The Right Way to Select Technology

Get the Real Story on Finding the Best Fit

By Tony Byrne & Jarrod Gingras

  • The Right Way to Select Technology Cover
  • Why do half of all technology projects fail? A major reason is that organizations often pick the wrong tools, leaving them digitally hamstrung from the start. This book offers a modern alternative to traditional waterfall approaches to selecting technology. You’ll learn a practical, adaptive process that relies on realistic storytelling and hands-on testing to get the best fit for your enterprise.

    Read the book, follow the steps, and take control of your enterprise software life. My thanks to Tony and Jarrod for writing this excellent book.

    Michael Krigsman, host, CXOTALK, and executive fellow at Center for Digital Strategies, Tuck School, Dartmouth, expert on IT failure

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    Illustrations View all on Flickr

    • RWST000: Front Cover
    • RWST001: Table 1.1
    • RWST002: Figure 1.1
    • RWST003: Figure 1.2
    • RWST004: Figure 3.1
    • RWST005: Table 3.1
    • RWST006: Figure 3.2
    • RWST007: Figure 3.3

    Table of Contents

    Part I: Business Foundations

    Chapter 1: Craft a No-Bullshit Business Case
    Chapter 2: Build a Selection Team That Works
    Chapter 3: Get the Basic Foundations Right

    Part II: Needs and Opportunities

    Chapter 4: Capture Requirements That Don’t Suck
    Chapter 5: Why User Stories Are Everything
    Chapter 6: Ask Questions That Really Matter

    Part III: Conduct Market Analysis

    Chapter 7: Find More Than the Usual Suspects
    Chapter 8: How to Target the Right Suppliers
    Chapter 9: Choose the Best Solicitation Approach

    Part IV: Engage with Suppliers

    Chapter 10: Create RFPs That Actually Work
    Chapter 11: Keeping It Real with Bidders
    Chapter 12: How to Evaluate Proposals Critically

    Part V: Try Before You Buy

    Chapter 13: Hold Demos on Your Own Terms
    Chapter 14: Run Competitor Proof-of-Concepts

    Part VI: Make the Right Choice

    Chapter 15: Negotiate Like a Pro
    Chapter 16: Make the Right Final Selection
    Chapter 17: Adapt This Process for Selecting Services Firms


    I work with product teams to help them design and build more successful products. Unfortunately, I usually have bad news for them.

    These teams are looking for the secret to creating great products. Like most things in life, there is no secret and there is no shortcut. Successful products don’t emerge from clever feature ideas or sexy screen designs. They come from teams that understand their stakeholders, customers, and users. They come from teams that know how users work today and empathize with their challenges. They come from teams that can imagine a better way for these people to work in the future using the software and technology they’re building. And they come from teams that test their ideas aggressively. Teams like this eventually create incredible products.

    Why am I telling you all this? If you’ve picked up Tony and Jarrod’s book, you don’t plan on designing and building a product; you’re looking for a technology. But it turns out that the process of selecting technology for your organization is a lot like designing it yourself. It’s not going to work for you to assemble a wish list of features from within your organization and then select the vendor that says they have more of them than the next guy. You know that the best products aren’t necessarily the ones with the most features. Instead, the best approach is to understand the people in your organization, their work and challenges, and imagine a better future for them using the technology you select. That’s going to take some time and effort.

    In this book, Tony and Jarrod lay out a straightforward way of selecting technology successfully. Brace yourself—these authors don’t mince words. They directly expose the traps most organizations fall into, as well as giving straightforward ways to avoid them. This book describes a process from beginning to end in a way that even I can understand.

    By working the way Tony and Jarrod suggest, you’ll help your organization make one of its best investments ever. And, what’s more, you’ll know it when you see it, because you and your team will have already envisioned that better way to work, as well as tested it before committing. You should be proud. Well, you will be.

    Oh, and the best thing is that you won’t actually have to build the whole solution yourself. And that’s a good thing.

    Jeff Patton
    Founder, Patton & Associates
    Author, User Story Mapping


    There are many books out there written based on reading other books. This great book by Byrne and Gingras is clearly based on years and years of practical experience with helping businesses select the right technology for their needs. Every page of this book is brimming with tested advice, pointers to real pitfalls, practical examples, and clear steps going forward. I highly recommend this book, whether you’re on the verge of a full-scale technology selection process, or you want to master part of it.

    Samuel Driessen, Senior Director External Digital Channels at Teva Pharmaceuticals

    Those who work with software often point to the ever-changing and fast-paced dynamic of the world of technology as a sign to move quickly at all costs. But the real truth is that once a core software platform is selected, an organization is going to live with that choice for many, many years to come. So, do yourself a favor and read The Right Way to Select Technology before you make that choice. You’ll be glad you did.

    Lisa Welchman, consultant and author, Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design

    To call the strategies in this book “battle-tested” would be a profound understatement. They’re the evolutionary product of years of continuous usage, evaluation, and refinement. What Byrne and Gingras explain in these pages rises above the blistering pace of technology to provide a spectacular overhead view.

    Deane Barker, Chief Strategy Officer, Blend Interactive

    A user-centric, business-driven approach to select technology for living, breathing human beings is critical to drive digital transformation. This practical book offers a refreshing approach that makes you rethink current practices.

    Bonnie Cheuk, Global Head of Digital, Euroclear

    If you’re tasked with leading a technology selection process, you owe it to yourself to read this book. Byrne and Gingras show you how to assemble the right cross-functional team and governance structure and create an evaluation process based on the roles and functional needs of the people in your organization

    Lane Halley Goldstone, co-founder, Brooklyn Copper Cookware

    Over the past 15 years, my firm has trained more than 40,000 professionals in more than 20 countries to use new technologies successfully. No matter how effective our training is, though, we can’t undo the impact of the wrong technology choices without a great deal of time, pain, and expense. Reading this richly informative and insightful book will help you avoid these difficulties and make the best choices for your organization at the very beginning.

    Steven Heckler, CEO, Accelebrate

    Read the book, follow the steps, and take control of your enterprise software life. My thanks to Tony and Jarrod for writing this excellent book.

    Michael Krigsman, host, CXOTALK, and executive fellow at Center for Digital Strategies, Tuck School, Dartmouth, expert on IT failure