Over the holidays, I read “Driving Technical Change”, by Terrance Ryan. The subtitle providers a great abstract for the book: “Why People on Your Team Don’t Act on Good Ideas, and How to Convince Them They Should.” This book will give you tools and techniques that will help you get your technical recommendations adopted at your workplace.
Mr. Ryan divides the book into three main sections: Skeptic Patterns, Techniques, and Strategies.
In Skeptic Patterns, you’ll learn how to categorize the negative responses you receive to new ideas. This is the first technique you’ll need: Recognize why people resist your idea. You’ll meet “the uninformed”, “the burned”, “the time crunched”, and others, including my favorite, “the irrational”.
In Techniques, Mr. Ryan describes many techniques that you can use to drive acceptance of a new idea. In each case, Mr. Ryan cross references each technique with the kinds of skeptics that are most swayed by that technique. The good news is that you probably already know most of the techniques. Mr. Ryan helps the reader by motivating you to perform those actions, and which skeptics are most receptive.
Finally, in Strategies, Mr. Ryan proposes a plan that will, over time, move the greatest number of influential skeptics to your side of the argument.
He doesn’t promise that driving technical change will be easy. But, Mr. Ryan will arm you with techniques to succeed far more often than you probably do now. Even though I’ve followed much of his advice for many years as a consultant, I found myself thinking I need to keep this book handy whenever I want to get customers to change. It’s thoughtful, calm techniques will keep you focused on the end goal, and give you the techniques to get there. If you are responsible for driving change, or wish you could drive change, you need this book.