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Recommended Reading

List of books that I have found useful as I work with people and try to understand how to improve both my effectiveness and those I work with:


Title Author Roles Type Comments
Essential Scrum Kenny Rubin RTE, SM Foundational Comprehensive treatment of running Scrum effectively
Agile Estimating and Planning Mike Cohn PM, PO, RTE, SM Foundational Everything you need to know about user stories and estimating work to create plans.
The Lean Startup Eric Ries PM, PO, Manager Intermediate How do you “control” work which is aimed at something totally new such as developing a new product? This book answers this question.
Principles of Product Development Flow Don Reinertsen PM, RTE Advanced Probably the best book related to understanding how to deliver products effectively, but also probably the most difficult to read. A lot of Lean-Agile thinking is based on the principles discussed in this book.
Scrum Guide Jeff Sutherland & Ken Schwaber RTE, SM Foundational The definitive source of information on Scrum by the people who invented it. A “must read” for anyone interested in the basics of Scrum. Frequently revised and updated based on feedback. 
Coaching Agile Teams Lyssa Atkins RTE, SM Intermediate Companion book to help SMs understand how to be an effective coach of Teams.
Agile Retrospectives Esther Derby & Diana Larson RTE, SM Foundational Helps SMs understand what it really takes to be have fun and effective retrospectives.
Out of Crisis W Edwards Deming RTE, SM, Manager Intermediate Deming's classic work on management, based on his famous 14 Points for Management. His thinking was the basis of the Toyota Production System and Lean, and influenced Lean-Agile as a result.
Slack Tom DeMarco RTE, SM, Manager Intermediate This book is a discussion about the counterintuitive principle that explains why efficiency efforts can slow a company down. Fights against the concept that, for example, 100% utilization of people is the most efficient way to get something done and helps you understand why, and what to do about it.
The Clean Coder “Uncle” Bob Martin Dev Foundational Want to write clean, readable code that does exactly what you expect it to? This book will help with that.
Agile Testing Lisa Crispin & Janet Gregory QA Foundational This book helps you develop a complete approach to testing your system.
Refactoring Martin Fowler Dev Intermediate Approach to constantly and continuously improve your code base.
Inspired Marty Cagan PM, PO Intermediate How to create tech products that delight customers.
The Rollout Alex Yakyma All Business Novel A Novel about Leadership and Building a Lean-Agile Enterprise with SAFe.

