Category Archives: Book reviews

August 03

What you could learn from Scrum 101 by Lowe, Wyllie and Vara (2017, 126 pages)

Scrum 101 is a refreshingly clear, helpful guide to Scrum.  The book starts by explaining the Agile manifesto and principles directly and thankfully will little interpretation.  The book then situates Scrum within Agile by describing it as a framework for achieving the values and goal of Agile (a great description).  The book also outlines the […]

August 02

Leadership hack 027 – as a leader you need to change when the problem changes

We all know there are different types of problems.  Noble prize winners in physics solve different problems to firefighters rescuing people from a burning building.  David Snowdon attempted to categorise problems into four types of simple, complicated, complex and chaotic. Leaders need to adjust their approach based on the problem they face.  The first thing […]

July 27

What you could learn from ‘Agile at Scale’ this months HBR (May/Jun 18)

In brief analysis of the top articles in the most recent Harvard Business Review.

July 26

Leadership hack 023 – setting team norms helps your team perform after the honeymoon has ended

Building great teams is notoriously difficult.  Setting an agreed list of team norms can help teams become more productive faster. Teams take time and investment to become high-performing (see here).   The most challenging phase is what Tuckman called the ‘storming’ phase.  Once the team has formed and after the honeymoon period is over, team members soon get […]

July 23

What you could learn from ‘Beyond Measure’ by Margaret Heffernan (2015, 100 pages)

Creating a culture that allows constructive conflict to flourish will lead to better solutions, more value for customers and more value for your business.  In her book ‘Beyond Measure’ Margaret Hefferman suggest that there are many small changes to improve your company’s culture. Difference makes a difference.  Teams need to include people with differences in […]

July 19

What you could learn from ‘Drive’ By Daniel Pink (2009, 202 pages)

Few books lead to new organisational paradigms.  Daniel’s book ‘Drive’ and his theories on motivation have catapulted Netflix and Spotify to global success. Drive suggest that there is a gap between what research has shown increases motivation, and what business do.  Daniel indicates that the current motivation model (carrot and stick) is no longer suitable […]

July 12

What you could learn from ‘The CEO next door’ by Botelho and Powell (2018, 250 pages)

What makes a successful CEO?  By studying 2600 CEOs, the Botelho and Powell suggest that there are four defining behaviours that separate successful CEOs from the rest.

July 06

What you could learn from ‘Only the paranoid survive’ by Andrew Gove (1997, 184 pages)

What happens when the fundamentals that underpin your industry change?  How do you see change coming?  How do you separate the signal from the noise? How do you lead your organisation through the change?

June 29

What you could learn from ‘Code Complete’ by Steve McConnell (2004, 853 pages)

In an age where Netflix and Spotify are held up as paragons of software development, what can a fourteen-year-old Microsoft book tell you about building software?  Actually, quite a lot. The Agile framework (manifesto and principles) and Agile practices (Scrum, XP) are useful precisely because they are lightweight and easy to remember.  Where should you […]

June 21

What you could learn from ‘Humble Inquiry’ by Edgar Schein (2013, 110 pages)

While asking questions is one of the most powerful tools leaders possess, it is very easy to get wrong, especially under stress. I am very inquisitive.  I love to ask questions, learn, debate and argue to find out more. However, I have received consistent feedback that I can be pretty brutal, and that sometimes people […]

June 15

What you could learn from ‘Scrum A pocket guide’ by Gunther Verheyen (2013, 99 pages)

What you could learn from ‘Scrum A pocket guide’ by Gunther Verheyen (2013, 99 pages)

June 04

What you could learn from ‘Accelerate’ by Forsgren, Humble & Kim (2018, 200 pages)

There is a lot of opinion in the software development industry about what works.  Even though some of the insights are the result of decades of hard-won experience, humans are highly biased and context-dependent – we often think what works in one situation will keep on working, or will work great in an altogether different […]

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