Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Driving Technical Change Book Review

How do you drive technical change within your organization?  This is the key question that Driving Technical Change by Terrence Ryan answers.  We've all been there, we want to improve things in our environment, albeit technical tooling or processes to make our lives easier but often times receives resistance from skeptics.  Ryan categorizes these skeptics into the following categories (the Uninformed, the Herd, The Cynic, The Burned, The Time Crunched, The Boss, and my personal favorite, the Irrational).  He then goes on to explain different techniques in order to work with each kind of skeptic and finally wraps it up with a strategy on how to drive this change.

This book was an easy, practical, and fun read.  We, as developers, discover new tools or techniques to improve the developer's quality of life but lack a pragmatic way to communicate as a way to adopt that change.  As you read through the book, you'll put faces with the skeptics.  Imagine how you can work with them (ideally, not at them) to show them how this new tool or technique can improve their quality of life.  This book is great for building your arsenal with tools on how to better collaborate with others and how to drive technical change within your organization.

I have a friend who is passionate about Agile and Scrum but is perceived as not having good communication skills and not being able to collaborate with his peers in an effective way.  After I read this, I immediately recommended this book to him because it will help him see things in different perspectives on techniques on how to deal with different skeptics. 

Remember that a leader leads and a manager manages.  You don't have to have a manager title to lead others (although sometimes it helps).