Sunday, May 11, 2008

Book Review: Subject To Change

Subject To Change, Peter Merholz, et. al, published by Adaptive Path.  ISBN 0596516835.

This book at first glance seems awfully similar to Scott Berkun's The Myths of Innovation, but there's enough distinction to make it worth a separate read.

Subject to Change is short, concise, and very well-written.  It offers up insights on how companies can be more flexible to meet market changes by working in new ways for solid customer research, product design, and agile approaches, among other things.

The book's nicely done and is filled with good examples of how some companies have come up with concepts which completely changed the industry.  Kodak's first box camera is an example of a product which fundamentally changed how companies treated their customers.  ("You press the button and we do the rest.")  Kodak also gets slammed for their ignorant approach to the digital camera age -- failing to adapt to a changing environment isn't a great way to run a business...

This same theme runs through the book: approaches that have worked wonders for companies contrasted with flops that haven't.  Successful approaches almost always come from businesses which have spent time understanding their customer base; flops come from companies which do silly things like create hardware which is feature-scarce, expense, and hard to use without having ever talked to a customer.

I liked most all the chapters and found the ones on design competency and agile particularly interesting.  No surprise about me liking the agile chapter since I'm a nut about agile software development!  There are also a number of great discussions on brainstorming UIs, layouts, and product prototypes, something which I think gets little or no coverage in other works.

Overall it's a good read.  It didn't grab me as much as Berkun's Innovation book, but it's a solid addition to my bookshelf all the same.

1 comment:

aliya seen said...

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