From time to time, I go around at conferences and ask people about the books they read the last year, they want to advice others to read.
Although this year I did not go to agile 2019, I thought, I can still make a similar list, yet now remote.
I’m personally extreme happy with this list. I’m happy because this list contains so many books I haven’t read, some I didn’t even know they existed.Also the books that I did read, I agree they should be on this list. What makes me most happy, is all these agile friends that made the time to answer my request. So thank you for everyone that proposed a book.
If you know my previous list, a few things are different, I now asked people why they thought this was a book that other should read. As it was made online, multiple people advised the same book, I added all the names. (+ their reason)
The idea was that people can only submit one book, yet not everyone got that.
Some people submitted books on twitter ect, I did not add those. (It’s impossible for me to keep track of all these proposals, that is why I created the questionnaire in the first place)
||Why read it
|The fearless organization
||Amy C. Edmondson
||This book is a culmination of author’s extensive research on psychological safety, Includes case studies of catastrophic failures in organizations with a fear-ridden pathological cultures as well as inspiring stories about the ones that cultivate psychological safety.
||It shows what hinders and what is needed to create psychological safety in the workplace. A big help for coaches imho
||To really understand what is psychological safety.
||Inge Van den Bussche
|Rethinking Agile: Why Agile Teams Have Nothing to Do with Business Agility
||An excellent executive overview of Agile beyond the development team. Presents many ideas for working with agile at different flight levels.
||Understand, and help others understand, that focusing on successful agile teams will not bring you Business Agility. Focus on the goal, not the method. Learn how to apply simple patterns at different flight levels to successfully move forward. Great read for managers and experienced agile coaches.
|Turn the ship around
||All about bringing authority down tot the people to induce initiatieve and operational excelence
||The book tell a story about the adoption of a different (modern, actual, effective) style of leadership.
The story also reveals a long list of very specific practices that can be applied by a leader (team leader, line manager, sr manager, etc) to shift to a moder leadership style that is compatible with modern ways of working.
||Olav Maassen, Chris Matts, Chris Geary
||What a great book! First of all with the format: a graphic novel. Then it is packed with a lot of interesting concepts that are well explained by conversations between the characters or situations they are experiencing.
Highly recommended! And I think I will re-read it in a few months.
||If you want to learn more about real options. It is a business graphic novel.
||Thierry de Pauw
|From Contempt to Curiosity: Creating the Conditions for Groups to Collaborate Using Clean Language and Systemic Modelling
||As a coach or facilitator, clean language questions help you to let go of your own map of the world and explore fully the others worldview and experiences
||Metaphors and clean language have a natural use case in agile
|Brave New work
||A framework for thinking about how organisations work
||Good summary of modern organizational structure and change incorporating most of the significant approaches and research in this area in a readable book.
||It’ll help show you a possibly org structure where there are truly no managers. The follow on book that just came out July 2019 is The Limitless Organization is similarly themed but not in Novel format with many tips and tricks for getting started.
|The 5 dysfunctions of a team
||It gave me some great insights and a checklist too, although I am not into checklists.
||Excellent practical resource for Product Owners, who might not know what “good” looks like.
|What got you here won’t get you there: How successful people become even more successful
||Either for leaders, or for those coaching them. When people move into leadership positions they may bring traits which have helped in the past but in a new leadership context can actually lead to negative impacts. The book identifies 20+ traits and helps you to identify them in yourself (or those you coach), and learn to deal with things in new ways. First awareness, then prioritisation of what to change. And it’s not you who says if you’ve been successful but those who are impacted by your actions as a leader.
||This is a very good and accessible book about change. It is meant for people who need a powerup to start reading Hans’ excellent other books. Learn Dutch if you must. It’s worth it.
|Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?
||Addressing bad leadership is essential, it’s making people miserable and wasting money.
This is a book that digs into the root causes of bad leaders.
|Thinking in Bets
||Good summary of cognitive challenges with certainty. Well written, pleasure to read.
|The Power Manual. How to master complex power dynamics.
||Understand how power structures & gradients are established and maintained; what it means to build a powerful identity and to refuse a powerless one; how difference gets used and abused; and how to learn to see, understand and shift power dynamics. Only 170 pages, but a manual that is worth every minute you spend on it.
||Rolf F. Katzenberger
|Reaching for the Moon
||Courage is an agile value, and this is an amazing book about people with incredible amounts of courage. As a tester, I especially loved how Katherine Johnson overcame huge obstacles in her job to ask questions so she could do her work better – even though as a woman and as an African-American back in the 1950s, she was expected to “remain in her place” and not ask questions. She asked to go to the secret meetings where the projects were discussed – because it’s impossible to calculate trajectories for space flights when you don’t know anything about the plans! As a woman reading about women like this – I realize that I grew up with no female role models in tech, when these women were actively doing this work as I was growing up! We can still use role models.
|7 Rules for Positive, Productive Change: Micro Shifts, Macro Results
||I’m only halfway through, and have already found it packed with great insights to share with my clients.
