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10 Best Agile Books for Project Managers in 2024

Adaptability and innovation are critical in project management, and continuous learning becomes the compass guiding you toward excellence. 

The agile methodology is a framework that breaks down projects into phases, which helps with collaboration and delivers value to customers. 

Agile has become popular in project management, making it essential for those in the project management field to master it.

We have meticulously chosen the top 10 agile books to empower you on your journey to mastery. These books will act as an agile toolkit to help you embrace change, collaboration, and continuous improvement. 📕

Top 10 Books for Agile Project Managers and Teams

Here are 10 reliable books to help you learn about and implement Agile. These books offer detailed insights into agile methodologies.

Essential Scrum
via Amazon

About the book

  • Author(s): Kenneth S. Rubin
  • Year published: 2012
  • Estimated reading time: 16 hours
  • Recommended level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • No. of pages: 504 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.7/5 (Amazon)
    • 4.1/5 (Goodreads)

This book is a practical guide to mastering the Scrum framework.

It covers various topics, including Scrum roles, events, artifacts, and scaling Scrum for larger projects. 

Essential Scrum provides a holistic understanding and guidance that you can immediately apply. It emphasizes delivering actionable insights that help implement agile frameworks like Scrum in diverse organizational settings.

“Iterative development acknowledges that we will probably get things wrong before we get them right and that we will do things poorly before we do them well.”

Kenneth S. Rubin

Key takeaways:

  • Comprehensive overview: Provides a thorough understanding of Scrum methodology, covering roles, practices, and principles
  • Practical tools: Offers practical tools and techniques for implementing and managing Scrum in projects
  • Real-world examples: Illustrates concepts with real-world examples, making understanding and applying Scrum practices easier

What readers say:  

“The books’ easy-to-understand format, clear iconology, and detailed diagrams make complex concepts easy to digest. The basic principles that support the best Scrum practices are presented in a simple and coherent way that will enable the beginner to the Scrum expert to put into practice practical applications that drive real value.”

2. Scrum Mastery: From Good to Great Servant Leadership by Geoff Watts

Scrum Mastery
via Issuu

About the book

  • Author(s): Geoff Watts
  • Year published: 2013
  • Estimated reading time: 11 hours
  • Recommended level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • No. of pages: 340 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.7/5 (Amazon)
    • 4.2/5 (Goodreads)

Unlike many books on agile learning that provide a general overview of Scrum, Geoff Watts delves deeply into the intricacies of servant leadership and its application in Scrum Mastery. 

The book goes beyond the basics of Scrum practices, exploring the mindset and behaviors that will transform a good Scrum Master into an exceptional servant leader.

The author offers anecdotes and case studies that resonate with the day-to-day challenges faced by Scrum Masters. So, in addition to being theoretical, the book is a valuable guide for Scrum Masters navigating the complexities of their roles in the real world.

“Transforming a team, let alone an entire organization, from the principles of command and control to those based on servant-leadership, from plans based on prediction to plans based on empirical, evolutionary data requires both patience and tenacity.”

Geoff Watts

Key takeaways:

  • Leadership focus: Emphasizes the role of a Scrum Master as a servant leader and the skills needed to excel in this role
  • Team dynamics: Explores how to build and maintain high-performing teams in an agile environment
  • Continuous improvement: Discusses strategies for constant improvement and overcoming common challenges in agile projects

What readers say:

“This book is amazing. Super easy to read. I’ve read this cover to cover and often refer to it to remind myself of what I should be mindful of to be a great Scrum Master. There is some good anecdotal evidence on why doing X and X are effective. Every team is different, but this book really encourages you to think outside the box with a true servant-leader mentality.”

3. Agile Game Development by Clinton Keith

Agile-Game-development-with-scrum
via Amazon

About the book

  • Author(s): Clinton Keith
  • Year published: 2020
  • Estimated reading time: 19 hours
  • Recommended level: Intermediate
  • No. of pages: 576 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.6/5 (Amazon)
    • 4.1/5 (Goodreads)

This book offers a unique approach to applying agile principles within game development. 

With an explicit focus on the gaming industry, it provides insights and strategies for game developers facing the distinct challenges of their field.

It emphasizes the importance of collaboration and communication within interdisciplinary teams, a critical aspect of successful game development. 

