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.

Book Review: Women In Tech


This is the book you need to buyIt’s been a while since I wrote a book review, mostly because I’ve been reading fiction and history, neither of which really fit this blog. However I just finished a book that definitely deserves a review, Women In Tech.

First, the TLDR: Read the book!

Women in Tech was written by Tarah Wheeler Van Vlack in conjunction with women drawn from across the tech world. It is a blend of a career guidebook and inspirational stories written by women from different backgrounds. Each woman has made their unique mark in the industry.

Before I get much further with this review, it must be noted that as a man, I am not the primary target for this book. That is not to say I didn’t gain value from reading it. Far from it.

I learned a lot and enjoyed reading the book. Women in Tech is well written, humorous at times, and I highly recommend it for anyone in the tech industry. One last note, as women were the primary audience, my perspective on the book should be considered in that light.

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Review: Every Leadership Book


Over my life, I’ve been through a lot of training outside the traditional classroom. Starting in Scouting and then transitioning into my professional life, I’ve been exposed to a lot of different Leadership principles. When mixed in with my professional experience, I think I have a firm understanding of what it takes to be a Leader.

I have read a few books on Leadership in my day. I’ve been impressed with none of them. When I saw this Dilbert strip, it all made sense to me.

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more

No system works for every organization. No system works for a single organization all of the time. The Leadership style that creates a startup may not work when that startup is a market leader. The Leadership style for a software product company may not work well for an Association.

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Review: The Introvert’s Guide to Success


The Introvert's Guide to Success in Business and Leadership

Years ago, I started following Lisa Petrilli on Twitter as I had found some of her blog posts interesting. She had written several blog posts on how Introverts can leverage their skills to be valuable leaders.

I loved the posts because I am an Introvert. If you don’t believe me, then you’ve never seen me hibernate after a large conference or noticed how I am always easier to find in the first few days of a conference than the end of the event. Being moderately “successful”, the posts usually helped to explain why what I was doing was the right thing or gave me tips on how I could do something better. When The Introvert’s Guide to Success came out, I quickly bought it. Then like many work-related books that I buy, it took me a while to read.

Glad I did.

Serial Readings

As I read the book, I was reminded of many Science Fiction classics. Not in tone or topic, but in style. Many early works were actually a compilation of a series of short stories published in one of the magazines of the day. As such, every few “episodes”, a basic tenet of the imagined universe was restated. This makes a lot of sense in a series that is read over a year or more, but not as much sense in a novel.

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Review: The New Kingmakers


newkingmakers

I will admit that I have been following what Stephen O’Grady and James Governor have been doing over at Redmonk for quite some time. They were doing for developers what I wish people had been doing when I was a developer. When Stephen published his book, I promptly went out and got it…and then had to wait to find time to read it.

I am so glad that I did. It took a little more time to get around to writing this review, but it is important to write because The New Kingmakers is full of truth. What Stephen has written about is the critical start of the trend we are seeing all over the world of technology.

Before I go into that, let me talk about the book.

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Book Review: The Myths of Innovation


berkun-myths-210x315Back in August, I had the privilege of hearing Scott Berkun speak. If you don’t know who he is, you should. He regularly shares nuggets of wisdom that reveal a man that not only seeks to learn from research and experience, but can also merge the two into solid advice.

When I saw him speak at the DC User Experience Professionals Association meeting, he was talking about his book Mindfire. He was giving out free copies to those that participated in the presentation/discussion. When I “earned” my book, I traded for The Myths of Innovation. An earlier book of his, it is one that gets to the root of why I listen to Scott Berkun.

Enough prelude, let’s talk about the book.

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Review: The Innovator’s Dilemma


image The Innovator’s Dilemma

Clayton M. Christensen

Before I went to EMC World and marveled at how the management was missing the boat on the cloud and was diving wholesale into Case Management, I was told that I had to read this book.  After EMC World, I broke down, purchased it, and then fought to find time for it.  The book is over a decade old, so what was the rush? Let me tell you, I am glad I found the time.

I was told before I read the book that it was going to make me a little sad and despair for the future of Documentum.  It did in a way, but it also helped explain everything that was happening.  It actually increased my opinion of some people at EMC.  I am going to talk about the specifics to EMC, and other legacy Content Management vendors, in a subsequent post.  For now, let’s dive into the book itself.

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