Category Archives: Startup

Agile and Lean Bookshelf

Some books on lean and agile software development.  The list is still in development.  I’ve read all of these books and will not place books here that I have not read. Some books resonate more than others, but still don’t expect instant recall of all the detail – rather the key ideas and concepts and then drive into the detail if required.

You’ll find some books are relevant to more than one section, so they will be repeated in the sections in which they have relevance.

The Lean and Lean Startup Side

Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, Revised and Updated  The archetype Lean book for the Western Reader from leaders in the field. Real life case studies of people over process.
This is Lean: Resolving the Efficiency Paradox
Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works (Lean Series)
Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business  Start with this for Kanban, let it sink in, read others and then come back to this.
Leading Lean Software Development: Results Are not the Point
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
Kanban in Action  I nice start for those wanting to learn about Kanban, don’t ignore David Anderson’s book though!
The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win  Systems Thinking for IT People.  Be nice to those Brent’s they only work in a system.
Lean from the Trenches: Managing Large-Scale Projects with Kanban
Kanban and Scrum – making the most of both (Enterprise Software Development)
Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life
Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility
Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit
Lean Enterprise: Adopting Continuous Delivery, DevOps, and Lean Startup at Scale

The Agile and Lean Frameworks Side

Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn))
Scrum Shortcuts without Cutting Corners: Agile Tactics, Tools, & Tips (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn))
Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business
Scrumban – Essays on Kanban Systems for Lean Software Development (Modus Cooperandi Lean)
The Scrumban [R]Evolution: Getting the Most Out of Agile, Scrum, and Lean Kanban (Agile Software Development Series)
Real-World Kanban: Do Less, Accomplish More with Lean Thinking
Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products (2nd Edition)
Agile Software Development with Scrum (Series in Agile Software Development)
Kanban in Action
Agile Project Management with Kanban (Developer Best Practices)
Agile Project Management with Scrum (Developer Best Practices)
Lean from the Trenches: Managing Large-Scale Projects with Kanban
Kanban and Scrum – making the most of both (Enterprise Software Development)
Software in 30 Days: How Agile Managers Beat the Odds, Delight Their Customers, And Leave Competitors In the Dust
Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change, 2nd Edition (The XP Series)
Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit
Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum
The Art of Agile Development
Disciplined Agile Delivery: A Practitioner’s Guide to Agile Software Delivery in the Enterprise (IBM Press)
Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise (Agile Software Development Series)
Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises
The Software Project Manager’s Bridge to Agility
Scrum and XP from the Trenches (Enterprise Software Development)
Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability: An Introduction

The Technical Side

Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software
Pair Programming Illuminated
ATDD by Example: A Practical Guide to Acceptance Test-Driven Development (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Beck))
Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams
The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers (Robert C. Martin Series)
Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship
Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction, Second Edition
The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests
Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices
Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture
Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
Refactoring to Patterns
Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Fowler))
Continuous Integration: Improving Software Quality and Reducing Risk
Test Driven Development: By Example
Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture Volume 1: A System of Patterns
Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture Volume 2: Patterns for Concurrent and Networked Objects
Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software
Extreme Programming Applied: Playing to Win
Writing Solid Code (20th Anniversary 2nd Edition)
Enterprise Integration Patterns: Designing, Building, and Deploying Messaging Solutions
Working Effectively with Legacy Code
Dependency Injection in .NET
Effective Unit Testing: A guide for Java developers
The Art of Unit Testing: with Examples in .NET
Pragmatic Unit Testing in C# with NUnit

The Product Ownership and Agile Requirements Side

User Story Mapping
Scrum Product Ownership: Balancing Value from the Inside Out
Working Effectively with Legacy Code
User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development
Agile Estimating and Planning
Agile Product Management with Scrum: Creating Products that Customers Love (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn))
Impact Mapping: Making a Big Impact with Software Products and Projects
Specification by Example: How Successful Teams Deliver the Right Software
Bridging the Communication Gap: Specification by Example and Agile Acceptance Testing
The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development

The Agile Tester Side

Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams
More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team
The Cucumber Book: Behaviour-Driven Development for Testers and Developers (Pragmatic Programmers)
Testing for Continuous Delivery with Visual Studio 2012 (Microsoft patterns & practices)
ATDD by Example: A Practical Guide to Acceptance Test-Driven Development (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Beck))
Lean-Agile Acceptance Test-Driven Development: Better Software Through Collaboration (Net Objectives Lean-Agile Series)
Specification by Example: How Successful Teams Deliver the Right Software
Bridging the Communication Gap: Specification by Example and Agile Acceptance Testing
xUnit Test Patterns: Refactoring Test Code
Explore It!: Reduce Risk and Increase Confidence with Exploratory Testing
Effective Unit Testing: A guide for Java developers
The Art of Unit Testing: with Examples in .NET
Pragmatic Unit Testing in C# with NUnit

The People Side

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World
Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ
Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas
Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders
Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn))
Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (3rd Edition)
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork and the Myth of Total Efficiency
Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn))
Death March (2nd Edition)
Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great
Software for Your Head: Core Protocols for Creating and Maintaining Shared Vision
The Core Protocols: A Guide to Greatness
Professional Software Development: Shorter Schedules, Higher Quality Products, More Successful Projects, Enhanced Careers
Dynamics of Software Development
Debugging the Development Process: Practical Strategies for Staying Focused, Hitting Ship Dates, and Building Solid Teams
The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition (2nd Edition)
Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews
The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully
Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
Liftoff: Launching Agile Teams & Projects
The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World
Principles Of Software Engineering Management
Emotional Intelligence 2.0
How to Win Friends & Influence People
Smart Questions: The Essential Strategy for Successful Managers
Great Boss Dead Boss Recommended by David Anderson in KCP Training. A model of identity.
Lessons in Agile Management: On the Road to Kanban
Thinking, Fast and Slow Science on how parts of the brain work. Involuntary vs Logical parts
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, 3rd Edition: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships (Nonviolent Communication Guides) Judging or helping? Which is more helpful?

