Agile Scrum Books We Recommend

Ecclesiastes xii. 12. “Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.”

For people about to take the Certified Scrum Master Course, we recommend reading the following before the course:

Scrum-Guide-US-2017 by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. This is the latest version of the Scrum Guide.  Free, electronic, and short (18 pages).

Agile Project Management with Scrum, by Ken Schwaber.

Scrum and XP from the Trenches by Henrik Kniberg.

Scrum: The art of doing twice the work in half the time, by Jeff Sutherland.

The Power of Scrum by Jeff Sutherland, Rini van Solingen, and Eelco Rustenburg. It is fairly short; from a manager’s viewpoint, and in the form of a novel (novella) or story.


More generally, we recommend the following books:

Agile Project Management with Scrum, by Ken Schwaber.  Largely in the form of stories (patterns), with lessons learned.  The Scrum rules at the end are a nice distillation, and since replaced by the Scrum Guide.

Software in 30 Days by Schwaber and Sutherland.

Agile Software Development with SCRUM, by Ken Schwaber and Mike Beedle.  This book takes a different approach to explaining Scrum, which may appeal to various business styles.

User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development (The Addison-Wesley Signature Series), by Mike Cohn. Great book on using user stories, and other topics related to Scrum and XP.

Agile Estimating and Planning, by Mike Cohn.  Another great book on this subject. Mike adds lots of tips about how to make a project run better.

The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization, Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith. This book does many things, one of which is provide evidence that teams are actually smarter than one individual. Scrum is a team sport, and it important than everyone understand what that means.

The Discipline of Teams, Kazenbach and Smith.

Managing Agile Projects by Sanjiv Augustine.

Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change (2nd Edition), by Kent Beck and Cynthia Andres. This is one of the definitive books on XP.

Test Driven Development: By Example (Addison-Wesley Signature Series) by Kent Beck.

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition (2nd Edition) by Frederick Brooks.  A classic still.

User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development (Addison-Wesley Signature Series) by Mike Cohn.

Succeeding With Agile by Mike Cohn. Mike uses his great experience to propose practical ways to help your firm reach greater success with Scrum.

Extreme Project Management by Doug DeCarlo.

Software by Numbers: Low-Risk, High-Return Development by Mark Denne and Jane Cleland-Huang. Essential for a Product Owner.

The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management by Steve Denning.  Excellent!

Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen. Esther and Diana have great experience. Excellent advice.

Continuous Integration: Improving Software Quality and Reducing Risk (Addison-Wesley Signature Series) by Duvall, Matyas, and Glover.

Working Effectively with Legacy Code (Robert C. Martin Series) by Michael Feathers. Excellent book for an extremely common, and big, problem.

Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products , by Jim Highsmith. Explains Agile more from a project manager’s perspective.

Extreme Programming Installed, by Ron Jeffries, Ann Anderson, and Chet Hendrickson. Ron makes XP work. And a great sense of humor. Practical.

Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews, by Norman Kerth. Lots of good insights about doing retrospectives, which, among other things enable continuous improvement. See his website.

A Sense of Urgency by John Kotter. About change in medium to large firms. Kotter is the expert.

Agile Portfolio Management by Jochen Krebs.

Leading with the Heart, by Mike Krzyzewski. Teams are similar no matter which game they are playing. Coach K is famous as perhaps the best coach in college basketball. Perhaps you can learn to be as good a coach in your field.

Agile and Iterative Development: A Manager’s Guide, by Craig Larman. This book provides a good overview of several of the key strands of agile, including Scrum, XP and others.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni.

More Fearless Change by Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising. Also about changing people and organizations. Maybe more practical than Kotter’s book.

Fit for Developing Software: Framework for Integrated Tests (Robert C. Martin Series) by Mugridge and Cunningham. We gotta get the testing better.  FIT is a great frameowrk for that, although not the only one.

The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation by Nonaka and Takeuchi.

Toyota Production System by Taiichi Ohno. A great book for managers. Sounds like non-aotomobile people would not like it, but it is a great read, very practical. And short.

The Project 50 by Tom Peters.

Drive by Daniel Pink.  About motivation. These basics are well-known. He adds some new data and new examples. Mainly and very importantly, he reminds us. I remember about 7 times a day and forget only about 2 times a day now.

Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit, by Mary and Tom Poppendieck. They explain agile from a lean perspective.

Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash, by Mary and Tom Poppendieck. Their second book.

Software Project Management by Walker Royce. His father, Winston Royce, wrote the definite paper on Waterfall in 1970. While he praises his father, he moves on to an iterative and incremental approach.  Some good ideas, to Unified Process-like and too heavy for my tastes, but many good ideas.

The Enterprise and Scrum, by Ken Schwaber. The focus here is on adoption of Scrum (and Agile more broadly) by the enterprise, and the issues that naturally arise. Includes some discussion of Scrum itself, but that is covered in more depth in the others 2 books.

Collaboration Explained by Jean Tabaka.

Hitotsubashi on Knowledge Management ed. Takeuchi and Nonaka. Wow. Many wonderful ideas here. Practical ideas.

Radical Project Management by Rob Thomsett.

The Power of a Positive No by William Ury. We have to learn to be more honest in our work. Here is one good idea in that direction.

Pair Programming Illuminated by Laurie Williams and Robert Kessler.

Extreme Programming: Pocket Guide by chromatic.

Scrum Product Ownership by Robert Galen

Software by Numbers: Low-Risk, High-Return Development by Mark Denne and Jane Cleland-Huang

Jeff Sutherland’s Recommended Reading