Best Agile Books: Our Top 5 Choices

February 20th, 2012 Leave a comment
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Best Agile BooksAgile Samurai Software Pragmatic ProgrammersKanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology BusinessThe Elements Of ScrumSucceeding with Agile: Software Development Using ScrumThe Concise Executive Guide to AgileDefault

Agile is a great software development paradigm, and many people are looking to implement it in their workplace: unfortunately, it can be hard to make heads or tails of the whole process, and it can be tough to separate the good advice from the bad, making a seemingly simple process come off as a headache! Take a look at these Agile books that we’ve compiled here: they’re well-written and will hopefully help you out in implementing or understanding Agile!

The Agile Samurai: How Agile Masters Deliver Great Software

The Agile Samurai: How Agile Masters Deliver Great SoftwareJonathan Rasmusson

Besides having a great title, this book is also a great introduction to Agile: what it is, how to use it, and how it can help you in your quest to have a better software development process. Rasmusson’s writing style is very accessible and fun to read; it’s not bogged down by being incredibly dense and stultifying, like some other introduction to Agile books. Despite this irreverence, it’s very helpful: it’s a fun but insightful look into the world of Agile development that will help anyone just getting into the process.

That said, this isn’t really a book for people already well-versed in Agile development: it’s meant for a newer audience, and Agile masters may find the pace of the book too slow for them. The content is really geared for newer Agile devotees, and the content here simply isn’t advanced enough to hold the attention of experienced Agile managers. That said, however, the book is a great tool for anyone new to Agile and definitely deserves a spot on your tech shelf!

Amazon: The Agile Samurai: How Agile Masters Deliver Great Software

Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business

Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology BusinessDavid J Anderson

David Anderson’s book is unique in many ways, and not least because it’s a great and surprisingly refreshing view on the application of Kanban to the software development cycle. Anderson’s ideas are lean and mean, geared towards creating an equally lean and mean software development process; it’s a book that pulls no punches, and has a great deal of case studies, examples, and advice for implementing Kanban in your own development environment.

We have in fact covered Kanban on the site before, in greater detail, and you can read our writeup of it here: Kanban Book Review. To sum up the review, however: Kanban is a great book, and it’s equally handy to both newcomers to the Agile process and experienced managers and engineers: it definitely deserves a spot on anybody’s tech shelf!

Amazon: Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business

The Elements Of Scrum

The Elements Of ScrumChris Sims & Hillary Louise Johnson

The Elements Of Scrum is a great book that really gets to the heart of what Agile is about, and doesn’t befuddle or confuse the reader with dense text and unapproachable prose. It’s light, elegant, and conveys its message in a crystal clear fashion: the prose is direct and refreshingly illustrative, with well-chosen examples, advice, and perspective on what Scrum really is and how you can incorporate it into your development environment; it gives the reader a new look on Scrum and its application.

Incredibly, the book does a very good job at making itself relevant for both newcomers to Agile and those already experienced in the field; it offers a surprising number of insights that may not have occurred to someone practicing Agile, but it never gets too far ahead of itself; anyone new to Agile can easily follow the book without ever being led astray. Any readers who pick this one up will walk away with a very strong grasp of solid Scrum fundamentals, and this is definitely one book that deserves a spot on your tech shelf!

Amazon: The Elements Of Scrum

Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum

Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using ScrumMike Cohn

This book is a book that pulls no punches and takes no prisoners: not only does this book bring a great deal of advice and examples to the table regarding Agile and Scrum, it brings a utility to any sort of software development process or project that you would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Cohn understands that changing methods and processes isn’t easy, and the book is chock-full of examples and case studies that illustrate how best to incorporate Scrum and Agile into the workplace without stirring up a whole bunch of angry developers.

If there can be any criticism of the book, it’s that Cohn doesn’t delve too much into the fundamentals: the beginner might have a difficult time finding entry into the book, and may be better off looking elsewhere to learn about the core fundamentals of the process. The rest of the book is exquisitely crafted, however; Cohn’s ideas and advice are impeccable, and the book most certainly deserves a spot on your tech shelf!

Amazon: Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum

The Concise Executive Guide to Agile

The Concise Executive Guide to AgileIsrael Gat

The Concise Executive Guide to Agile stays true to its namesake: it’s a sleek, informative volume for anyone who doesn’t have the time to truly delve into the nitty-gritty of Agile. More importantly, it fills a niche that some of the other instruction books seem to gloss over or otherwise not cover: how a manager can effectively fit Agile development and processes into their current workflow, and what that means precisely for their organization and department as a whole; the examples and guidelines are management-oriented and work well in that regard.

The shortcomings in a book like this are, predictably, its lack of focus on the fundamentals and core concepts related to Agile: those are not, however, the point of this book. The book is a lean one, designed to quickly catapult the executive reader into the world of Agile with practical examples and case studies, and in that regard it does its job extremely well: it’s a solid read and definitely worth a spot on your tech shelf!

Amazon: The Concise Executive Guide to Agile

And there you have it- our top 5 books on Agile! The world of Agile can sometimes be quite a minefield, and the choice of books on the subject even more so: we hope this list helps narrow the field for you and broadens your knowledge of Agile, its related disciplines, and how you can implement it more effectively in your workplace!

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