 The Organisational Side

Reinventing Organizations
Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World
Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace
The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer
Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results
Why Plans Fail: Why Business Decision Making is More than Just Business (MemeMachine) (Volume 1)

 The Coaching Side

the act of coaching is distinct from the People and Organisational Sides although strongly linked

Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn)) It’s a start but it won’t be enough
Executive Coaching with Backbone and Heart: A Systems Approach to Engaging Leaders with Their Challenges For real meat on the act of coaching. Years of experience here
Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming Lives More meat on the idea that people have the ability to solve/change/improve their lives. Partnership wit a coach
The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever A good start, go to other sources still for more detail
A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas Build that muscle of inquiry first before jumping to a solution
Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used A consultant’s book every coach should have!
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Running Lean by Ash Maurya

Recommend this book Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works (Lean Series). I will review when time allows. Here’s a great video introduction.

Keep along side Lean Startup by Eric Ries


Is my startup idea failing?

A few months ago I created my landing page for my startup idea.  So far not one single notification or download.

Did I publicize it enough?  Is my next pivot to abandon it?

Here’s the direct link to the idea.


Teamzone – a lean startup for community based sporting clubs

After reading Eric Ries momentous book a couple of weeks ago, The Lean Startup, I was inspired to try it out for myself.

More specifically the concept of Minimal Viable Product or MVP.  Now MVP is a well know concept in  Agile Software Development and sometimes goes under different guises like Minimal Marketable Feature  (MMF), or Minimal Useful Feature Set (MUF) and Potentially Shipable Increment (PSI).

Actually to align Ries’s MVP with these is not totally true.   In agile speak MMF, MUF and PSI usually come with a definition of done which implies a sturdy definition of done and therefore utmost quality is delivered.  However for a startup this is not totally necessary, at least not in the early stages when one is seeking feedback.

This stringent definition of done is relaxed in favour of delivering just enough functionality to gain feedback.  That is weighing the economic costs of delivering great quality and maybe too many features with the shoestring budget nature of a startup whereby some quality can be forsaken to gain the feedback from the market.   Eric says in the book, when could in the dilemma of what to put in err on the less than the more.  This also goes to the premise of validated learning through small experiments as opposed to building something over a period of months or years that customers refuse to use.

The trick is then to put information gained into practice quickly.  If it’s a goer then work to start delivering quality but still tempered with the lean mindset.  Early adopters will forgive clunkyness but not for long.  But if the product does not gain favourable feedback then Eric says to pivot to change the product based on the feedback or to quickly abandon it and move onto the next thing – hopefully with a good learning experience to apply later on.  This still leaves one feeling unnerved, that is leaving out features and perhaps the accompanying criticism, but I’m going to have faith in my ability to pivot and in others to provide meaningful feedback.

So with this mindset in place, and still with not a lot of experience with the Lean Startup idea, I’m embarking on a learning experience a Genchi Gembutsu if you will on several levels.   I’ve created a startup for an idea to create a social environment for sporting clubs – to make it fun.  That is the vision to make it FUN – a fun social environment for sporting clubs supported by modem technology.

So with this in mind with the help of Agile and Lean trainers, About Agile, I’ve created a website with just the one application.  It’s an instantiation of the Minimal Viable Product or MVP idea and the first iteration of the Build-Measure-Learn feedback cycle.

So the website in a simple WordPress site with a simple template which took about a day to knock up.

In it there is just one application from last year which is on offer.  This, hopefully, is a fun social application for a sporting club.  It allows a club to collect votes for a Best and Fairest or Most Valuable Player vote count.  With this data a PowerPoint presentation can be created and used with a large TV screen or projector to present the round by round votes.

This application, rough and ready as it is, is just an an Excel spreadsheet which can be submitted to the website. Upon submittal I will process the data and send back the powerpoint presentation.  This program took 3 or 4 days last year to create.  Notice that there is a manual step in there.  I could automate the processing as well, but I want to see first.  If I get many requests then it makes sense to do this.  If I get 5 a year, well the priority for that feature goes down quite a bit or gets dropped completely.

The site is being hosted by About Agile and the link is teamzone.aboutagile.com.   There you will see more information about how the ethos of the project and how to use the materials.

Hoping for feedback.  No feedback is just a good as bad feedback and that’s Ok and we move on.  Positive feedback will supply the encouragement to continue the project and lets the users of the site drive it to where it should go.  I’m hoping for a zoom-out pivot whereby requests for other features will grow the website and a viral model to supply the new customers.  A just-in-time scaling model will apply if successful. Progress will be documented in subsequent blog posts on this site.

I’m also sure there are others like Eric Ries who could critique my approach.  I welcome this and encourage this and accept the unnerving nature of feedback.  I could easily have missed some details.  I’ve read the book once and this is the first practice attempt arising from that.