I’m an Author – Driving Technical Change

About a year and a half ago, in a moment of overconfidence I sent a proposal to the Pragmatic Bookshelf, the publishing company headed up by Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas of The Pragmatic Programmer fame. I wanted to write a book about my experiences trying to get coworkers to adopt new tools and techniques. Much to my pleasure and surprise, they accepted my proposal, and I’ve been working on it ever since.

My goal was to write a book to help people who were struggling to get new tools and technologies adopted at their workplace. I wanted to share tools and techniques for promoting change. Or to put it more eloquently by the publisher:

Your co-workers’ resistance to new technologies can be baffling. Logical arguments can fail. If you don’t do politics, you will fail. With Driving Technical Change, by Terrence Ryan, you’ll learn to read users’ “patterns of resistance -and then dismantle their objections. Every developer must master the art of evangelizing. With these techniques and strategies, you’ll help your organization adopt your solutions-without selling your soul to organizational politics.

As of April 7th the book is now available in Beta format. Part of the deal when your publishers are programmers is that books can go through beta. So you can buy it now, in a package deal with the eventual paperback. Feel free to go buy it… Wait what a horrible salesman I am. BUY MY BOOK!

If the topic sounds familiar, it is. I gave a talk a few years back at cf.Objective 2008 called Selling Professional Development at the Hostile Shop. This book is certainly a descendant of that talk. But I have to say I’ve learned a lot more since then:

  • The people who aren’t adopting what you want are not your enemies
  • In most cases, you yourself are responsible for your difficulties in getting people onboard
  • But this means in most cases you have success within your reach
  • Trust is the most important commodity you have in your efforts

I tried to bring that wisdom into the book version. Titling the book was pretty hard, so we called in Meat Loaf as a consultant, and he arrived at the monster title – Driving Technical Change: Why People On Your Team Don’t Act On Good Ideas, and How to Convince Them They Should. (His original pass was My Co-workers Will Do Anything at Work but They Won’t Do That.) It’s hard to succinctly explain what the book is about, so we figured we may as well go whole hog.

So check it out, and if you think it would help you go ahead and BUY MY BOOK!


3 thoughts on “I’m an Author – Driving Technical Change

  1. OK, I bought it, it’s good, I like it.
    Except this bit:

    >The people with other priorities can often be disparaged by more passionate
    >developers. They are the nine-to-fivers. They work to earn a
    >living, leave work at work, and go home and devote themselves to other
    >pursuits: family, hobbies, community, etc. They don’t see value in keeping
    >up with the latest technologies themselves.

    I’m sure you’re not suggesting that a professional programmer must devote themselves only to work and not to their family, hobbies, community, etc. We don’t have to choose between being a professional developer and these other things. Learning, improving our own skills and being more productive allow us to leave work and go home to our families. With effective tools and techniques, we don’t have to stay all night fixing unexpected bugs and resolving deployment issues. Judging people based on how long they work is old school. It’s how well we work that counts, as the rest of the book makes clear.

    That’s just a minor point. I’m already using the book to help me sell unit testing, refactoring and other good things to other developers in my team. Thanks !

    Pete Gosling


  2. Pete,

    That’s certainly not what I am saying. I was trying to make sure that I don’t disparage 9to5ers, not us programmers. But for many of us who develop and want to constantly improve that aspect of our lives, development becomes sort of a hobby.

    I imagine that you read programming books outside of work, maybe read blogs there too? The point is that we often expect others to do that, and others often don’t for the reasons I have listed.

    Glad to hear the book is poised to help you with your efforts. Let me know how it turns out.


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