Book Recommendation: Fearless Change

(I originally posted this on my MSDN blog.)

Apropos of the topic of change, I recently picked up the book Fearless Change by Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising.  This is a pattern-oriented book in the style of Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language or the GoF’s Design Patterns, and the topic, as you might guess, is all about introducing change into your organization.

I haven’t read it all the way through yet but I’m already gleaning a lot of great tips and experiencing a lot of, “Geez, wish I’d read this two years ago!” moments.  It seems to be a great handbook for anyone who’s trying to introduce Agile methodologies (or any new concept) into an existing organization.

The book is organized into three parts.  Part one describes the various phases that a change campaign often goes through and offers pointers to individual patterns that might be most useful at each phase.  Part two contains some real-world experience reports in narrative form that demonstrate application of the patterns and how they interlock.  Part three is an encyclopedia of the patterns themselves where each one is described in great detail.

It’s a question that’s heard quite often: “Ok, great, now that I’m all fired up about Scrum/TDD/DI/whatever, how do I convince my co-workers or boss or CTO to let me try these ideas on real code?”  Fearless Change will give you lots of practical tools for starting and maintaining a campaign to change the way work is done in your organization.  That’s not to say that it’s going to be easy.  Change is always a lot of work.  But if you feel like you don’t even know where to start, then this book is for you.