Books for Persons interested in Agile Approaches

2016 04 01 head

I am often told that it is challenging to use Agile/Scrum approaches for brown field projects or for big projects or for distributed projects or for in other situations.

Interestingly, these people also state that the same problems exist with traditional approaches such as Unified Process [1], Waterfall Model, V Model defined as a formal standard in Germany V-Modell Entwicklungsstandard, and the Swiss variant called HERMES.

Agile approaches are currently the standard for new projects and are thought in technical universities.

Scrum is the main agile method and state of the industry approach for the implementation of software projects.

To open the discussion and bring the discussion back to objective arguments, I often recommend the following books

Big Projects and Distributed Projects

  • Scaling Lean and Agile Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum, Craig Larman and Bas Vodde, Addison-Wesley 2009. This book and the one below are a very extensive presentation about the challenges and trade-offs of big distributed agile projects using LeSS. Don’t expect pre-cocked solutions but a tool set how to lead successfully such projects. Not always an easy reading but worth the effort

  • Practices for Scaling Lean and Agile Development: Large, Multi-side, and Offshore Product Development with Large-Scale Scrum, Craig Larman and Bas Vodde, Addison-Wesley 2010 See above for a review of the book

  • Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams, Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory, Addison-Wesley 2009 The seminal reference book how to blend testing with agile projects. Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory provide insights and a proven track how to guaranty agile quality assurance and agile testing. A must-read book for everyone seriously developing agile projects.

  • Agile Estimating and Planning, Mike Cohn, Prentice-Hall, 2006 The seminal reference to estimating agile projects. The experienced readers will understand why Mike Cohn used the words estimating and planning instead of estimates and plan.

  • The Enterprise and Scrum, Ken Schwaber, Microsoft Press, 2007 The work of one of the Scrum founders how a company can adopt Scrum. You should read the standard works of Scrum to understand the concepts.

  • Agile Project Management with Scrum, Ken Schwaber, Microsoft Press 2003 The work of one of the Scrum founders how Scrum influences product organization and management. You should read the standard works of Scrum to understand the concepts.

Brown-Field Projects

  • Refactoring Improving the Design of Existing Code, Martin Fowler, Addison-Wesley 1999, How to implement continuous improvement on the code level. If you are not refactoring, you are not agile.

  • Working Effectively with Legacy Code, Michael C. Feathers, Prentice-Hall 2005, the Majority of developers work on existing code bases. Based on the above statement, you have to find a way to unit test and refactor legacy code if you want to be agile.

Extreme Programming

  • Test Driven Development by Example, Ken Beck, Addison-Wesley 2003 How can a programmer be sure his code is working before and after refactoring

  • Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship, Robert C. Martin, Prentice Hall 2009 We are professional developers and uncle Bob shows how we should work

  • The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers, Robert C. Martin, Prentice Hall 2011 Uncle Bob defines what a professional developer is. I know quite a few developers shocked by his requirements

Agile and Lean Concepts

  • Lean Software Development, An Agile Toolkit, Mary & Tom Poppendieck, Addison-Wesley 2003 Classical work what lean development means

  • Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash, Mary & Tom Poppendieck, Addison-Wesley 2007 The hand-ons how to implement lean approaches

  • Agile Product Management with Scrum: Creating Products that Customers Love, Roman Pichler, Addison-Wesley 2010 Requirement engineering done the agile way

  • Scrum and XP from the trenches: How we do Scrum, Henrik Knieberg, InfoQ 2007 is a short book how to implement Scrum and XP in projects

Change Management

  • Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas. Mary Lynn Manns & Linda . Addison-Wesley 2005.
    The introduction of Scrum and agile principles means change in the organization and the teams. Linda Rising shows how changes are introduced with success in existing organizations.

Books everybody should have read

  • Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, Tom DeMarco & Timothy Lister, Dorset House 1987 How to grow teams and lead successful projects

  • The Mythical Man-Month 2nd Edition, Frederick P. Brooks, Addison-Wesley 1995 [1]. The first version was published in 1975. The rules postulated by Brooks are still actual. Sad is that a lot of product leaders have no clue of these rules.

  • Becoming a Technical Leader: An organic Problem-Solving Approach, Gerald M. Weingartner, Dorset House 1986 How a gifted technical engineer can become a manager.

  • Slack: Getting past burnout, busywork, and the myth of total efficiency, Tom DeMarco, Broadway Books 2001 In one sentence, the tremendous difference between efficiency and effectivity.

  • The Dilbert Principle, Scott Adams, Harper Collins 1996 An entertainment presentation of all the mistakes companies are doing and still thinking they are smart

  • Death March: The complete Software Developer’s Guide to Surviving "Mission Impossible" Projects, Prentice Hall 1997 In my current coaching activities I still encounter departments where burnouts are common. Either these managers are criminals or so plain stupid that they cannot be held responsible. I am still unsure

I am curious about books you recommend for agile or other approaches. You find a more complete book list under Books.

Drop me an email or leave a comment.

1. The eclipse foundation had a project called OpenUP which was a lightweight version of the Unified Process.