List of Agile and Lean Books for Software Engineers or Students

2017 03 01 head

I am regularly asked by practitioners and technical universities, which books I shall recommend learning more about agile developers, agile projects, and agile companies.

Reading is a great way to learn and to get new ideas.

Below, a selection of books I read and found fascinating.

The selection is certainly not exhaustive.

The criteria are

  • I read the book and learnt something.

  • I have bought this book to have it as a reference. I mean by that a real reference opened at least monthly.

  • The book is available as an ebook. I only read ebooks and save trees.

Software Engineering

  • Scrum and XP From the Trenches: How We Do Scrum, Henrik Kniberg A short and splendid introduction to Scrum and XP, worth looking again and again, Kniberg is also the guy behind the Spotify Way

  • Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship, Robert C. Martin The reference book about clean code and XP practices. You are a programmer, you know this book

  • The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers, Robert C. Martin Are you a coder doing clean code (or are a looser)?

  • Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code, Martin Fowler You cannot be agile and not do refactor, see also XP practices. You shall refactor daily or you are lying to yourself

  • Agile Project Management with Scrum, Ken Schwaber. A seminal work from one of the founders of Scrum

  • Agile Product Management With Scrum: Creating Products That Customers Love, Roman Pichler From the expert for product owner role and activities. Make the shift from project to product.

  • Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams, Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory What does it mean to test and ensure quality in an agile environment?

Agile Management Aspects

  • Agile Management: Leadership in an agile environment, Angel Medinilla: An overview about agile management at company level, you should also read the Leader’s Dilemma and see the Beyond Budgeting Round Table ideas.

  • Leading Lean Software Development: Results Are Not the Point, Mary Poppendieck & Tom Poppendieck: Lean often means to change your point of view to better understand the system.

  • The Lean Mindset: Ask the Right Questions, Mary Poppendieck & Tom Poppendieck: What does lean mean?

  • Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas, Mary Lynn Manns & Linda Rising: When introducing changes, you have to understand change management. You can later read the works of John P. Kotter.

  • Agile Retrospective: Making Good Teams Great, Esther Derby & Diana Larsen & Ken Schwaber. The major place where improvements are identified is during retrospectives, often the less well-managed meeting in a Scrum team.

  • Practices for Scaling Lean and Agile Development, Craig Larman & Bas Vodde A set of practices and ideas how to do big agile projects, the guys behind LeSS

  • Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum, Craig Larman and Bas Vodde A second set of practices and ideas how to do big agile projects, still the guys behind LeSS

  • The Leader’s Dilemma: How to Build an Empowered and Adaptive Organization Without Losing Control, Jeremy Hope & Peter Bunce &Franz Rösli & Franz Röösli The modern reference text for the BBRT initiative

Presentation Techniques

You have to make a beautiful presentation to make a difference!

  • Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, Garr Reynolds Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations

  • Blah, Blah, Blah: What to Do When Words Don’t Work?, Dan Roam


You have to know history, or you will repeat the errors of the past generations.

  • All books of Tom deMarco, e.g., Peopleware, The deadline, Slack, Waltzing with Bears

  • All books of Gerry Weinberg, such as Becoming a Technical Leader, Are your Lights on?, The Psychology of Computer Programming

  • The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition, Frederick P. Brooks Jr [1].

  • Good To Great, Jim Collins

Free Time

  • Vorkosigan Saga, Lois McMaster Bujold

  • Empire of Bones Saga, Terry Mixon

  • The Ender Quintet, Orson Scott Card

  • The Art of War, Sun Tzu

Enjoy reading. Please enjoy life and your family.

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