The book guides readers on fostering a collaborative environment and building agile workflows, enabling teams to respond effectively to evolving project requirements and deliver high-quality games.

“A dispersed team shares the same challenges as a distributed team. Additionally, it is challenged with maintaining transparency, collaboration, self-organization, and the need to leverage the tools available in the best way possible.”

Clinton Keith

Key takeaways: 

  • Agile in game development: Tailors agile methodologies specifically for the game development industry
  • Balancing creativity and efficiency: Focuses on balancing creative processes and efficient project management
  • Case studies: Includes case studies from real game development projects to illustrate the application of agile practices

What readers say: 

“Very well written and organized, and easy to relate to. Highly recommend for any team exploring Agile.”

4. Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn

Agile Estimating and Planning
via Amazon

About the book

  • Author(s): Mike Cohn
  • Year published: 2005
  • Estimated reading time: 12 hours
  • Recommended level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • No. of pages: 368 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.6/5 (Amazon)
    • 4.1/5 (Goodreads)

This book delves into various estimation techniques, emphasizing the collaborative nature of the agile planning process. 

Mike Cohn provides practical guidance on user stories, planning releases, and adapting to changing requirements, addressing the challenges you encounter in dynamic project environments.

The book also stands out for its coverage of advanced topics such as velocity, story points, and release planning. 

Cohn provides a nuanced understanding of process improvement methodologies, guiding readers on how to tailor them to fit the unique project needs.

“Individuals should be given every incentive possible to work as a team. If the team’s throughput is increased by my helping someone else, that’s what I should do. Team velocity matters; individual velocity doesn’t.”

Mike Cohn

Key takeaways:

  • Estimation techniques: Provides practical estimation and planning techniques in agile projects
  • Prioritization and iteration: Discusses work prioritization and iteration planning for maximum efficiency
  • Risk management: Covers strategies for managing uncertainties and risks in project planning

What readers say:

“Mike Cohn’s knowledge and expertise shine through every page of this book. Even though story points and velocity might be considered by some to no longer be a good way of estimating, this book is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand Agile. Couldn’t recommend it enough.”

5. Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition by Lyssa Adkins

About the book

  • Author(s): Lyssa Adkins
  • Year published: 2010
  • Estimated reading time: 12 hours
  • Recommended level: Beginner to Advanced
  • No. of pages: 352 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.7/5 (Amazon)
    • 4.2/5 (Goodreads)

This book offers a unique focus on the role of coaching in agile development. 

Its focus on the emotional and social intelligence needed for successful coaching sets this book apart. 

Adkins explores how coaching goes beyond processes and practices, exploring the interpersonal dynamics that impact team performance. 

The book equips readers with tools to navigate challenges, facilitate communication, and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

“We practice mastering ourselves in the moment so that we can better open ourselves to being a servant leader and to harness our emotions and choose what to do with our reactions.”

Lyssa Adkins

Key takeaways:

  • Coaching skills: Highlights the importance of coaching skills in guiding teams through agile transformations
  • Team empowerment: Focuses on empowering teams to be self-organizing and adaptive
  • Change management: Offers insights into managing change and resistance in an agile environment

What readers say:

“As a seasoned Scrum Master, this book is a MUST read. It really finds a great way to dig deep into the issues a Scrum Master will deal with and puts the heart into our job—beyond the mechanics. I find myself picking it up as issues pop up and getting re-inspired.”

6. Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases Through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation by Jez Humble and David Farley

Continuous Delivery
via Shop

About the book

  • Author(s): Jez Humble & David Farley
  • Year published: 2010
  • Estimated reading time: 17 hours
  • Recommended level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • No. of pages: 512 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.6/5 (Amazon)
    • 4.2/5 (Goodreads)

This book is a seminal work in Agile and DevOps, providing a detailed exploration of deployment pipelines, testing strategies, and release management.

One key differentiator is the authors’ attention to the cultural and organizational changes required for successful continuous delivery and efficient operations strategies

The book addresses the challenges of integrating continuous delivery practices into various development environments, offering practical strategies to foster collaboration between development and operations teams.

“Asking experts to do boring and repetitive, and yet technically demanding tasks is the most certain way of ensuring human error that we can think of, short of sleep deprivation, or inebriation.”

