Last year in response to some questions at a CSM course I wrote a post: "Top 8 Agile Books: Beyond the Basics". This past week I was help out at a CSM course when the topic came up again. This time I’ve a much longer list of books.
Top Three – I wouldn’t start an Agile project without these
Agile Software Development: A Cooperative Game (2nd Ed) by Alistair Cockburn – Possibly the most interesting book I’ve ever read about agile software development. It’s not about any one methodology, instead Alistair analyzes game play, individual communication, team cooperation: the elements that are the core of all software development. The book also includes sections on Agile outside of Software, a survey of the various methodologies and much more.
Collaboration Explained by Jean Tabaka – A through explanation of what our role as ScrumMasters, Coaches and Facilitators is. It helps agilists understand (and perhaps manage) team dynamics. It’s also the source for my Planning and Retrospective agendas. See: Good Agenda’s make Great Meetings. My comments are in no way biased by the whiskey Jean bought on the first day of the Agile conference this year.
Agile Estimation and Planning by Mike Cohn – Sprint Planning to Release Planning. Estimating in Story Points vs. Ideal Days. One stop reading for planning. Added bonus the book is very easy to read – only five hours and I’d read most of it.
Other Important Agile Books
"Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great" by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen – some great ideas for taking your Agile Retrospectives to the next level.
"Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas" by Mary Lynn Manns, Linda Rising. Trying to introduce change into your organization (if you’re reading this post that’s a safe bet)? Finding it hard? Look to Fearless Change for some great ideas – there are no silver bullets but this will at least give a fresh source of ideas and a starting point. Remember organizational change won’t happen overnight.
"User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development" by Mike Cohn. Think that "An invitation to a conversation" doesn’t quite describe User Stories in enough detail. Need to move on from the traditional requirements to an Agile approach and don’t know how. This book was written for you.
Other Agile Methodologies
"Lean Software Development" by Mary and Tom Poppendieck – do you want to know how the Toyota Production System can be applied to Software development? Are you fascinated with a process that developed nearly forty years ago continues to help Toyota adapt to change? Need to uncover waste? Start Reading.
"Crystal Clear" by Alistair Cockburn – it seems everybody and their brother has written a methodology book. So why does Alistair’s stand out? Because Alistair is the Agile community’s ethnographer/anthropologist. He studies real live development teams to see what succeeded and perhaps more importantly what failed. Crystal Clear is his distillation of those studies. In addition the Crystal family of methodologies is interesting because Alistair designed them to be adaptable on several axes: project size/budget, criticalness (ie plain old website -> life critical system).
"Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change" by Kent Beck – you heard alot about XP – both good and bad, you’ve heard alot of hyperbole – with people claiming that XP is a license to hack or that it will solve all problems for all projects. Kent actually explains the stuff that matters.
Caveat Emptor – if you buy any of the books after clicking on my link I get 4% of the price. In all likelihood that means I might be able to afford a coffee or two.