Since 2011, I’ve published a software development-focused reading list. These are books, that in my opinion, should be read by people directly involved in delivering enterprise software, which is my primary perspective. I have refreshed it every few years, and it’s again due for an update. However, I’m doing something different this year, which is to break the list out into some specific recommendations based on a persons skill or role on an agile team. Perhaps you focus your time on writing code – you are going to have a different base of knowledge than someone who is in the role of Product Owner. This isn’t to say that there is not value in reading any book on the list – I do believe there is value in reading about others perspectives – but I wanted to segregate because there are some “must reads” for some roles. Finally, this list really is aimed at those who are trying to learn (or refresh themselves) about agile. If you are an experienced agilist, it’s likely you’ve read a good portion of these books. So without further ado:
Anyone involved with Agile software delivery
Doesn’t matter your role – if you are directly involved in Agile software delivery, these are must reads.
- The Official Scrum Guide
- Succeeding with Agile
- Scrum Shortcuts Without Cutting Corners (if you are already doing Scrum)
These recommendations come highly from a few people directly involved in delivering user experience-focused products using Scrum. They are not mine directly, but I trust the opinion of those who recommended them.
- The Design of Everyday Things
- Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience
- Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
- Talking to Humans: Success starts with understanding your customers
Testers / Analysts
Is your focus on the team about delivering a product but you aren’t writing code? Are you focused on working with your product owner to envision a solution, groom a backlog, do exploratory testing, and release a quality product? These are for you.
Have to worry about your Agile development team shipping software all the time? Get in sync with these two classics.
- Agile Product Management with Scrum
- Principles of Product Development Flow (I will admit that this is not an easy read, but there is key information in here about economic decision making that product owners should understand.)
- Adaptive Leadership: Accelerating Enterprise Agility
- Lean Enterprise
- The Phoenix Project
- Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
Agile Coaches/Scrum Masters
I actually think people in these roles, especially a coaching role, should read every single book on this entire list, so they understand the principles and thinking around all roles.
- Agile Retrospectives
- Coaching Agile Teams
- Agile Estimating and Planning
- User Stories Applied
- User Story Mapping
Here are a few other random recommendations not directly related to agile, but come extremely highly recommended from those whose opinions I trust.
- Team of Teams
- Collaboration Explained
- Training From the Back of the Room!: 65 Ways to Step Aside and Let Them Learn
I’m sure there are many books that are very worthy of being on this list. Our industry is blessed with talented and passionate people who have great ideas to share through the written word.
What are some books you’ve read and would recommend to others? Comment below!