Talks about moving an organization that has had success with agile and lean at a team level, but are finding it hard to see success at an enterprise level.
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement Eli Goldratt All Business Novel Aimed at helping you understand the “Theory of Constraints”, a set of tools aimed at help you identify where problems are with your delivery system and what you can do about it. If you want this thinking applied to project management you might want to try Critical Chain.
Rolling Rocks Downhill: The Agile Business Novels Clarks Ching All Business Novel While the approaches reflect modern Agile, Theory Of Constraints, Systems, and Lean thinking, it doesn't require any one particular approach or push on a particular flavor.
The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win Gene Kim All, Development Business Novel The book that really made the DevOps movement viral. Applies the DevOps approach to a legacy environment, and talks about why the approach improves business results.
Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory Development, Testing Foundational If you have a large scale legacy system, chances are that when you go to Agile / Scrum that you will need to rework how you do testing. To get started you will need to relook at your overall testing approach. This book will help you through the thought process.
Value Stream Mapping Karen Martin SM, RTE, Manager Foundational This is one of the basic tools you’d use to understand how work actually gets done (from initial concept to release to the customer and on) to both visualize the effort and so you can focus on improvements.
Team Topologies: Organizing Business and Technology Teams for Fast Flow Matthew Skelton Manager Intermediate As organizations change it is important to understand how to optimize the structure of Teams. This book provides the thinking process behind organizing for flow.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni SM, Manager Business Novel If you want to understand how to build high performance teams, this is a good start. Starts with understanding that high-performance teams are built on trust. Easy read; good lessons. See "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" - Patrick Lencioni for more.
Squirrel Inc: A Fable of Leadership Stephen Denning All Business Novel Useful in helping you craft the message (in story form) so that you can engage people's emotions and not just really on dry facts. I found that when “selling” ideas you get more success from well crafted stories than just about any other approach.
Learning Agile: Understanding Scrum, XP, Lean, and Kanban Andrew Stellman, Jennifer Greene Foundational SM, Manager Excellent book if you are just starting out down the path of agile. Provides an excellent overview of not only base practices of Scrum, XP, Lean and Kanban, but also offers up the values and principles Values and Principles behind the approaches, and how you can use these tools to address your specific issues. See "Learning Agile: Understanding Scrum, XP, Lean, and Kanban" - Andrew Stellman, Jennifer Greene for more.
Crystal Clear: A Human Powered Methodology for Small Teams Alistair Cockburn SM Foundational If you are a Scrum Master or coach of a team, this is a great book in helping you understand how to work with your team and help them become a high-performance team.
Agile Product Management with Scrum Roman Pichler PO Foundational If you want to become a great Product Owner, or understand what it means to be a great Product Owner, this is the book for you.
Leading Change John P Kotter Manager Intermediate I wish I had this book when I went through our first agile transformation. Fortunately it was there for my second transformation and it really helped me put the first experience in context, offered a model for the new change and tools for going about the process. This made the second transformation a lot smoother.
Our Iceberg is Melting John P Kotter Manager Business Novel A business novel on organizational change.
Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World John P Kotter Manager Advanced This is the latest thinking from Kotter on enabling change in an organization. This time he introduces more than the steps required for change, adding in the idea that companies need to be organized with “dual operating systems”, the traditional hierarchy and the customer centric network, in order to regain their ability to respond quickly to the marketplace while keeping the best of the traditional organizational models.
Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex WorldGeneral Stanley McChrystalManagerFoundationalReally good book on the change in management approach that we need to put in place to become a more resilient and agile organization - beyond team agility to organization agility. Or to quote General McChrystal “Teams can bring a measure of adaptability to previously rigid organizations. But these performance improvements have a ceiling as long as adaptable traits are limited to the team level.” I recommend this to executives especially who are trying to understand how they and the overall organization will need to change in order to become the organization they want it to be. This book covers the move in approach from the “scientific management” / “reductionist” and “command and control” view of managing an organization to one based on “common purpose” / “extreme transparency” and “de-centralized decision making”. “The role of the senior leader was no longer that of controlling puppet master, but rather that of an empathetic crafter of culture.” See Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World for more.
Lean Product and Process DevelopmentAllen WardSM, ManagerAdvancedExcellent but non-trivial read. Helps you understand the application of a lean thinking approach to the problem of new product development (i.e. invention). If you are interested in reducing your development time and resources use as much as four times, reducing the risk of quality problems, schedule and cost overruns, and failed products as much as 10 times, increasing innovation as much as 10 times, and reusing production systems and parts, slashing capital costs and improving quality. The book shows how to leverage learning and how working multiple design approaches (and deciding as late as possible) will improve solutions. This book combats the notion that phase gate approach to development does not result in improved results and that an approach based on pulling together a total system as an objective milestone makes sense. The last 1/4 of the book is a series of case studies at the end of the book are really interesting.
Joy, Inc: How We Built a Workplace People LoveRichard SheridanManagerFoundationalDiscusses how to establish a modern workplace for knowledge workers.
The Lean Machine: How Harley-Davidson Drove Top-Line Growth and Profitability with Revolutionary Lean Product DevelopmentDantar P. OosterwalManagerIntermediateBrilliant book, just brilliant, if you are trying to understand how to implement “lean” type thinking approach to the problem of new product development. Its an easy read but that does not make it simplistic. There is a lot here that is practical, but more importantly it will help you understand the thinking approach you might want to consider.
Actionable Agile Metrics for PredictabilityDaniel S. VacantSM, ManagerIntermediateThere are two uses of this book: 1) To understand a small set of metrics which, if tracked correctly, will help you improve your process and 2) To understand how to interpret scatterplots, cumulative flow diagrams and so on, what to look for and how to address. This book is a little “anti-Scrum” (or rather anti point based estimating / velocity calculations) but still a valuable addition to understanding your delivery system.
This is Lean: Resolving the Efficency ParadoxNiklas ModigManagerFoundationalI thought this was a great book, a fabulous introduction to help you understand what lean is all about and, just as importantly, what it is not. It helps in understanding of Little's Law, Theory of Constraints, and why Flow Efficiency (and therefore “lean”) is changing how we think about things. The base premise is that lean is about “flow efficiency” as opposed to resources efficiency in how work gets done. Flow efficiency focuses on the amount of time it takes from identifying a need to satisfying that need, whereas resource efficiency focuses on efficiently using the resources that add value within an organization. Why is this important? For more than two hundred years, industrial development has been built around increasing the utilization of resources. Efficient use of resources has long been the most common way of looking at efficiency. It continues to dominate the way in which organizations in different industries and sectors are organized, controlled, and managed. From an economic perspective, it makes sense to strive for the most efficient possible use of resources. The reason for this is the opportunity cost. For more see This is Lean: Resolving the Efficency Paradox
Cultivating Communities of PracticeEtienne WengerManagerIntermediateOnce you have an Agile implementation at scale, you often have a new problem. Whereas before you had silos associated with the disciplines, now you have cross-functional teams, and it you are not careful you lose the ability to improve on discipline specific knowledge or worse, require that every team re-invents the discipline knowledge every time. One way to address this is to encourage the formation of Communities of Practice. This book will help you understand the background.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates UsDan PinkManagerFoundationalYour first step on a journey on how to really motivate people. Mastery, autonomy and purpose, not money (or at least not directly). For the “condensed version” see Drive: The Surprising Truth About Motivation plus Dan Pink's TED Talk
Implementing Beyond Budgeting: Unlocking the Performance PotentialBjarte BogsnesManagerAdvancedJust a great book if you want to understand how to work better with finance and HR. There is a lot here, and some of it may not be immediately something to work, but the ideas can be applied to a wide variety of situations. For more, see Implementing Beyond Budgeting: Unlocking the Performance Potential

/home/hpsamios/ · Last modified: 2020/12/01 08:41 by hans