Agile Reading for Executives

A recent email I sent, slightly edited.

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Dear Mike and Mark,

You asked for something to give the executives and managers. I might send them “The New New Product Development Game” article (see below), with a short explanation. And then, offer these other things to review.

Other options:

  • “Software in 30 Days” by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. More from the manager’s viewpoint than other Scrum books.
  • “The Basics of Scrum” — A great paper. I assume it must have been written by Jeff Sutherland, whom is great. I will confirm that. (9 pages)  See here.
  • “Drive” by Daniel Pink is great on motivation for knowledge workers. (272 pages) And here’s a video about “Drive.” (18 minutes)
  • “The New New Product Development Game” by Takeuchi and Nonaka. This is the key paper that led to the development of Scrum. Many of the key principles behind Scrum are described. The use of the Scrum metaphor in that paper led to the name “Scrum” for this Agile method. (11 pages)
  • “The Power of Scrum” by Sutherland et al. A “novel” about a manager’s journey. Very realistic, semi-real (that is, I am sure they took a real situation, and modified it some.) Not a Tom Clancy novel, but a lot of key ideas from an exec’s viewpoint, in an easy-to-read format. (128 pages)
  • “Six Myths of Product Development” by Thomke and Reinertsen. A wonderful HBR article not about Scrum per se, but all six ideas (myths) are key to Scrum. If executives or managers do not understand these six key ideas, and particularly if they make decisions contrary to them, Scrum will be much less effective. (9 pages)
  • “Scrrum and CMMI — Going from Good to Great” by Jakobsen and Sutherland. Short read about implementing Scrum. (5 pages)
  • “The Discipline of Teams” by Katzenbach and Smith — the article (they also have a book with this title). Strong, stable, real, dedicated teams are key to successful Scrum. Extremely common that executives and managers do not value the team enough. (11 pages) They also wrote a book, The Wisdom of Teams, which I also recommend.
  • “Knowledge-Worker Productivity: The Biggest Challenge” by Peter Drucker. On Page 83 there are six major points. (The article itself is only 16 pages — page numbering above is, I assume, from the journal the article was published in.)

Regards, Joe

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These are all also on the website, under Resources.

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