Driving Technical Change

I review the book Driving Technical Change by Terrence Ryan.

This is a short book of about 130 pages, divided unevenly into four parts.

The first part is a brief introduction, with an important message. Make sure you solve a problem, rather than just pushing a solution looking for a problem. The latter is neutral at best, and usually detrimental.

Part two is a pattern catalogue of sceptics: The Uninformed, The Herd, The Cynic, The Burned, The Time Crunched, The Boss, and The Irrational. I have encountered all in the past. I even am, or have been, a handful. This was a slightly uncomfortable realisation—but a valuable one I feel.

The third part is the largest, and contains nine chapters each describing a technique for dealing with sceptics: Gain Expertise, Deliver Your Message, Demonstrate Your Technique, Propose Compromise, Create Trust, Get Publicity, Focus on Synergy, Build a Bridge, and Create Something Special. Each has a brief section on why it works, and which types of sceptics it counters. There's nothing particularly new in this section, and I have used some of the techniques in the past. Though I think naming and outlining them is useful, and makes it easier to remember them as discrete tools.

The (brief) fourth part details a strategy for when you have multiple types of sceptics to convince. Sections include Ignore the Irrational, Target the Willing, Harness the Converted and Sway Management.

The book would be stronger if it referenced research rather than anecdotes. I accept this might have been a Compromise to make it more accessible. Moreover, I'm Burned by multiple ORMs and found the recurring example of Hibernate adoption grating, but I don't hold this against the book itself1.

Overall I enjoyed the book, and will keep it for future reference. You can find other (mixed) reviews at this Goodreads link2.


1

Because I'm not Irrational.

2

Here I'm attempting to Create Trust.

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