Book Review: The Right Way to Select Technology


The book, "The Right Way to Select Technology"This review is a long time in coming. I finished this book a while back but every time I would sit down to write the review a new crisis would emerge. I feel bad because Tony Byrne and Jarrod Gingras are two industry friends that I’ve known since my earliest days of writing the Word of Pie.

The Right Way To Select Technology describes a comprehensive approach to choosing technology products. It is in-depth and will do one of several things for you:

  • Make you realize how little you know about selecting technology
  • Convince you that you probably should hire help in running the selection process
  • Show you how you can make wiser technology decisions

I fell into the final group. I’ve been doing this for years across a range of products and additional skill development is always welcome. While no process will give you a 100% success rate, the components described by Tony and Jarrod will get you a lot closer to that magic number.

Before I go into detail, here’s the nitty-gritty takeaway: If you advise clients on technology selections, read this book. If you are running a technology selection for your company, get this book. If it is your first selection process, read it, hire help, and make sure the people you hire have read the book.

Detail and Brevity

This book is unique in being very detailed and brief all at the same time. The steps delineated are numerous but not unnecessarily so. Each step has its place in the process. The authors let you know when a step may not be necessary.

Throughout the book, there are stories and facts from the authors’ decades of experience of helping people select technology. They illustrate why some steps are important and when other steps may not make sense. Many stories will make those with deep experience in the technology wince in sympathy.

The book is brief in that the read is quick. While it ticks in at 161 pages, there is a lot of useful illustrations and checklists which are quickly consumed during a standard read. They help you learn what needs to be done and what questions to ask during the process. More importantly, they will serve as a useful reference when you go through the process.

The authors strike the right balance and the book quite useful. I learned several things and that is always a good barometer.

Logically Organized

Things are laid out in chronological order and divided in clear, logical, sections. That facilitates using the book as a reference. If you can readily make a strong business case but need help learning how to work with suppliers, it is easy to dive in and expand your knowledge in any given area.

This is important because most of us don’t live in the world of tech selection. We typically only do this once every few years. Unfortunately, too many of us will be brought in to do part of the selection, usually including a dissection of what is wrong with the current process. The handy checklists at the end of each chapter should work well for insuring nothing is missed.

An Important Tool

While many books I read simply educate, or entertain, me, there are only a few that I foresee being a ready reference for my future efforts. This book is definitely one of those.

When embarking on my next technology selection project, I’ll review this book, make sure my team members have read it, and give a copy to my client. If I am bidding on a project that includes a technology review, I may send them a copy so they understand the effort needed to make an informed decision.

If you’ve read this far, you obviously do this for a living or are about to select some new technology. Get the book and read it. You don’t have to do everything but the parts you do incorporate should lead you to a more successful outcome.

Disclaimer

I was sent a copy by Tony after he asked if I would like a copy. The usual author requests were made of me; if I like it, please write a review.