10 books to read to help you being agile in business.
There are lots more, but these are the 10 that came to mind when I was asked what books have helped me to develop my agile mindset, particularly in a non-technical sense. They are in no particular order other than in which they came into my mind. My minimum viable list if you like, and one I hope helps you to develop your own agile mindset.
I have also added a list of some of my favourite agile people, authors and speakers that I have found to be kindred spirits for being agile beyond the core methods, in life, business and technology here.
A non-technical introduction to the agile mindset and methods, with exercises, tools, stories and guides.
Being Agile in Business: Discover faster, smarter, leaner ways to work
Work faster, think clearer and improve your agility, both professionally and personally, with a suite of powerful tools that will introduce you to the essential skills and mindsets of agile and lean and quickly encourage you to start thinking differently.
A brilliant insight into taking an adaptive and responsive approach within a start up from a business and product development perspective. Eric describes the iterative agile cycle of Build – Measure – Learn and the concept of Minimum Viable Product brilliantly with great examples and stories.
by Eric Ries (Author)
The Lean Startup is a new approach to business that’s being adopted around the world. It is changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.
Essential reading for any ambitious entrepreneur, The Lean Startup will teach you to identify what your customers really want. You’ll learn how to test your vision continuously, adapting and adjusting before it’s too late.
Someone brought me this book as a gift, and it’s brilliant. The essence of this book shows us that doing something for the first time is inherently different to when we do it again for the second, third, fourth, time and how that impacts on how we should approach new and novel things.
The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them. It’s easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. Every new creation goes from 0 to 1. This book is about how to get there.
Another great book on business start ups and building products in a lean and agile way. I like Ash’s Lean Canvas to help start ups map out their models.
by Ash Maurya (Author)
We’re building more products today than ever before, but most of them fail–not because we can’t complete what we want to build but because we waste time, money, and effort building the wrong product. What we need is a systematic process for quickly vetting product ideas and raising our odds of success. That’s the promise of Running Lean. In this inspiring book, Ash Maurya takes you through an exacting strategy for achieving product/market fit for your fledgling venture. You’ll learn ideas and concepts from several innovative methodologies, including the Lean Startup, business model design, design thinking, and Jobs-to-be-Done. This new edition introduces the continuous innovation framework and follows one entrepreneur’s journey from initial vision to a business model that works. Deconstruct your idea using a one-page Lean Canvas Stress-test your idea for desirability, viability, and feasibility Define key milestones charted on a traction roadmap Maximize your team’s efforts for speed, learning, and focus Prioritize the right actions at the right time Learn how to conduct effective customer interviews Engage your customers throughout the development cycle Continually test your product with smaller, faster iterations Find a repeatable and scalable business model
Lots of people and businesses I work with are stuck getting started and making things happen. While not particularly a business book, or an agile book, this book really helps us to understand our natural instincts of fear and how they impact on our lives. I love the sentiment of ‘I am in the process of..’ and how we can reframe our fear of change and uncertainty in a positive way.
by Susan Jeffers PhD and Hay House
Again, not an agile or a business book but one I feel is so useful for developing an agile mindset. The Road Less Travelled, rather like the Road Not Taken poem centres on helping us to understand the reality of life and its complexity. It helped me to acknowledge that ‘life is difficult’ and with that knowledge ensure I apply a mindset and method that works with that fact, rather than against it.
The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost – 1874-1963
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
A great story of bottlenecks, impediments and generating flow.
by Eliyahu M. Goldratt (Author)
“The story of Alex’s fight to save his plant contains a serious message for all managers in industry and explains the ideas which underline the Theory of Constraints (TOC) developed by Eli Goldratt. Written in a fast-paced thriller style, The Goal is the gripping novel which is transforming management thinking throughout the Western world.”
A great book for mapping out the ins and outs of your business model, and the value you create in between.
I love the Business Model Canvas and the Value Proposition Canvas especially when working with start ups and businesses looking to expand their products or markets.
This book explains the lifecycle of business, product and market development beautifully. In order to build great products and grow a business we need to understand the lifecycles of development and adoption, this book explains this brilliantly.
by Geoffrey A Moore (Author)
Something I think we need a lot more of in business, and particularly in the tech sector. Being agile works hand in hand with being a decent human being. Agile for me is not about profit and winning, but about purpose and collaboration. It’s about creating an environment of growth, productivity and most importantly well-being for the benefit of all.
This is the first version of this list, there are more, I am very happy to iterate and improve.
What are your favourite Agile Mindset books, let me know!
Agile Mindset Book List – MVP V1 30/12/2022