Looking for the best agile Christmas reading list – look no further! Soon it will be time when your sprint review might include a festive minced pie and perhaps a secret Santa gift giving session. Don’t go to Boots and get that Lynx gift set! Instead, why not get your colleague something useful? We suggest one from the selection of books that the Agility in Mind coaches have been reading over the last few months.
Agile Christmas reading list: Book 1
One Mission: How Leaders Build A Team Of Teams by Chris Fussell and Charles Goodyear. Building on from the “Team of teams” recommendation from our spring reading list, One Mission picks up where the previous book left off. This is a much more practical book aimed at how to implement the ideas in the first. As organisations look to implement agile techniques beyond just a single team, and coordinating over scale becomes a challenge where traditional hierarchical models fall short, this is the perfect hand book for creating an adaptable organisation.
Agile Christmas reading list: Book 2
Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. While this is a fairly old book about the pharmaceutical industry it has relevance for scrum teams through its exploration of the scientific process which is based on empiricism. It also explores how facts and data can be manipulated to present an organisation’s own agenda. Ensuring teams avoid confirmation bias and watch out for the traps explored in this book will help more effective sprint reviews.
Agile Christmas reading list: Book 3
How To Have A Good Day: The essential toolkit for a productive day at work and beyond by Caroline Webb. This is a real gem of a book. Given we spend so long at work it’s important we get the most out of it. This is the perfect gift for that team member who feels a little rudderless. What separates this from most self-help books is the blend of science examples and practical techniques that can be applied daily. The first chapter aligns perfectly for agile teams with a focus on priorities, identifying the most important thing for the day and getting it done. Then follows with a section on productivity which could easily have been called limit work In progress.
Agile Christmas reading list: Book 4
The Science of Successful Organizational Change: How Leaders Set Strategy, Change Behavior, and Create an Agile Culture by Paul Gibbons. Implementing or transitioning to agile is not just a process (framework) change but also requires a cultural shift. Paul Gibbons offers the first blueprint for change that fully reflects the newest advances in mindfulness, behavioural economics, the psychology of risk-taking, neuroscience, mindfulness, and complexity theory.
Agile Christmas reading list: Book 5
The Talent Code: Greatness isn’t born. It’s grown by Daniel Coyle. Several years ago, the 10,000-hour rule burst into our collective consciousness with stories of the Beatles strumming away for said amount of hours and therefore achieving true greatness. Since then, studies have moved on considerably. This book looks at how genius is created from exploring the concept of deliberate practice through to understanding why there are so many great female Russian tennis players or why Korea is a hot bed for the women’s professional golf association (WPGA).
Agile Christmas reading list: Book 6
Diffusion of Innovations, 5th Edition by Everett M. Rogers. At the risk of exposing our agile coaches ages, have you ever wondered why VHS overcame Betamax when the latter was clearly a better technology. Or why Scrum is now the most popular agile framework. This book explores what it takes for a great idea to spread and why some great ideas never take-off.
Agile Christmas reading list: Book 7
The Passionate Programmer: Creating a Remarkable Career in Software Development (Pragmatic Life) by Chad Fowler. This book was originally published under the snappy but non-PC tile “My job went to India” way back in 2005, when job migration was a major concern for US and UK programmers. This book isn’t about job migration, but focuses on developing mastery as a programmer and how you get recognition for that mastery. Ask yourself – does recognition matter? The author definitely has an opinion on that
“What sound does a falling tree make if there is no one to hear it? – Who cares!”
While ideas such as CodeKata are specific to technical people there are ample suggestions that could equally apply to non-technical people too.