7 Must-Read Books About Agile Project Management for Startup Leaders

Sharing thoughts, experiences, and ideas with the whole world has never been easier than it is now. At the same time, it’s becoming increasingly harder to find information that is truly useful among all the empty chatter.

This article is an exception — it will tell you which books you should read if you want to learn more about the Agile way of running a business, when you should read them, and what exactly you’ll learn from them. No more, no less. So let’s get to it.

1. “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

Who needs this book? This book is like the Agile bible, so whether you’re a beginner or an experienced manager, you should definitely read it.

When should you read it? “The Lean Startup” is a great starting point on your way to Agile. You can read it even if you don’t have any background knowledge about the Agile frameworks or project management in general.

What topics does it cover? It’s a business-oriented book that teaches to identify your product’s target market and build your business around the demands of your potential customers. You’ll find out how to create brand new things and stay innovative. Additionally, Eric Ries explains how to apply the Japanese Lean methodology, the precursor of Agile and Scrum.

2. “The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products” by Dan Olsen

Who needs this book? It’s definitely better to read this book when you’re just starting your business as it will help you avoid hundreds of common pitfalls. However, even if you’re an experienced entrepreneur, you’ll certainly find this book helpful.

When should you read it? Right after “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries.

What topics are discussed? Olsen emphasizes the importance of defining the needs of your potential clients to ensure better customer targeting. The author also explains the concept of MVP, which is instrumental in bringing your product to market fast.

3. “Theory of Constraints” by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

Who needs this book? This book will be most useful to those who have already started their businesses.

When should you read it? Read this book whenever you run into a any type of business-related problems and need a solid guideline.

What topics are discussed? “Theory of Constraints” is based on a management paradigm that views any manageable system as being limited in achieving more of its goals by a very small number of constraints. Goldratt gives plenty of actionable advice on how to continuously improve your business processes and offers simple solutions to complex issues.

4. “Kanban and Scrum: Making the Most of Both” by Henrik Kniberg and Mattias Skarin

Who needs this book? The book is perfect for anyone eager to learn the essentials of Scrum.

When should you read it? After finishing the first two books..

What topics are discussed? In a straightforward manner, the authors explain when and how to use Scrum and Kanban based on the advantages and disadvantages of both. At the same time, the book is rather succinct, it won’t bore you with unnecessary details.

5. “Agile Contracts: Creating and Managing Successful Projects with Scrum” by Andreas Opelt, Boris Gloger, and Wolfgang Pfarl

Who needs this book? Companies that want to use Agile but have difficulties incorporating it.

When should you read it? No specific recommendations.

What topics are discussed? This book proves that it’s possible to implement Scrum even in the most unfavourable environments. Authors explain how to maximize stakeholders interaction and benefit from Agile when you work with fixed price contracts. In short, you’ll learn how to take advantage of Scrum regardless of your circumstances.

While reading these books definitely won’t turn you into an Agile guru (only practice could do that), they’re enough to start implementing Agile frameworks and enjoying their numerous benefits.

6. “Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days” by Jessica Livingston

Who needs this book? Those looking to start their own company and those who are pushing through tough times with their businesses.

When should you read it? You can read this book simultaneously with the other more theory-heavy books mentioned in this article.

What topics are covered? The book is a collection of several interviews with the founders of famous technology companies, who share their paths to success from the very beginning. There’s no way you’ll get bored reading this book as it’s packed full of real-life examples of how businesses work. Livingston’s book is an invigorating aggregate of inspiring information, but not a direct guideline on how to build your own success — after all, each company is unique in its own way.

7. “The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail” by Clayton M. Christensen

Who needs this book? Established business owners.

When should you read it? Whenever you have doubts about implementing new technologies in your organization.

What topics are covered? The author argues that you can harm your company if you restructure business processes every time new tech comes on the scene. After reading this book, you’ll know exactly when and how to say no to new technologies — even if some of your customers will call you old-fashioned for doing it. Christensen touches upon issues that go beyond Agile to exemplify how to achieve business continuity.

Conclusion

While reading these books definitely won’t turn you into an Agile guru (only practice could do that), although, they’re enough to start implementing Agile frameworks and enjoying their numerous benefits.

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