Being Agile Books to Read and People to Follow

Building on my top 10 Agile Mindset books, I wanted to share more people who I think are brilliant at being agile in their specialist areas.

There are many brilliant people who have synergy with the essence of being being agile in business, the way we work, technically, and personally in life. Here are more speakers, authors and people I very much recommend looking up along your agile journey if they strike a chord!

In no particular order, or format, this is most definitely a work in progress as my mind recalls all the brilliant books and kindred spirits I have met on my agile adventures!

Allan Kelly, of course! Allan introduced me to agile software development, and he has produced a number of great books exploring agile within tech and beyond, definitely look up his latest book on OKRs. One of Allan’s talents is taking business concepts and translating them in a way tech teams understand.

Steve Parry – I had the pleasure to meet Steve in Venice at Agile Business Day, his keynote was brilliant we spent a few hours chatting about agile along the streets of Venice.

Escaping the build trap – Mind the Gap – Melissa Perri – For insights into brilliant Product Development and Management. I have had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Melissa a few times during her visits to Cornwall for Agile on the Beach.

Jenny Jepson – I absolutely loved her keynote at Agile on the Beach, look it up on YouTube

Jon Smart – Sooner Safer Happier – Again my recommendation to read Jon’s book comes from seeing him speak at conferences and in depth conversations on the topic of being agile, another kindred spirit, and a book full of his insights into applying agile beyond software development.

Lean Enterprise – This book came out at the same time as Being Agile in Business, for me it is the enterprise version of my book, there are some great synergies and stories of application of agile in enterprise. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Barry O’Reilly co-author a number of times and always had great conversations.

Dysfunctional Teams – Patrick Lencioni – This is a great book to understand more about Patricks pyramid model for dysfunctional teams. The 5 layers of the pyramid help us to understand what makes a team dysfunctional, a lack of trust, a lack of feeling safe to fail, or safe to challenge, a lack of direction and purpose, and a lack of accountability and responsibility. It defines a command and control type leadership, and a team operating in learned helplessness mode.

For understanding the Agile principles, especially within technology development – Lynda & Simon Girvan – Agile from first principles

Scrum This! Kate Papilo. A new book out 2022, it’s a great book of the adoption of agile in tech teams that made me laugh out loud. She also touches on her adoption of agile within voluntary work which is great. I chatted to Kate about being agile and scrum this you can watch it on youtube

Pia Maria Thoren – Agile People – I’ve seen Pia Maria speak a number of times and she really conveys the importance and value of people when it comes to being agile.

Fearless Change – Linda Rising. I had the pleasure of seeing Linda keynote at Agile on the Beach and chat with her there, brilliant.

Johanna Rothman – I have had the pleasure of meeting Johanna and speaking with her, and I highly recommend reading her books based on that!

Diana Larson – I have had the pleasure of meeting Diana and speaking with her, and I highly recommend reading her books based on those brilliant conversations!

Continuous Delivery – Dave Farley. Co-author, Dave conveys the concept and logic of Continuous Delivery within software development in this book brilliantly. It has a technical vibe but there are great takeaways for the concepts to be applied more broadly too. His YouTube is cool too.

While I’m on technical, not books but people I highly recommend looking up on these topics!

Behaviour Driven Development – Seb Rose, Dan North

Test Driven Development – Jon Jagger, Kevlin Henney

Java – Ben Evans

Software Architecture – Simon Brown

Microservices – James Lewis

Mary Poppendieck – Lean Software development

Woody Zuill – Mob Programming

Rachel Davies – User Stories

Portia Tung – Agile Play

Communities of Practice – Emily Webber – I love Emily’s thinking on Communities of Practice and Interest, how we can work together to create sustainable communities of interest, and the challenges of making them self-sustaining.

The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth Hardcover – Illustrated, 28 Dec. 2018 by Amy C. Edmondson  (Author)

Julie Stars Coaching Manual – If you want to understand business and personal coaching, in a pure sense, this is a great introduction and overview. Not Agile Coaching but more traditional coaching models and practices. Powerful Questions, Active Listening, great techniques for helping others to take ownership and find their own way forward.

Jonathan Passmore is also a great author on Coaching and I enjoyed referencing his book when I was studying for my ILM Coaching and Mentoring qualification.

Will Cairley for professional confidence coaching, presenting and pitching.

There is a great Miro Board capturing many of the best books and resources for agile development here

There is a great list of Agile books by female authors here


Agile Mindset Books – 10 books for developing an agile mindset

What is agile