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Driving Technical Change in beta; New issue of Pragpub

April 07, 2010

New code, new libraries, new techniques, new practices; there’s a lot out there that you need to try and adopt. Change is necessary in order to keep software soft, but not everyone is as willing to try. Now you can learn why people on your team don’t act on good ideas, and how to convince them they should.

And speaking of change, you can now read each issue of our magazine PragPub online in HTML in addition to PDF, mobi and ePub formats.

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Driving Technical Change: Why People on Your Team Don’t Act on Good Ideas, and How to Convince Them They Should

Finding cool languages, tools, or development techniques is easy—new ones are popping up every day. Convincing co-workers to adopt them is the hard part. The problem is political, and in political fights, logic doesn’t win for logic’s sake. Hard evidence of a superior solution is not enough. But that reality can be tough for programmers to overcome.

In Driving Technical Change: Why People on Your Team Don’t Act on Good Ideas, and How to Convince Them They Should, Adobe software evangelist Terrence Ryan breaks down the patterns and types of resistance technologists face in many organizations.

You’ll get a rich understanding of what blocks users from accepting your solutions. From that, you’ll get techniques for dismantling their objections—without becoming some kind of technocratic Machiavelli.

In Part I, Ryan clearly defines the problem. Then in Part II, he presents “resistance patterns”—there’s a pattern for each type of person resisting your technology, from The Uninformed to The Herd, The Cynic, The Burned, The Time Crunched, The Boss, and The Irrational. In Part III, Ryan shares his battle-tested techniques for overcoming users’ objections. These build on expertise, communication, compromise, trust, publicity, and similar factors. In Part IV, Ryan reveals strategies that put it all together: the patterns of resistance and the techniques for winning buy-in. This is the art of organizational politics.

In the end, change is a two-way street. In order to get your co-workers to stretch their technical skills, you’ll have to stretch your soft skills. This book will help you make that stretch without compromising your resistance to playing politics. You can overcome resistance (however illogical) in a logical way.

Available now in beta from

PragPub Issue #10, now in HTML online

You say you want to develop some serious software for Apple’s new iPad? Well, you can start right here. In this issue, Eric Freeman and Daniel Steinberg, authors of the forthcoming Pragmatic Bookshelf book iPad Programming: a Quick-Start Guide for iPhone Developers, walk you through the process of embedding a video in an iPad app.

Apple sold 300,000 iPads on day one (including pre-orders), so there’s already a sizable market for your app, but what may be even more intriguing is the challenge this device offers. The iPad is a radically new platform, a new way of thinking about what computing devices do for us, and a new way of slicing up the market. Those who really get what the iPad is all about have a chance to dazzle consumers and have a lot of fun doing it.

You say you get a lot out of small, focused developer conferences, and it has crossed your mind that you could put on a conference yourself? James Edward Gray II has some advice for you. He and some friends did exactly that, and he shares what they learned in this issue’s interview.

You say there are certain things that drive you up the wall? Like other people’s software that you are struggling to maintain in the face of their abysmal coding and documentation? Or like an ever-increasing collection of libraries that you sense are pulling you farther and farther from a true, fingers-in-the-bits mastery of what’s going on in your own code? Or like figuring out what should go in your resume? Then this issue of PragPub has something for you.

You say you want to know more? Well, we have an article on libraries by Mike Taylor, a dinosaur expert who wrote the first MUD to run over the Internet and who today runs a popular blog called The Reinvigorated Programmer. We have an article on troubleshooting by Mike Hostetler, who got his first computer at age 11. We have tech history and career articles by our resident tech historian, Dan Wohlbruck, and tech career expert Andy Lester; and we have an unusual article about music in the ER by frequent contributor Brian Tarbox.

And for the same low, low price, we’re going to throw in another John Shade essay, a state-of-the-art Events Calendar, and a challenging Quiz with all the extras. What do you say to that?

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Coming Soon:

  • Cocoa Programming [in print April]
  • Pragmatic Guide to Subversion [in beta April]
  • Agile Web Development with Rails 4th Edition [in beta April]

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Thanks for your continued support,

Andy & Dave