools, but those that will less painful to implement even if they are lack for functionality must
Eric Hogue
Nice little book full of tricks on how to influence teams to adopt new technologies. It starts by describing the different types of septics that you might encounter in the enterprise.

The second part describes the actual techniques to convince others. For each techniques it lists the septics that it converts. It also list the pitfalls for each techniques.

If you have problems convincing your coworkers and managers to adopt new technologies, this is the book for you.
Steve Whiting
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bought sight-unseen this wasn't quite what I was expecting, as it wasn't from the manager's perspective. What it actually provides is a book explaining to Techies how to "sell" techie changes to other Techies (and managers), and how to overcome resistance to the great stuff that you want to adopt - and it does a pretty good job of that, showing the notoriously marketing-averse audience how to market their ideas without sullying their hands too much with marketing.
Oct 27, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
All I can say is this book dramatically underestimates what organizations can be like, and doesn't take into account the "you won the last argument so I'm going to win this one" power dynamic that can take place between engineers. I like the book... it just doesn't remotely resemble anything I've seen in an actual organization.
Eugene Oskin
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a handy book for IT beginners. I believe everyone has encountered oppositions/skeptics, but none of the skeptics tells to me how to get them on my side. This book has changed my mind with the single phrase "solve the right problem". After reading this book, I learn I should not push a solution, but I must solve the problem.
Nov 26, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you are new to IT or just newly promoted to a semi-IT management position... this book is for you if you are looking for a few tips. But if you have been doing this for a while - to recommend new tools and methods to peers and the management, I don't think this book will offer you much that you don't already know.
Jon Port
This often dry subject was delivered in a funny way by the author. It is written with an IT technical focus, but crosses over to technical change in general. I didn't know much about the specific IT technology used in examples, but author made it interesting. I'm very tempted to give it the thumbs up recommendation.
Apr 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: it
A useful book for those tech experts wanting to 'drive a technical change' through their organization, but limited to small groups, hence the 3 stars.
I liked the easy, 'non-technical' approach, the types and methods. Also a handful of remarkable quotes and some simple psychological facts on typologies. It debatable whether the types described cover all cases in real life, but anyhow a good read.
Jun 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit that I liked this book. Yes, it is short both on size and content, and it won't offer you any deep insight into why people resist new technology, but it is entertaining and has some useful tips.

The biggest con for me is the price; it's a bit expensive for the quantity and depth of the material.

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