This post is from the CollabNet VersionOne blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.
10 Agile Books You Should Read This Summer
It’s all too easy to take it a little bit easier during the summer, so we created a list of agile books to keep you on your toes.
Whether you read them at the beach on vacation or the back porch while the kids are at camp, you can rest assured that your agile practice will be a little bit better this fall.
Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
By Jeff Sutherland
We live in a world that is broken. For those who believe that there must be a more efficient way for people to get things done, here from Scrum pioneer Jeff Sutherland is a brilliantly discursive, thought-provoking book about the management process that is changing the way we live.
In this book you’ll journey to Scrum’s front lines where Jeff’s system of deep accountability, team interaction, and constant iterative improvement is, among other feats, bringing the FBI into the 21st century, perfecting the design of an affordable 140 mile per hour/100 mile per gallon car, helping NPR report fast-moving action in the Middle East, changing the way pharmacists interact with patients, reducing poverty in the Third World, and even helping people plan their weddings and accomplish weekend chores.
Woven with insights from martial arts, judicial decision making, advanced aerial combat, robotics, and many other disciplines, Scrum is consistently riveting. But the most important reason to read this book is that it may just help you achieve what others consider unachievable – whether it be inventing a trailblazing technology, devising a new system of education, pioneering a way to feed the hungry, or, closer to home, a building a foundation for your family to thrive and prosper.
The Project Manager’s Guide to Mastering Agile:
Principles and Practices for an Adaptive Approach
By Charles G. Cobb
The Project Management Profession is beginning to go through rapid and profound transformation due to the widespread adoption of agile methodologies. Those changes are likely to dramatically change the role of project managers in many environments as we have known them and raise the bar for the entire project management profession; however, we are in the early stages of that transformation and there is a lot of confusion about the impact it has on project managers:
- There are many stereotypes and misconceptions that exist about both Agile and traditional plan-driven project management
- Agile and traditional project management principles and practices are treated as separate and independent domains of knowledge with little or no integration between the two and sometimes seen as in conflict with each other
- Agile and “Waterfall” are thought of as two binary, mutually-exclusive choices and companies sometimes try to force-fit their business and projects to one of those extremes when the right solution is to fit the approach to the project
It’s no wonder that many Project Managers might be confused by all of this! This book will help project managers unravel a lot of the confusion that exists; develop a totally new perspective to see Agile and traditional plan-driven project management principles and practices in a new light as complementary to each other rather than competitive; and learn to develop an adaptive approach to blend those principles and practices together in the right proportions to fit any situation.
Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Distilled:
A Practical Guide to Scaling Agile in the Enterprise
By Richard Knaster and Dean Leffingwell
Today, companies know they must adapt quickly or die. They are increasingly seeking to adapt by using agile principles and practices – but many are still changing too slowly, and can’t sustain change. Fortunately, a growing number of enterprises have found a far more effective solution: the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).
SAFe changes the game by integrating Agile, Lean and product development flow thinking with a new operating model that successfully coordinate works at all levels: team, program, and portfolio. SAFe helps managers learn to become lean-thinking leaders, working with teams to continuously improve their systems, and create environments where everyone flourishes.
In Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Distilled, two SAFe pioneers show software practitioners how to use achieve higher productivity, improve the quality of their software processes, and bridge the divide between executives, managers and practitioners – aligning everyone towards common goals and objectives. If you want to scale and sustain agile in the enterprise, SAFe can get you there. Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Distilled will help you launch it, quickly earn value from it, and grow its value with every new project.
Agile Change Management:
A Practical Framework for Successful Change Planning and Implementation
By Melanie Franklin
The concept of agile working has been adopted by many organizations that recognize the need to respond quickly and easily to new opportunities in a world of complex and continuous change.
Agile Change Management offers best practice advice for planning and implementing change projects. Concrete tools help deliver projects successfully and realize benefits earlier on in the process.
By emphasizing and encouraging collaborative practices, the book illustrates how to build trust, influence and motivate others, and create a roadmap that outlines all the processes, activities and information needed to manage any type of change initiative. With advice for creating the right environment for change the book explains: who should be involved at each stage in the life style cycle, what tasks need to be completed at each stage, the concept of change in both large scale transformational programs and micro-level business projects, and the needs and benefits behind change strategies.
Along with a practical toolkit of materials available both online and in the book, Agile Change Management is essential reading for anyone who wants to develop the competencies of an effective change manager working in any project or program.
Agile Management for Software Engineering:
Applying the Theory of Constraints for Business Results
By David J. Anderson
This book is certainly about software development management, but it is also a book about business. Managers can no longer afford to discuss these two topics independently. This book is meant to eliminate the seat-of-the-pants intuition and rough approximations that have been far too prevalent in software development management. The growing popularity of agile methods has shown that a healthy balance between strict process and individual flexibility can be achieved.
David Anderson takes it a step farther, and explains how the healthy balance of agility can help businesses become more profitable. The result is a book that will allow managers to foster teams that produce better software, less expensively, on time, and with fewer defects.
