Agile Resources

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

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  It is somewhat out-of-date now, as Scrum has progressed since the book was written, but it is still a valuable read.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

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


  • 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

Agile Statistics

Web Sites and Blogs Full of Useful Posts – 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. and

Tobias Mayer’s site and blogs

Mike Vizdos’ cartoon blog

Michael Spayd’s blog.

Lyssa Adkin’s blog and website.

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