Top 3 Agile Team Books and the number one book on Quality

I often see list of the top Agile books for user stories, estimating, testing, and various aspects of planning, but I rarely see a list of good books on various aspects of Agile team building or what I term Agile Project Management. I have found three recent books that have been very inspiring and educational on different aspects of team building and leading that I have found transfer very well to Agile Software Development. I thought I would share the list here as I am asked about what sources I’ve used on my teams and projects.

Here are the books in the order I ‘found’ them. 🙂 (the links will take you to the book on Amazon)

1. Corps Business – The 30 Management principles of the U.S. Marines

I really didn’t know what to expect out of this book. I am lucky enough to work with a former Navigator of the Canadian Air Force Hercules and I have always been impressed with his leadership and management style. So I was curious to what I could learn from the book. Once I started, it was an easy read with 30 management principles. Some of the principles like ‘manage by end state’ aligned perfectly with how I like to lead and the Agile Software Development principles. Highly recommended.

2. Leading Geeks – How to Manage and Lead the People Who Deliver Technology

The title of this book certainly caught my interest and it was a very good book on how to read technical people and read them. It wasn’t a book for much about management as it was a book about how to lead technical people and form technical teams. Great book with many ideas that your can apply immediately to your teams. Very practical and rewarding.

3. Clever – Leading your smartest, most creative people

This book was a bit of a different read and started slowly. What kept me reading were the multiple examples and case studies of clever teams and leaders. Those examples were fascinating enough to want to continue to read. Then came the jackpot. More than halfway into the book the author described the multiple types of Clever teams and the tendencies of each type of team. I saw so many similarities in the teams I knew. The author then clearly described the challenges or problems that can exist in each type of team. This analysis of the characteristics of clever teams combined with a multitude of case studies provided me with a wealth of ideas for my teams.
Everyone that is interested in Agile that is concerned and interested about Quality (and I’m sure everyone is) needs to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The book is difficult to describe but it is a book that stands on its own as a story. What makes it a must read are the additional aspects of the book that define the philosophy of the Metaphysics of Quality. The dialogue on the philosophical topics like ‘what is Quality?’ are compelling, fascinating, and thought-provoking. Once you read Zen, you will never look at Quality the same.
“And what is good, Phaedrus,
and what is not good,
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?”

Author: Terry Bunio

Terry Bunio is passionate about his work as the Manager of the Project Management Office at the University of Manitoba. Terry oversees the governance on Information Technology projects to make sure the most important projects are being worked on in a consistent and effective way. Terry also provides leadership on the customized Project Methodology that is followed. The Project Methodology is a equal mix of Prince2, Agile, Traditional, and Business Value. Terry strives to bring Brutal Visibility, Eliminating Information islands, Right Sizing Documentation, Promoting Collaboration and Role-Based Non-Consensus, and short Feedback Loops to Minimize Inventory to the Agile Project Management Office. As a fan of pragmatic Agile, Terry always tries to determine if we can deliver value as soon as possible through iterations. As a practical Project Manager, Terry is known to challenge assumptions and strive to strike the balance between the theoretical and real world approaches for both Traditional and Agile approaches. Terry is a fan of AWE (Agile With Estimates), the Green Bay Packers, Winnipeg Jets, and asking why?

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