Agile 2011: My Reading List

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One of the things that I love about attending Agile 2011 is the rapid-fire exposure to new ideas.  In particular, I usually get enough book ideas to fill up my reading list for a good part of the next year.  This year, I am certain I will not get to all of these.

Here are the books that I made note of this year. 



From The Keynotes

Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3 to 1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life
Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, University of North Carolina

Discusses the impacts that genuinely positive attitudes can have on you and those around you

97 Things Every Programmer Should Know: Collective Wisdom from the Experts
Kevlin Henney

Very entertaining keynote.  Recommended by a colleague.

Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas
Linda Rising, Mary Lynn Manns

Patterns for driving change in organizations

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Carol Dweck, Stanford University

How your mindset can limit or expand your possibilities. Lots of lessons for me as I raise my kids.

Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development

Carol Dweck, Stanford University

How people see themselves and how this influences and motivates behaviour

From The Sessions

Teamwork Is an Individual Skill: Getting Your Work Done When Sharing Responsibility

Christopher Avery

Should be a good followup to his excellent session.  Building a better team starts with oneself.

Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation
Jez Humble, Thoughtworks

I don’t get much exposure to this because of the nature of our product but I am positive that there are a lot of ideas here that I can still apply

Release It!: Design and Deploy Production-Ready Software
Michael Nygard

Discussion and pointers on releasing software and real world problems that you will encounter. Recommended from a number of sources now.

The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development
Don Reinertsen

Recommended by numerous people as a seminal work. I already have Managing the Design Factory
in the queue.

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
Eric Ries

Lots of hype around Lean Startup and this book, especially from people who know the area.  This is on the top of my pile once it arrives.

The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative
Stephen Denning

Loved The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management and I expect this one to be just as good

Lean Thinking: Second Edition, Revised and Updated
James P Womack, Lean Enterprise Institute

This is referenced a lot, especially in the Poppendieck’s work

The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production
James P Womack, Lean Enterprise Institute

I should have read this one a long time ago

Reorganize for Resilience: Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business
Ranjay Gulati, Harvard Business School

Studies of companies that are able to respond to changing markets and customer needs

The Power Of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion
John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, Lang Davison

Discusses the concept of pulling information through an organization to improve its ability to learn and react

The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business
Umair Haque

Looks like an interesting explanation of why old companies are failing and the transformation to new-economy companies

The Ultimate Question 2.0 (Revised and Expanded Edition): How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World
Fred Reichheld

The concept is so simple that I should read more about the Net Promoter score and see where it can apply in my work

Enchantment: Art of Getting People to Do What You Want
Guy Kawasaki

Influence and persuasion to align others goals with your own.  I like the idea of win-win situations that are not manipulative.

Juice: The Power of Conversation — The Secret to Releasing Your People’s Brilliance and Expanding Your Leadership Influence
Brady G. Wilson

Recommended both by Stephen Denning in his session and a basis for the session by my friends Declan Whelan and Bryan Beecham.

The Responsibility Virus: How Control Freaks, Shrinking Violets-And the Rest Of Us-Can Harness the Power Of True Partnership
Roger Martin, Rotman School of Business

Mentioned by both Christopher Avery and Stephen Denning

The Design of Design: Essays from a Computer Scientist
Frederick P. Brooks, University of North Carolina

One of the first books mentioned in Mary Poppendieck’s talk on Systems Thinking. 

What Customers Want: Using Outcome-Driven Innovation to Create Breakthrough Products and Services
Anthony Ulwick

Studies of numerous companies and products to help unlock ways to determine why customers are really looking for

Specification by Example: How Successful Teams Deliver the Right Software
Gojko Adzic

I really enjoyed Bridging the Communication Gap: Specification by Example and Agile Acceptance Testing and have been meaning to read this one too

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development
Brant Cooper

Highly recommended in the Lean Startup world and apparently a necessary precursor to reading the next book in the list

The Four Steps to the Epiphany
Steve Blank

A seminal work in customer development and building a startup

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Tony Hsieh

How corporate culture lead to success at Zappos.com


From Conversations

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
Patrick M. Lencioni

This series has been recommended by both people at the conference and at work

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box
Arbinger Institute

Leadership is who we are and not what we do. Promises to make me feel a little uncomfortable as it points out the ways that I have justified positions in the past.

Running Lean
Ash Maurya

Another highly recommended, boots-to-the-ground book from the Lean Startup community

Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-based Management
Jeffrey Pfeffer, Stanford University

Evidence-based discussion about common management practices and where they fall down

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