David Farley

Key takeaways: 

  • Automation in software delivery: Emphasizes the role of automation in building, testing, and deploying software
  • Efficiency and reliability: Discusses strategies to make software releases more efficient and reliable
  • Best practices: Provides best practices for implementing continuous delivery in organizations

What readers say: 

“This book completely transformed how I think about software development and delivery. It covers planning, development, testing, and deployment. Seeing it all laid together like this, it seems so obviously the right approach compared to how most of us have been doing it.”

7. Project Management the Agile Way: Making it Work in the Enterprise by John Goodpasture

About the book

  • Author(s): John C. Goodpasture
  • Year published: 2015
  • Estimated reading time: 13 hours
  • Recommended level: Intermediate to Professional
  • No. of pages: 392 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.8/5 (Amazon)
    • 3.2/5 (Goodreads)

This book focuses on agile project management and its application in an enterprise setting. 

Goodpasture addresses the importance of maintaining transparency, accountability, and compliance within the agile framework and how they help adhere to regulatory requirements or internal policies. 

This focus on governance distinguishes the book from those solely concentrating on Agile at the team level.

The book also delves into the importance of leadership in fostering an agile culture within an organization. It provides strategies for leadership teams to champion agile values across enterprise-scale teams.

“The idea of plan-driven methodologies is to imagine the needs and requirements at the outset, conduct sufficient analysis—sometimes called structured analysis—to flush out all the risks and dependencies, and only then commit to product design and development.”

John Goodpasture

Key takeaways: 

  • Agile in large enterprises: Focuses on implementing agile methodologies in large and complex enterprise environments
  • Project management integration: Discusses integrating agile methods with traditional project management practices
  • Risk and complexity: Addresses managing risks and complexities in large-scale agile projects

What readers say:

“As an executive in the IT field, John’s methods of putting the details to work are precise and clear. The hybrid model is used more and more in industry and at the enterprise level. A very good read for those entering and have been in the field of project management for all industries.”

8. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

via Amazon

About the book

  • Author(s): Eric Ries
  • Year published: 2011
  • Estimated reading time: 11 hours
  • Recommended level: Beginner to Advanced
  • No. of pages: 336 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.6/5 (Amazon)
    • 4.4/5 (Goodreads) 

This book revolutionizes the approach to startup entrepreneurship by introducing the Lean Startup methodology. The focus is on prioritizing iterative experimentation, validated learning, and a build-measure-learn feedback loop.

Ries advocates for a scientific approach to entrepreneurship, encouraging startups to treat their business models as hypotheses and validate them through real-world experiments. 

This method contrasts with traditional approaches that involve extensive planning and development before testing the market.

The book also introduces the concept of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), emphasizing the importance of delivering a product with the minimum features necessary to gather valuable feedback. 

Another critical aspect the book explores is the concept of ‘innovation accounting,’ a quantitative approach to measuring progress and success in innovation projects.

“As you consider building your own minimum viable product, let this simple rule suffice: remove any feature, process, or effort that does not contribute directly to the learning you seek.”

Eric Ries

Key takeaways: 

  • Startup methodology: Introduces the Lean Startup methodology, emphasizing rapid prototyping and iterative product releases
  • Customer feedback: Stresses the importance of customer feedback in shaping product development
  • Build-Measure-Learn: Explores the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop for continuous improvement of products and processes

What readers say: 

“As an entrepreneur and angel investor with several startups under my belt, I believe that Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup is a MUST READ for anyone involved in startups these days. If I had to recommend one book to fledgling entrepreneurs in today’s market, it would be this book – no question.”

9. Fixing Your Scrum: Practical Solutions to Common Scrum Problems by Ryan Ripley and Todd Miller

About the book

  • Author(s): Ryan Ripley, Todd Miller
  • Year published: 2020
  • Estimated reading time: 8 hours
  • Recommended level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • No. of pages: 242 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.7/5 (Amazon)
    • 4.3/5 (Goodreads) 

This book delves into the nuances of Scrum, acknowledging that each team is unique and faces distinct challenges. 

The book provides strategies and techniques to address specific issues and unlock process optimization for various contexts.

It stands out for its problem-centric focus and hands-on guidance. 

While some books provide a broader overview of Scrum principles, Ripley and Miller’s work offers a targeted approach to address specific challenges.

“All the required Scrum events (sprint, sprint planning, daily scrum, sprint review, and sprint retrospective) are time-boxed. The duration of each event should be tailored to your environment.”

Ryan Ripley

Key takeaways:

  • Problem-solving: Focuses on identifying and solving common issues faced in Scrum implementations
  • Scrum principles: Reinforces the core principles of Scrum and their practical application
  • Case studies and tips: Provides real-life case studies and practical tips for improving Scrum practices

What readers say: 

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am now re-reading it as I am sure I will gain as much information the second reading as I did from the first reading. This is a must read book for any level Scrum Master.”

10. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland

About the book

  • Author(s): Jeff Sutherland
  • Year published: 2014
  • Estimated reading time: 8 hours
  • Recommended level: Beginner to Advanced
  • No. of pages: 256 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.6/5 (Amazon)
    • 4.1/5 (Goodreads) 

This agile book introduces the Scrum framework and presents a compelling argument for its transformative power in enhancing productivity. 

One key differentiator is Sutherland’s storytelling approach. Instead of a purely theoretical exploration of Scrum, he weaves in real-world examples, drawing from his experiences as a fighter pilot, technology executive, and creator of the Scrum framework.

Sutherland delves into the neuroscience of high-performing teams, explaining how the principles of Scrum align with the natural rhythms of the human brain. 

“Making people prioritize by value forces them to produce that 20 percent first. Often by the time they’re done, they realize they don’t really need the other 80 percent, or that what seemed important at the outset actually isn’t.”

Jeff Sutherland

Key takeaways: 

  • Scrum methodology: Offers an in-depth look at Scrum methodology from one of its co-creators
  • Efficiency and productivity: Discusses how Scrum can drastically improve efficiency and productivity in various environments
  • Broad application: Provides insights into applying Scrum principles beyond software development, including personal and professional life

What readers say:

“This book offers both textbook theory and practical examples of Scrum application. I especially enjoyed the history. It also helped me realize that executives need to be fully onboard and trained or it will not work correctly. I am pushing this book on everyone I know to adapt the mindset.”

Agile Project Management with ClickUp

As agile methodologies redefine project management, finding the right tools becomes pivotal for success. 

Clickup OKR Dashboard
Use ClickUp’s CRM dashboard for a bird’s eye view of sales performance

While there are several free project management software and project management templates in the market, ClickUp’s project management solutions emerge as a versatile and powerful ally for teams embracing agile learning and agile project development.

It gets work done fast with connected docs, tailored views, real-time dashboards, and more.

Here’s why teams prefer the ClickUp agile solution for project management:

Agile workflows streamlined

ClickUp provides agile workflows for Scrum, Kanban, and more.

Additionally, the ClickUp Agile Project Management template ensures your team hits the ground running with predefined structures designed for agile operations strategies.

ClickUp Agile Project Management Template
The ClickUp Agile Project Management Template supports your agile workflows and keeps your team on the same page

Goals to map agile progress

Tracking progress is paramount in Agile. ClickUp’s Goals feature allows teams to set and monitor objectives effortlessly. 

Whether following agile templates or crafting your agile workflow, this tool provides a centralized hub for keeping your project’s pulse in check.

Efficient communication with ClickUp Chat View

Communication is at the core of agile learning and agile project development. 

Visually compare team workloads and track progression with the ClickUp Timeline view

ClickUp’s Chat View facilitates transparent and real-time conversations. Team members collaborate seamlessly, sharing updates and insights directly within tasks, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Priority assignment for agile efficiency

Assigning priorities is a cornerstone of agile workflow, ensuring the most critical studies receive the attention they deserve. 

ClickUp’s intuitive interface simplifies assigning task priorities, allowing teams to focus on their agile project’s key objectives.

Embracing Agile

The top 10 agile books we described in this blog serve as invaluable guides for project managers seeking to navigate the nuanced realm of agile methodologies. 

Each book is meticulously curated for unique insights and practical wisdom, contributing to a comprehensive toolkit for mastering Agile. 📖

Complementing these learnings with a tool like ClickUp equips project managers to lead their teams toward success. It enables you to track progress, chat and assign comments, and get an overview of your project through multiple features. 👀

Try ClickUp today!

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