Books and Media

Agile books I treasure – Part 1

I read on the web and listen to a lot of books on Agile thinking. Only some of these books are really worth noting and remembering. Even fewer are ones that I have purchased in multiple formats to help me refer back to them often. I would like to list (one or two at a time) them and what I have gleaned most from each so that I can come back to these posts and identify the subject and find the book I need.

As an active Agile coach and practitioner, one of the most asked questions and often stumbled upon concepts for new teams is how to create stories out of ideas. I have taken classes specifically aimed at story writing. I have gone so far as to exercise story writing about everyday activities that I perform. This is an interesting exercise and really gets the brain muscles memory lined up for the challenges in real life. I got this idea from Jeff Patton’s User Story Mapping. I quite like this book. There are a lot of concepts throughout the book and they can get overwhelming if you are trying to power through it. There is also a lot of sage advice, some interesting exercises to try and new ways to approach product delivery that is not limited by Agile. There are also lots of pictures and goofy images of his friends working on various activities. I see Jeff trying to provide multiple ways of creating a prioritized backlog for teams to make successful use of their time and resources. He offers up at least three different approaches to take and I strongly believe that this book would be great for developers, coaches, Product Owners and general Agilists. I try to get all members of new teams to read this book. I do recommend some initial Agile training and practice before approaching this book so that ideas and techniques can be sparked from previous experiences overlayed with the book’s recommendations.

What I find to be interesting is that many new teams are not very interested in how to explore their new environment to find the right way of doing things. Instead, they want to be given a simple formula they can follow to achieve success in being Agile. Alarm bells start going off when I feel that teams are not feeling empowered enough to make their own choices and try new ways of doing things. To give my teams the ability to learn about a bunch of new ways to approach critical Agile ceremonies and find their own combination that makes them comfortable in their work environments’ needs is my tried and true path to success. If I can get people thinking, I am doing my job.

If there are any books that you would like to see me read and do a quick review of, please let me know.

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