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Book Report - Driving Technical Change

posted under category: General on March 28, 2011 by Nathan

The last book in this mini-series of book reviews (my wife laughs when I call it a book report), is the Pragmatic Programmer's book Driving Technical Change by Terrence Ryan. I know Terry as the Adobe evangelist for ColdFusion, so as a user group manager, we talk some.

Driving Technical Change is an interesting book because it's essentially a people-skills book for nerds. As I read through and discussed it with my aforementioned better half, it became evident that the basic strategies outlined in this book are something that she does every day, almost without thinking. It's a great thing to do, just not something that would have ever occurred to me.

The format is simple. You get to know a person, figure out what kind of social dysfunction they have toward you, then treat them in a way where they get what they want while you succeed with your agenda. The book is actually like a social reference for people who get in the way of technical progress. I put my copy on my shelf at work because that's where I run into these people.

Overall I liked it, on the immediate side because I could vouyeristically classify my co-workers (past and present), and on the long-term side it will be an ally for helping to share my technical position at my day job. See, I work at a big company, 160,000 or so employees. My technical agenda tends to be advocating my programming platform of choice (plus other favorite complimentary technologies as mentioned in the book) as well as my own application that I am trying to roll across the enterprise. Not everyone is as receptive as they should be, so this book is a practical perfect win.

It's an eye opener and a nice read. It went by pretty quickly, too, which means it didn't sit around a long time as big books seem to intimidate me. You learn more about the book at the publisher's site, and pick it up at Amazon for about $22 at today's price.

Nathan is a software developer at The Boeing Company in Charleston, SC. He is essentially a big programming nerd. Really, you could say that makes him a nerd among nerds. Aside from making software for the web, he plays with tech toys and likes to think about programming's big picture while speaking at conferences and generally impressing people with massive nerdiness and straight-faced sarcastic humor. Nathan got his programming start writing batch files in DOS. It should go without saying, but these thought and opinions have nothing to do with Boeing in any way.
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