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Saturday, January 15, 2011


Driving Technical Change by Terrence Ryan - Book review

Driving Technical Change

Why People On Your Team Don't Act on Good Ideas, and How to Convince Them They Should

By: Terrence Ryan

Published: November 8, 2010
Format: Paperback, 200 pages
ISBN-10: 1934356603
ISBN-13: 978-1934356609
Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf

"The goal of this book is to enable you to convince co-workers to adopt new tools and techniques", writes Worldwide Developer Evangelist for Adobe, Terrence Ryan, in his practical and no nonsense book Driving Technical Change: Why People On Your Team Don't Act on Good Ideas, and How to Convince Them They Should. The author describes the challenges and personality conflicts faced by managers seeking to make technological change in an organization, and how to overcome these obstacles successfully.

Terrence Ryan understands the problems that can arise in organizations when new technologies and techniques are recommended to the team. The author realizes that there is a huge disconnect between finding the right tools and technological improvements, and getting them implemented in a meaningful way. Through his experience, and that of other technology change managers, Terrence Ryan points out the patterns of resistance that arise on a regular basis. He has learned that using logic, applying politics, or showing hard evidence to convince reluctant managers adopt the change doesn't work. Through his encountering of the same types of resistance and similar character traits over time, Terrence Ryan offers a patterns approach to understanding the problem.

Terrence Ryan (photo left) organizes his book based on the patterns approach to achieving acceptance of technological change. For managers seeking to implement technical improvement, there are two patterns outlined by the author. The first pattern is that of the skeptics who resist or oppose the proposed change. The other pattern focuses on which techniques are best suited to overcoming the obstacles created by those resisting the action. Terrence Ryan breaks the skeptics into the following resistor pattern groups:

* The Uniformed
* The Herd
* The Cynic
* The Burned
* The Time Crunched
* The Boss
* The Irrational

With these patterns of opposition determined, Terrence Ryan then shares his techniques and tactic=s for overcoming the resistance.

For me, the power of the book is how Terrence Ryan takes a logical and systematic approach to overcoming the opposition to change within an organization. The book takes a patterns approach to the subject of steering technical change. The author begins by showing the change agent how to identify patterns of behavior within the team, as a means of discovering where opposition will be found. Terrence Ryan points out the various characteristics of each opponent to the proposal. With the various skeptics identified, and their motivations and objections understood, the author then presents the strategies necessary for overcoming their opposition, and for leveraging existing support.

Terrence Ryan provides the methods for driving technical change in a very easy to follow and understand format. He breaks the various concepts down into their individual components to ensure that the reader not only understands them fully, but is able to implement them in the right way to achieve the desired results. To further illustrate the techniques and strategies in action, Terrence Ryan includes some real world case studies and anecdotes, where the concepts were utilized effectively. With the opposition to technical change often very intense, the book offers the techniques needed to counter even the most strenuous and determined skeptics.

I highly recommend the handy and very useful book Driving Technical Change: Why People On Your Team Don't Act on Good Ideas, and How to Convince Them They Should by Terrence Ryan, to any managers, technologists, systems administrators, or engineers faced with strong opposition to any proposed technological change or enhancement. This valuable book will give you the essential tools to overcome any skeptics and their stonewalling of the proposed improvements.

Read the well organized and helpful book Driving Technical Change: Why People On Your Team Don't Act on Good Ideas, and How to Convince Them They Should by Terrence Ryan, and put the power of pattern recognition to work for you as you spearhead any technical change. The tools and strategies presented in this book are game changing, and crucial for achieving the technical advancement necessary to remain competitive in the modern business environment.

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