||It’s a great guide for ScrumMasters to understand their role
|The courage to be disliked
||Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga
||This book will give you tremendous insight and power if you, like practically everyone, struggle to follow your own path, or are simply hesitant to set boundaries (say no) and potentially displease others.
|Willpower doesn’t work
||Benjamin P. Hardy
||If you think that you have a lot in you but lack the willpower to follow through, this book will set you free. It will show you that in order to change, relying on willpower will only get you going and will fizzle out quickly. What you need is to change – actually design – your environment so new habits become easy. Applies to teams as well of course. Simply telling even getting commitment from a team, is likely to fizzle out unless you design their environment to elicit the desired behavior and changes.
|The Trillion Dollar Coach
||Eagle, Schmidt, Rosenberg
||To help teams and organizations thrive
|Enterprise Agility: Being Agile in a Changing World
||It shows how organisations are Comples Adaptive Systems (CAS) and it introduces in a clear and understandable way relevant CAS theory and its implication for organisations.
This book discusses common misunderstandings, pains, and common frustrations faced during Agile Adoptions and Agile “”Transformations””. It uses CAS an a lens to explain the root cause of those frustrations and pains. And then it uses CAS to suggest tools and interventions to overcome those problems.
|Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies
||It provides a catalogue of examples of how Complex Adaptive Systems works and also try to draw some conclusions about why systems such as cities evolve and last for centuries while companies for often “die”.
|A Practical Approach to Large-Scale Agile Development: How HP Transformed LaserJet FutureSmart Firmware
||Gary Gruver, Mike Young, Pat Fulghum
||“The story is a marvellous example of applying the scientific method to an agile transformation. It is not based on any scaled agile framework. Only on measuring, experimentation, and then see what works and what didn’t work. Did reduce lead time or not.
From the start a lot of emphasise was put on technical practices with the aim to accelerate the feedback cycle and to filter good code from bad code aka continuous integration at scale (450 engineers on 3 continents).
Interestingly, the people at the HP LaserJet firmware division had no prior experience with agile and no connection with the agile community. The only input they had was 4 (or was it 5) books on agility.”
|Thierry de Pauw
|The Art of Gathering
||We often bring people together, and this book is full of ideas to make gatherings better by looking at why we’re gathing, how we’re gathing, and where we’re gathering. This book makes you pause and rethink what we do to improve the outcomes.
|The Art of Focused Conversation
||R Brian Stanfield
||A practical book covers a structured way to having meaningful conversation where everyone can be heard. It’s widely applicable for facilitating meetings and help groups reaching consensus.
|Coaching the Team at Work
||The book covers in great detail, based on research findings, about how team works and how team coaching interventions work. The book also covers in great detail how coaching differs from mentoring, which is widely misunderstood.
|Accelerated learning handbook
||TFTBOTR is not the only way to teach.
|Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for your Technology Business
||David J. Anderson
||What I liked about Kanban is that it allows to improve an existing process as it is instead of rolling out a new agile framework that gets pushed on the team. Change will emerge by visualising work, focussing on quality, reducing work in progress, delivering often and prioritising work.
||Thierry de Pauw
|Tame Your Work Flow
||Steven Tendon / Daniel Doiron
||Applies Goldratt’s TOC to Kanban model with very interesting results
|The Goal: A Business Graphic Novel
||Eliyahu Goldratt and Dean Motter
||“A business graphic novel version of The Goal. It is actually very good.
If you don’t like to read but do want to learn something about Theory of Constraints, I can advise this.”
|Thierry de Pauw
|The Principles of Product Development Flow: Lean Product Development
||If you want to know more about Queueing Theory, this is your book. If you want to improve the fuzzy upstream, this is your book.
||Thierry de Pauw
|The Field Guide to Understanding ‘Human Error’
||Helps us see why – standard tools like 5 whys, fishbone etc are ineffective at solving systemic issues. Not Agile – but entirely germane to the world of Complex systems
|Competing Against Luck
||Clayton M. Christensen
||If you have this question: “How do we find/define/create customer value?” Read this book.
||Naseem Nicholas Taleb
||Of all books I read this year, this one totally blew my mind. The concept, depth of analysis and vivid metaphors (e.g teaching birds to fly on academic world) are priceless. I will definitely go back to re-listen to this book again
|Thanks for the Feedback
||Douglas Stone, Sheila Heen
||Focuses on how to receive feedback, not in how to give, with the hope of generating pull: people asking for feedback. Not a new book, but I read it recently and I liked it.
||Easy way to understand TOC
||Jocko Willink, Leif Babin
||Great insights into leadership practices
|Organization and Decision
||This books gives a system theoretic approach to an understanding of the entangled network of communications that reproduces itself as the form that we call organization. Contrary to the rational imagination of a perfect process or a perfect structure, the book focuses on the functional aspects of an organization, the decision-making premises which limit the flow of all possible possibilities to an organizable level.
||Not only does this book give a good idea what is sociocracy, on top it gives an nice example on how transformations go.