No, not people, people aren’t resources, they’re people. I’m talking about our favorite books, websites, and blogs related to agile. Read on and feel free to recommend additional sources in the comments.
Key Scrum Reference Sites
- http://www.scrumalliance.org – Scrum Alliance
- http://agileatlas.org/atlas/scrum – Definitive Scrum guide (read this if you’re about take the CSM exam).
- http://agilemanifesto.org – the values and principles behind the agile movement
Scrum 101 Books
- Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time Jeff Sutherland (scrum inventor) – this recent publication was a revelation to me even after having taught and coached scrum for years. It tells Jeff’s story of his evolving thinking through several amazing and unique experiences that eventually led to the invention of scrum. If you want the “Why” behind every part of scrum, this is the book.
- Essential Scrum Kenny Rubin – the best “complete overview” of scrum and, at the time of its publication in 2013, a great description the state of the art of how it is used in practice.
- Scrum and XP From the Trenches Henrik Kniberg (Also available as a downloadable PDF) – A super easy read that gets to the heart of scrum by describing a real life case study.
- Agile Software Development with Scrum Ken Schwaber & Mike Beedle – The original Scrum book. Good, clear overview of the practices and principles of Scrum. It is somewhat out-of-date now, as Scrum has progressed since the book was written, but it is still a valuable read.
Scrum and Agile for Game Development
- Agile Game Development with Scrum Clinton Keith – The definitive book on using agile for developing games, by the man that pioneered the use of scrum in game development. Good, clear overview of how Scrum, XP, and Lean ideas can make a big difference for game studios.
Scrum and Agile 202
- Succeeding with Agile, Mike Cohn – great practical advise on how to make scrum work in an organization.
- User Stories Applied Mike Cohn – This clear and simple book covers the aspects of writing, estimating, prioritizing and committing to product requirements. Essential reading for Product Owners.
- Agile Estimating and Planning Mike Cohn – What are story points again? Why do we use them and not estimated hours? This book will refresh you on these topics and help you become good at estimation and release planning.
- Kanban and Scrum – Making the most of both Henrik Kniberg and Mattias Skarin – In the style of Scrum and XP from the Trenches, this book is ultra-practical and useful without becoming a “guide for dummies.” Available as a print book and downloadable pdf.
- Joy Inc. Richard Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovations – A great book about how Menlo does Agile & XP throughout the company and how it brings joy to the workplace and customers.
For Scrum Masters & Agile Coaches
- Coaching Agile Teams, Lyssa Adkins – If you’re a scrum master, stop reading this blog post and read this book. Provides lots of tools and ways to think about being a great servant leader and agile change agent for your team
- Lyssa Adkins: The Road from Project Manager to Agile Coach YouTube video, in two parts. Part two is here.
- Agile RetrospectivesEsther Derby and Diana Larsen – Our sprint is almost over, how do I run the retrospective again?
- Jean Tabaka: Collaboration Explained – Great book for agile coaches about being a good facilitator. Check out the section with starter agendas for sprint planning and other agile meetings.
- Michael James: A Scrum Master’s Checklist – good scrum master can be good for two or maybe three teams. A great scrum master can be great for only one, especially early in their adoption.
- Laura Whitworth, et. al.: Co-Active Coaching, 2nd Edition: New Skills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and, Life – Coaching skills for agile coaches,such as powerful questions, are taught in this book. It’s fantastic, and you can get a good start using this book, but I did not get good at the skills (and, in fact, misunderstood several of them) until I attended the classes that teach these skills.
- Tony Stoltzfus: Coaching Questions: A Coach’s Guide to Powerful Asking Skills – This is the full-of-easy-and-useful-stuff book that David and Allison love.
- Rachel Davies and Liz Sedley, Agile Coaching – A very practical and useful guide for coaching teams. Wonderful for new agile coaches.
- J, Richard Hackman: Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances – While not an agile book per-se, all of the ideas in this one are applicable to coaching agile teams. For example, need help convincing a product owner to create a compelling vision? This book helps you explain why that’s so important.
- Susan Scott: Fierce Conversations – Because you have to have a lot of fierce conversations as an agile coach. Might as well get good at them.
- For Product Owners
- Agile Project Management – Creating Innovative Products, Jim Highsmith – Good overview of Agile approaches to project management. This is more “managerial” than I like, personally, but offers some good ideas for working with customers.
For Product Owners
- User Story Mapping Jeff Patton – one of my all time favorites that describes the whole thought process of building the right product
- The Lean Startup Eric Ries – the next evolution of agile that extends agile iteration to the product and discovery phase.
- Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman – the science behind cognitive biases and how we might temper them
- Innovation Games , Luke Hohmann – A collection of serious games that tap into what customers, vendors, partners, etc really want and will really buy.
For Development Team Members
- Agile Testing, Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory – Fantastic book that covers testing in an agile world
- Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change Kent Beck – One of the first Agile books. Focuses mainly (but not solely) on the engineering practices, and supplies good overall context for creating an Agile organization.
- Clean Code, Robert “Uncle Bob” Martin – the book that defines the software craftsmanship movement
- Continuous Delivery, Jezz Humble and David Farley – shortening the development feedback loop through build, test, and deployment automation.
- Teamwork is an Individual Skill: Getting Your Work Done While Sharing Responsibility, Christopher Avery – This is a must-have book for Agile team members. It contains tests and tools to help you become the kind of team member that creates astonishing results.
- Scrum Development Yahoo Group and Scrum Alliance Google Group – These are the places to ask questions and hear from others who have run into the same kind of problems. Try not to be put off by the volume of emails, you’ll no doubt find ways to filter appropriately over time.
- Extreme Programming – Discussion on Extreme Programming, Agile Methods, software development practices, and related topics. Not just for XP pracitioners.
- Agile Usability – This group is aimed at writers, designers, interaction analysts, etc.
- Agile Testing – For testers, and anyone interested in testing. Again lots of traffic.
- Retrospectives – The retrospectives group, for those interested in hearing what others do.
Getting Your Head into The Agile Leadership Mind-set
- Drive, Dan Pink – today’s workers aren’t motivated by more money, they’re motivated by purpose, autonomy, and mastery
- Turn the Ship Around, David Marquet – the role of a leader is not to create followers, it’s to create more leaders. Marquet was the commander of a naval nuclear submarine and his personal story of leadership is one of the most engaging and concretely applicable books I’ve read, and directly answers the question of how to build autonomy, purpose, and mastery
- Leadership Agility: Five Levels of Mastery for Anticipating and Initiating Change, Bill Joiner and Stephen Josephs – The leaders we need now are not heroes, they are synergists who bring the best out in everyone (including themselves). This book gives you a clear model of the levels of leadership in play now and where we are going with the new breeds of leadership (and why we must).
- Start with Why, Simon Sinek – customers don’t by what you do, they buy why you do it. That goes for employees as well.
- Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders, Jurgen Appelo – What do managers do if they’re not doing command and control management?
- Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World Margaret Wheatley – Great material on why the mechanistic view of the workforce no longer works. What worked for me: start with Chapter 8 then go back to the heavier science at the beginning.
- The Answer to How is Yes, Peter Block – A great book for helping your managers (and you) get past the “how do we do it” and into the “why should we do it.”
- Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age, Tom Peters – This book is as visually stunning as its words are stunning. It should get you re-imagining in no time.
- Presence: An Exploration of Profound Change in People, Organizations and Society Peter Senge and others – This one is a little academic, but if you like that (or can wade through it) the payoff is big. Amazing insights that cause me to say “oh! so that’s why that happens in companies” happened frequently. Now, months later, I find that I reference this book all the time.
Highly Recommended Books from Allied Disciplines
- The Arbinger Institute: Leadership and Self-Deception – Essential reading for any manager, but especially for Agile Coaches.
- Ed Katmull and Amy Wallace: Creativity Inc. – lessons learned on building a workplace where creativity can thrive from the president of Pixar
- Lee Devin & Rob Austin: Artful Making – This is an excellent book that explores how methods used in creative fields such as theatre can be applied to managing knowledge-based projects.
- Steven Johnson: Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software – Why agile teams are more like ecosystems than machines is explained with lots of examples in this book.
- Tom DeMarco: Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency – This book is inspiring and surprising; it is like a whack to the side of the head.
- David Rico: The Business Value of Agile Software Methods – This book gives you all the numbers and formulas you could possibly want on why Agile methods produce more value than other ways of working.
- For when you need some more convincing data, here are Waterfall vs Agile statistics vs industry benchmarks from QSM Associates and Michael Mah- article + webinar video of Michael Mah
Web Sites and Blogs Full of Useful Posts
http://www.apln.org/ – The Agile Project Leadership Network. Check out the Declaration of Interdependence.
Ken Schwaber’s and Jeff Sutherland’s sites. These two are the co-creators of Scrum.
Mike Cohn’s introduction to Scrum. Helpful as a quick overview/reminder of the practices/roles/artifacts.
Tobias Mayer’s site and blogs
Mike Vizdos’ cartoon blog
Michael Spayd’s blog.
Lyssa Adkin’s blog and website.