By Ángel Medinilla
If you have tried to implement Agile in your organization, you have probably learned a lot about development practices, teamwork, processes and tools, but too little about how to manage such an organization. Yet managerial support is often the biggest impediment to successfully adopting Agile, and limiting your Agile efforts to those of the development teams while doing the same old-style management will dramatically limit the ability of your organization to reach the next Agile level.
Ángel Medinilla will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what Agile means to an organization and the manager’s role in such an environment, i.e., how to manage, lead and motivate self-organizing teams and how to create an Agile corporate culture. Based on his background as a “veteran” Agile consultant for companies of all sizes, he delivers insights and experiences, points out possible pitfalls, presents practical approaches and possible scenarios, also including detailed suggestions for further reading.
If you are a manager, team leader, evangelist, change agent (or whatever nice title) and if you want to push Agile further in your organization, then this is your book.
Agile Coaching Paperback
By Rachel Davies and Liz Sedley
Discover how to coach your team to become more Agile. Agile Coaching de-mystifies agile practices – it’s a practical guide to creating strong agile teams. Packed with useful tips from practicing agile coaches Rachel Davies and Liz Sedley, this book gives you coaching tools that you can apply whether you are a project manager, a technical lead, or working in a software team.
To lead change, you need to expand your toolkit, and this book gives you the tools you need to make the transition from agile practitioner to agile coach.
Agile Coaching is all about working with people to create great agile teams. You’ll learn how to build a team that produces great software and has fun doing it. In the process, you’ll grow a team that’s self-sufficient and skillful.
This book provides you with deeper knowledge of how agile practices work and how to inspire your team to improve. Discover how to coach your team through the agile lifecycle, from planning to writing software. Learn the secrets of running effective agile meetings and how to get your team following a consistent approach to creating software. You’ll find chapters dedicated to introducing Test-Driven Development, designing retrospectives, and making progress visible.
Agile Estimating and Planning Kindle Edition
By Mike Cohn
Agile Estimating and Planning is the definitive, practical guide to estimating and planning agile projects. In this book, Agile Alliance cofounder Mike Cohn discusses the philosophy of agile estimating and planning and shows you exactly how to get the job done, with real-world examples and case studies.
Concepts are clearly illustrated and readers are guided, step by step, toward how to answer the following questions: What will we build? How big will it be? When must it be done? How much can I really complete by then? You will first learn what makes a good plan-and then what makes it agile.
Using the techniques in Agile Estimating and Planning, you can stay agile from start to finish, saving time, conserving resources, and accomplishing more. Highlights include:
- Why conventional prescriptive planning fails and why agile planning works
- How to estimate feature size using story points and ideal days—and when to use each
- How and when to re-estimate
- How to prioritize features using both financial and nonfinancial approaches
- How to split large features into smaller, more manageable ones
- How to plan iterations and predict your team’s initial rate of progress
- How to schedule projects that have unusually high uncertainty or schedule-related risk
- How to estimate projects that will be worked on by multiple teams
Agile Experience Design: A Digital Designer’s Guide to Agile, Lean, and Continuous (Voices That Matter)
By Lindsay Ratcliffe
Agile development methodologies may have started life in IT, but their widespread and continuing adoption means there are many practitioners outside of IT – including designers – who need to change their thinking and adapt their practices. This is the missing book about agile that shows how designers, product managers, and development teams can integrate experience design into lean and agile product development. It equips you with tools, techniques and a framework for designing great experiences using agile methods so you can deliver timely products that are technically feasible, profitable for the business, and desirable from an end-customer perspective.
This book will help you:
- Successfully integrate your design process on an agile project and feel like part of the agile team
- Do good design faster by doing just enough, just in time
- Use design methods from disciplines such as design thinking, customer-centered design, product design, and service design
- Create successful digital products by considering the needs of the end-customer, the business, and technology
- Understand the next wave of thinking about continuous design and continuous delivery
*Book description from Amazon
Agile Project Management with Scrum (Developer Best Practices)
By Ken Schwaber
The rules and practices for Scrum—a simple process for managing complex projects—are few, straightforward, and easy to learn. But Scrum’s simplicity itself—its lack of prescription—can be disarming, and new practitioners often find themselves reverting to old project management habits and tools and yielding lesser results. In this illuminating series of case studies, Scrum co-creator and evangelist Ken Schwaber identifies the real-world lessons—the successes and failures—culled from his years of experience coaching companies in agile project management. Through them, you’ll understand how to use Scrum to solve complex problems and drive better results—delivering more valuable software faster.
Gain the foundation in Scrum theory—and practice—you need to:
- Rein in even the most complex, unwieldy projects
- Effectively manage unknown or changing product requirements
- Simplify the chain of command with self-managing development teams
- Receive clearer specifications—and feedback—from customers
- Greatly reduce project planning time and required tools
- Build—and release—products in 30-day cycles so clients get deliverables earlier
- Avoid missteps by regularly inspecting, reporting on, and fine-tuning projects
- Support multiple teams working on a large-scale project from many geographic locations
- Maximize return on investment!
Whether you’re brand new to agile or been practicing for years, there’s something for everyone on this list of summer agile reading. I hope the list has inspired you to continue your agile advancement this summer.
What other books would you recommend?