"Driving Technical Change" Book Writeup

January 25, 2012

What’s the point?
You’ve got a great idea for how to improve your development team. No one seems to listen. You keep trying and then get grumpy. This book tries to help you not fail at introducing technical change.

How was it?
Quick read, but packed with good advice and realistic examples - which is exactly the way I like my technical books. While it claims to be a “patterns” book, I found it to be slightly different from others in the genre (especially compared to another patterns book on the same topic I’m also reading) but in a good way.

The book begins by introducing seven types of “skeptics”, ranging from the Uninformed and the Cynic to the Burned and the Timecrunched. It is a really effective way to help you internalize the advice given in the rest of the book, since most people have actually run across these archetypes in their own jobs.

Then, you jump straight into Techniques that you can use to convert skeptics. Each section tells which type of skeptic a given technique will best “counter” and has examples that are actually plausible - the fictional characters are trying to introduce changes like automating deployment or switching to an ORM.

Lastly, the book lays out some general Strategies to improve the potency of the techniques. This section has some great content and very memorable calls- to-action like Ignore the Irrational and Target the Willing.

Who should read it?
I personally got a lot out of the book, as I have been interested in this topic for the past few months. The goal of the book is to help you convince co-works to adopt new ideas without resorting to the BS of office politics and top-down mandates - so if that sounds appealing to you, give this book a shot.

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