Friday, September 14, 2007

Proposed Reading List

For the CSM Class in NYC on Sept 5-6.
A teacher recently told me this: “To know and not to do is not to know.” And we know from many teachers that we learn best by thinking a bit and then practicing some, and then thinking some more and practicing more.
This is embedded, as one example, in the Deming Cycle.
So, I have already suggested that the best way to learn for you, right now, might be to practice for a while. A short while.
Next, one needs to say that each of us is different. So, if we want our learning to be effective, we need to consider our individual needs and abilities. Some of you think in concepts, some in pictures, some with stories, etc., etc. Some of you understand (or have no interest in) User Stories, for example. Others have pressing needs to understand engineering practices.
Also, now that you have been infected with the Agile virus, you can read almost any book from an Agile viewpoint. War and Peace by Tolstoy is one of my personal favorites. This might be the best way for you.
Now, after all these explanations (and you might say, excuses), here are some suggested readings.  I have these books on my website, with direct links to Amazon, so you might want to go there:
User Stories Applied by Mike Cohn. Great book on how to write and use User Stories. And once you feel you get the ideas yourself, go to his site ( and download some of the presentations on this subject. To use for your discussions with associates.
Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn. Here he discusses planning poker, and lots of other subjects around Release Planning and Iteration Planning. Again, he has very useful presentations on this subject as well.
The New New Product Development Game by Takeuchi and Nonaka. Article. This is where Scrum started. To me, it is essential that we view our selves as creating new products. Passing this one around starts to get light bulbs turning on.
Extreme Programming Explained (2nd Edition) by Kent Beck and Cynthia Andres. Kent Beck, Ron Jeffries and Ward Cunningham are the three guys most responsible for extreme programming. Kent is an excellent writer, and his discussion of values, principles and practices is wonderful. (Be aware that some people prefer the 1st edition (2000), but that is now hard to find.)
The Knowledge-Creating Company by Nonaka. This is a HBR article that summarizes many of the key concepts in the book (of the same name) by Takeuchi and Nonaka.
The Concept of Ba by Nonaka.  This is an article that summarizes some of the key concepts that are discussed in the Hitosubashi on Knowledge Management book, edited by Takeuchi and Nonaka.
Fearless Change by Manns and Rising. This book is about introducing a new idea into any “group” (such as your company). These ladies are actually Agilists, but the book is about introducing any idea (not specifically Agile). The book presents a little theory and lots of patterns on how to influence various people so that Scrum/Agile/Lean will succeed in your group. The majority of these patterns you know, but the reminders, tips and tricks are very valuable. Arguably, this is the most important book for you right now.
The Power of a Positive No by William Ury. Bill co-wrote Getting To Yes. This book, about saying no sometimes, is essential. Almost everyone in Agile that I know is not practicing sustainable work because they can’t say “no” enough. Frankly (although Bill is a friend) the title is a little hokey to me, and the basic idea seems obvious (you have to say “no” before any “yes” can have meaning). Again, in theory there is no difference between theory and practice…in practice, there is. As you read the book, I think you will learn useful ways to say "no" almost as often as you should. Priorities.
Working with Legacy Code by Michael Feathers. This book has lots of ideas about how to deal with legacy systems. Michael is an excellent Agile Coach (a bit more in the XP flavor).
Lean Thinking by Womack and Jones. The first chapter of this book is an excellent introduction to Lean. Some of you will be amused to learn that Ohno, whom many credit with inventing Lean, said that he learned it all from Henry Ford’s book Today and Tomorrow.
Implementing Lean Software Development by Mary and Tom Poppendieck. Excellent source for taking Lean ideas and applying them to software development. This is their second book. Not a bad book for you to read first, in fact.
Godspeed on your journey.

No comments: