Join me as we go through my bookcase and have a look at what I consider to be the gems. So yes, as you may see in the picture below, the list is rather long and may actually end up being a year’s worth of reading. Do forgive me. Nonetheless I hope you will find the list inspirational and may even end up picking up a copy or two yourself here and there. Books listed are in English unless otherwise noted. I guess the best way to go through them is by using the picture as our guide. From top to bottom. Let us dive in!
Continuous Delivery by Jez Humble and David Farley. This book is a foundational wealth of knowledge with regards to software development. A must read for anyone involved with software developers. Provides core concepts around the devops principle.
IT Architect Series
IT Architect Series: Foundation in the Art of Infrastructure Design by John Yani Arrajid, Mark Gabryjelski and Chris McCain. The authors may sound like they are characters taken from a movie named Die Hard with Nerds. Yet they have written the #1 best selling book on Vmworld for years in a row. It is most likely where I picked up my copy from as well. This book is the first part in a series, and while dated, a very good foundational information source. I would recommend getting the e-pub version as the diagrams in print are very hard to read.
The new one-page project manager
The new one-page project manager by Clask A. Campbell and Mick Campbell. In the words of the authors themselves; The one-page project manager paints a highly visual, interlocking picture of a project. It displays, relates, and links various projects components. Making immediately clear to stakeholders the plan and then the performance to that plan. It can be a powerful communication tool for any Agile project organization.
The Manager’s Path
The manager’s path by Camille Fournier. Camille shares his experiences and lessons learned whilst having climbed the ladder. From technical engineer at a startup to growing into the role of CTO with that then maturing company. I personally loved this title. Sure it has it’s open door moments. But there is enough to make you think, re-evaluate, learn and maybe even grow.
Mind tools for managers
Mind tools for managers by James Manktelow and Julian Birkinshaw. I distinctively remember buying this one. The CIO playbook was visible underneath a whole stack of these. I had no interest in what sounded like a yoga manual to me. Fiddling around with the stack I dropped one to the ground and picked up the open book. I was drawn in immediately, this book is basically a list of 100 tools and techniques. Each potentially useful in your day to day role as a manager. Don’t expect deep guidance, instead quick one to two page introductions are key. It provides the essence, enough to trigger you to dig deeper if you find the tool potentially useful.
Design Thinking by Teun den Dekker. Contrary to the English title, this is written in Dutch. An exercise based approach on learning Design Thinking. Or as the author says; this book is not for reading it’s for doing. A very helpful title for product development or service innovation. Offers a wide variety of tools and methods. As well as real world examples such as how Van Moof reinvented their packaging to reduce in transport and handling damage by 80%.
Product roadmaps relaunched
Product roadmaps relaunched written by none the less four authors is already running in it’s sixth release. It might actually be the title on product roadmaps in the lean and agile era. In the words of the authors, roadmapping isn’t something you do everyday. Like good cuisine , it’s seasonal. The book is very much designed as a reference to assist when that season hits. It’s odd size works very nicely when laying on your desk, less so when reading from a seat.
The Personal MBA
The personal MBA by Josh Kaufman. This is a title I picked up on the airport on the way to a holiday. I have to admit I never completely got through it, the holiday caught up. This is a 420 page pocket in ultra fine print. It introduces concepts and instantly moves on to the next concept. Expect to find conceptual understanding but real depth. This title provides the theoretical support for running a business. Concepts have a link to the books website where an integral copy of the text lives see https://personalmba.com/monoidealism/ for an example. All chapters can be read on the books website check it out before buying.
The CIO playbook
The CIO playbook by Micholas R. Colisto. Is most certainly a quote heavy book. The writer likes to add in real world examples based on the experiences as quoted by industry peers. Which makes it slow and hard to read at times. There is value though. Especially the partnering chapter is strong. You’ll find plenty of material you most likely already knew. But it does a good summary of how to approach things. Well worthy the read when you find yourself in the boardroom and feeling the odd techy out. Comes with website, it says proudly on the cover. In reality it comes with a handful of templates you can download and use.
Goal Boss by Will Pemble. Teamwork, hard work, communication, delegation, and time management are the five pinnacles of the Goals Boss system. I received this copy from the author himself after a workshop on Cloudfest. This book is an introduction to that coaching system. Founder and former CEO of Web.com, swamped by his workload Will hired a management coach. When one of his line managers being coached by the management coach started self coaching his staff the method took off. Personally the chapter on meetings stuck with me. If a meeting has no agenda, it’s just a get together. Fairly easy to read book. Which even when not using the system has some good pillow stuff going on.
3458 – Strategie maken en organisatie kraken
3458 – Strategiemaken en organisatiekraken by Camilla van den Boom. Written and published in Dutch. As far as I’m aware there is no English translation available as of yet. The author has been a renowned management consultant and is currently running her own strategic business advice agency named Sturm. Traditional business administration is combined with innovation based techniques, design thinking and scrum methodology. Focused on practice over theory.
The professional product owner
The professional product owner by Don McReal and Ralph Jocham. Goes into the ins and outs of being a scrum based product owner. Part of the scrum series by scrum.org. The defacto Product Owner scrum book available.
The Scrum Field Guide
The Scrum Field Guide by Jim Highsmith and Jeff Sutherland and the Scrum pocket guide by Gunther Verheyen. Two nice reference titles helping you getting started with scrum. And continue to act as companions throughout the first year or so. The pocket guide truly is pocket sized which you’ll find yourself carrying around in your laptop backpack. Another title in the scrum stack is Toolkit voor Agile Leiders by Peter Koning in Dutch. Offering tools to get through the first year of practicing scrum.
The Phoenix Project
The Phoenix Project and it’s successor The Unicorn Project by Gene Kim. An IT novel which uses the story to deliver a message. The author managed to get DevOps on the radar with management due to this title. The future will tell if the follow-up will have the same impact. But the impact of the original is undeniable. Don’t expect Gene Kim to blow James Patterson or Tad Williams out of the water. It does offer an entertaining way to drive home a point though.
Getting Things Done
Getting Things Done by David Allen. Describes a work organization, productivity and qualification methodology. Collect your stuff. Qualify it. Ask yourself is it actionable? Can it be done within 2 minutes, do it now, else it qualifies as a project. Is it not actionable right now but maybe later, is it reference material, store it. Else delete. Ready to do something else? Pick the first item out of one of your project lists. Reorganize weekly. Organize in action related categories, such as calls to make. That about sums it up.
And that’s a wrap for this list, thank you for reading, hope you enjoyed!