List of Agile and Lean Books for Software Engineers or Students

List of Agile and Lean Books for Software Engineers or Students

2017 03 01 head


I am regularly asked by practitioners and technical universities which books I shall recommend to learn more about agile developers, agile projects, and agile companies.

Below a selection of books I read and found really interesting. The selection is certainly not exhaustive. The criteria are

  • I read the book and learnt something
  • I have bought the book to have it as reference, I mean a real reference opened at least monthly
  • The book is available as ebook - I only read ebooks and save trees -

Software Engineering

  • Scrum and XP From the Trenches: How We Do Scrum, Henrik Kniberg A short and very good introduction to Scrum and XP, worth to look again and again, Kniberg is also the guy behind the Spotify Way
  • Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship, Robert C. Martin The reference book about clean code and XP practices. You are a programmer, you know this book
  • The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers, Robert C. Martin Are you a coder doing clean code (or are a looser)?
  • Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code, Martin Fowler You cannot be agile and not doing refactoring, see also XP practices, You shall refactor daily or you are lying to yourself
  • Agile Project Management with Scrum, Ken Schwaber A seminal work from one of the founders of Scrum
  • Agile Product Management With Scrum: Creating Products That Customers Love, Roman Pichler From the expert for product owner role and activities, Make the shift from project to product
  • Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams, Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory What does it mean to test and insure quality in an agile environment?

Agile Management Aspects

  • Agile Management: Leadership in an agile environment, Angel Medinilla An overview about agile management at company level, you should also read the "Leader’s Dilemma" and see the BBRT Beyond Budgeting Round Table ideas.
  • Leading Lean Software Development: Results Are Not the Point, Mary Poppendieck & Tom Poppendieck Lean means often to change your point of view to better understand the system
  • The Lean Mindset: Ask the Right Questions, Mary Poppendieck & Tom Poppendieck What does lean means?
  • Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas, Mary Lynn Manns Ph.d. & Linda Rising Ph.d. When introducing changes you have to understand change management. You call later read the works of John P. Kotter
  • Agile Retrospective: Making Good Teams Great, Esther Derby & Diana Larsen & Ken Schwaber The major place where improvements are identified is during retrospectives, often the less well-managed meeting in a Scrum team
  • Practices for Scaling Lean and Agile Development, Craig Larman & Bas Vodde A set of practices and ideas how to do big agile projects, the guys behind LeSS
  • Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum, Craig Larman and Bas Vodde A second set of practices and ideas how to do big agile projects, still the guys behind LeSS
  • The Leader’s Dilemma: How to Build an Empowered and Adaptive Organization Without Losing Control, Jeremy Hope & Peter Bunce &Franz Rösli & Franz Röösli The modern reference text for the BBRT initiative

Presentation Techniques

You have to make beautiful presentation to make a difference!

  • Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, Garr Reynolds Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations
  • Blah, Blah, Blah: What to Do When Words Don’t Work?, Dan Roam


You have to know history or you will repeat the errors of the past generations.

  • All books of Tom deMarco e.g. Peopleware, The deadline, Slack, Waltzing with Bears
  • All books of Gerry Weinberg e.g. Becoming a Technical Leader, Are your Lights on?, The Psychology of Computer Programming
  • The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition, Frederick P. Brooks Jr.
  • Good To Great, Jim Collins

Free Time

  • Vorkosigan Saga, Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Empire of Bones Saga, Terry Mixon
  • The Ender Quintet, Orson Scott Card
  • The Art of War, Sun Tzu

Enjoy the reading. Please enjoy life and your family.

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