There are a lot of Scrum books out there – just type “scrum” on Amazon and you’ll be overwhelmed by resources. After three years of Scrum+, turning Agile Coach recently, I created quite a good reading list for myself. I’ll share it here, as I had requests from numerous people.
How I choose the books: I go straight to the source. The “authorities” in Scrum are Scrum.org and scrumalliance.org.
Scrumalliance.org was created by the original Scrum framework designers Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland in 2000. Mike Cohn is also one of the original founders of the website (but does not take the credit for creating Scrum). Scrumalliance comes with their own certifications – the notable difference from scrum.org is the “C” in front (Certified Scrum Trainer, Certified Enterprise Coach, Certified Scrum Professional, Certified Product Owner, Certified Scrum Master):
Scrum.org was created by Schwaber (same as above), in 2009. There was a fallout with his partners and created his own website and certifications. The certifications from scrum.org have a “P” in front (Professional Scrum Master, Professional Scrum Developer, etc.).
I’m not going to go into differences and commonalities between these two – saving that for another post – but I’ll jump into resources and books for understanding Scrum.
If you’re a newbie
Start with this book: Software in 30 Days: How Agile Managers Beat the Odds, Delight Their Customers, and Leave Competitors in the Dust, by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. It’s a very good intro for Scrum and teaches you the basics.
After finishing the book, read the Scrum Guide. This 12 pages document contains all the rules of Scrum.
Now, if you want to be a Scrum Master -> Reading list
*the order is what worked for me, first I learned the mechanics, then I understood the mindset – while practicing Scrum and Agile – then I got beyond Scrum and used other frameworks. It’s essential that you apply into your everyday work what you read, otherwise it’s just concepts that will fly out of your mind.
*on leadership, coaching, etc – this can and should be read at any time. I consider this part of the Scrum Master journey. You can’t be a Scrum Master if you’re not a leader, if you can’t facilitate meetings or your communication skills are not excellent.
- Before anything, try to understand the mechanics of Scrum (the rules of the framework). Then learn why you follow the rules – values & principles::
- The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice for Your First Year, by Mitch Lacey
- Scrum: A Pocket Guide: A Smart Travel Companion, by Gunther Verheyen
- Agile Software Development with Scrum, by Ken Schwaber
- Agile Project Management with Scrum, by Ken Schwaber
- Agile Estimating and Planning, by Mike Cohn
- User Stories Applied for Agile Software Development, by Mike Cohn
- Scrum Mastery: From Good To Great Servant-Leadership, by Geoff Watts
- Product Mastery: From Good to Great Product Ownership, by Geoff Watts, Jeff Sutherland, Roman Pichler
- Agile Software Development, by Alistair Cockburn
- The Enterprise and Scrum (Developer Best Practices), by Ken Schwaber
- Scrum is an Agile framework, so it doesn’t work at its fullest by itself. Introduce yourself to Lean, Kanban, and Extreme Programming.
- Learning Agile: Understanding Scrum, XP, Lean, and Kanban, by Andrew Stellman, Jennifer Greene
- Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit for Software Development Managers (Agile Software Development Series), by Mary Poppendieck, Tom Poppendieck
- Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business, by David J. Anderson
- Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change (The XP Series), by Kent Beck, Cynthia Andres
- Leadership, coaching, team facilitation, team dynamics, communication: these are all major skills for Scrum Masters. You can’t do the job without being an expert in these:
- Retrospectives facilitation:
- Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great, by Esther Derby, Diana Larsen, Ken Schwaber
- Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews, by Norman L. Kerth
- Collaboration Explained: Facilitation Skills for Software Project Leaders, by Jean Tabaka
- Leadership / management:
- Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, by Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister
- Radical Candor: How to Get What You Want by Saying What You mean, by Kim Scott
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain
- The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, by Patrick Lencioni
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel H. Pink
- Only the Paranoid Survive, by Andrew S. Grove
- The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization, by Peter M. Senge
- Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler
- Retrospectives facilitation:
- Now we’re getting into details. In-depth learning about Product Management, Engineering Practices, Testing, User Stories, Design Thinking, etc.
- User stories:
- Writing Effective Use Cases, by Alistair Cockburn
- User Story Mapping: Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product, Jeff Patton
- Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams, by Lisa Crispin, Janet Gregory
- Test Driven Development: By Example, by Kent Beck
- Design thinking / rapid prototyping / MVP:
- Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days, by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, Brad Kowitz
- The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, by Eric Ries
- Product Management (with Scrum):
- Scrum Product Ownership — Balancing Value from the Inside Out, by Robert Galen
- Agile Product Management with Scrum: Creating Products That Customers Love, by Roman Pichler
- The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development, by Donald G. Reinertsen
- Software engineering / craftmanship:
- The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, by Frederick P. Brooks Jr.
- Continuous Integration: Improving Software Quality and Reducing Risk, by Paul Duvall, Steve Matyas, Andrew Glover
- The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master, by Andy Hunt, Dave Thomas
- The Passionate Programmer – Creating a Remarkable Career in Software Development, by Chad Fowler
- Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases Through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation, by Jez Humble, David Farley
- Software by Numbers: Low-Risk, High-Return Development, by Mark Denne
- Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsman by Dave Hoover, Adewale Oshineye
- The Deming Management Method, by Mary Walton
- User stories:
Suggested reading for getting certified: Scrum.org and Scrumalliance.org (not exactly a reading list but conditions for certification). So if you’re looking for a certification, start with the reading suggested here – but best would be to join a class, the learning is much faster.
Here are my goodreads lists for each of the above:
- Agile frameworks
- Product Management
- Software Engineering
- Leadership, management
- Behaviour, culture, communication
Obviously there are more resources out there, and I will update this list as I keep on reading. But I chose here classics and proven authors in their respective fields. Do your own research and find your method of learning (I suggest classes training, learning from peers works best for me).
I’ll come back with a post on recommendation of best Agile podcasts.
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