This page shares a current book reading list that I draw organization talent, change, and design thoughts across a range topics from history and economics, to user interface experience. This reading list has links to Amazon Associates for further details. You can also view other Amazon picks within my site. Here is my current reading list heavy rotation. I invite you to share thoughts on this book reading list:
Our digital world demands 'just in time' connection, transparency, and community engagement. In an agile environment, classic project mindset and process challenge Lean method and Agile practice. This book takes Agile beyond the way you "do Agile" to the way you "become Agile".
... if you reach every scheduled release date, you bring the project in on budget, and you build it with quality, but you do not build features that customers want, they will not buy it and you have failed. This is why I contend that if you align your culture and processes around building customer value (e.g., what customers need and when they need it), then you will be successful and have increased your chances of making money.
For more than a decade the cost of software and technology digital distribution has crippled traditional project management mindset. The project demand often comes with the refrain that we:
- Build faster,
- Build better,
- Build success,
An Agile approach requires a lean view of eliminate waste to build faster, deliver customer objectives to build better, and constant learning to build success. While Being Agile outlines many Agile frameworks, the book takes a deeper benefit of an Agile organization. Of the 24 chapters, 10 chapters deal with how to "do" Agile, while 14 cover how to "be" Agile:
- Business Benefits of Being Agile
- Importance of Customer Engagement
- Importance of Employee Engagement
- Motivations for Moving to an Agile Culture
- Achieving an Agile Mindset
- Evaluating Executive Support and Team Willingness
- Treating Agile as a Transformation Project
- Adapting to Agile Roles and Responsibilities
- Evaluating Agile, Engineering, and Team Capability
- Establishing Agile Measures of Success
- Constructing a Scalable Agile Framework
- Establishing Agile Education Program
- Creating a Customer Validating Vision
- Adapting Governance and Performance Reviews
Beyond frameworks and methods, Agile provides business benefits, organization culture benefits, and financial benefits. Being Agile is about inside-out relevance. This is more than outside-in process.
2 of 3 — Identifying and Managing Project Risk
Organizations that identify and plan project risk ensure resources are available for growth. Risk is anything that can positively or negatively affect the project. Positive risk frees up resources unexpectedly, negative risk ties up resources unexpectedly. Both present challenges. The ability to scope, manage, and view a project, from concept to delivery, through a risk lens, presents the essence of organization competitive advantage. The opposite of project effectiveness bogs down organization capital, both human and financial, through a cycle of change requests that drain human and financial resources and staff motivation who now need to focus how to get a wrong project right. When you tie up capital resuscitating at-risk projects than capital is not available for investment. I consider myself a recovering project manager. Yes, project management is a great profession and terrific competence, particularly the Project Management Institute (PMI) certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP), however, a gap (chasm) has revealed itself:
- One one side: PMI's feeling the world spins only by the grace of project management.
- On the opposite side: an all-too-often rash of organizations that appoint project managers as administrative support to keep meetings on the calendar and meeting notes circulated.
That gap between executive perspective and delivery perspective is risk. As any profession demands maintaining continued education for on-going certification, so too does PMI. There expectation to remain certified presents a need for on-going Professional Development Units (PDUs). My area of chosen focus is risk. My annual lesson plan led me to an Advanced Risk Course and this book was presented in the coursework. Essential Tools for Failure-Proofing Your Project, is the subtitle of the book Identifying and Managing Project Risk. Good enough for me to add to my reading list.
3 of 3 — A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas
People are born to inquire and discover. Between the ages of two to five years of age a child asks 40,000 questions. Questions fuel curiosity. Then we are taught to stop asking, stop seeking, and stop inquiring. Are questions more valuable than answers? Warren Berger's new book, A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas is an inquiry on inquiry. The book outlined follows:
- The Power of Inquiry
- Why We Stop Questioning
- The Why, What If, and How of Innovative Questioning
- Questioning in Business
- Questioning for Life
We are so concerned about the answer we have lost the patience for questions.
within the business sector, I found few companies that actually encouraged questioning in any substantive way....many companies— whether consciously or not— have established cultures that tend to discourage inquiry in the form of someone’s asking, for example, Why are we doing this particular thing in this particular way?
Innovation does not exist without questions. A view of the future begins with questions of the current.
questioning is seen as “inefficient” by many business leaders , who are so anxious to act, to do, that they often feel they don’t have time to question just what it is they’re doing. And those not in leadership roles frequently perceive (often correctly) that questioning can be hazardous to one’s career: that to raise a hand in the conference room and ask “Why?” is to risk being seen as uninformed, or possibly insubordinate, or maybe both.
Too often we concern ourselves keeping up appearances. The enemy of curiosity is fear.
questions challenge authority and disrupt established structures, processes, and systems, forcing people to have to at least think about doing something differently. To encourage or even allow questioning is to cede power —not something that is done lightly in hierarchical companies or in government organizations, or even in classrooms, where a teacher must be willing to give up control to allow for more questioning.
Questions challenge authority. I found my way to this book from my Amazon.com's Recommendations for You list. As an Appreciative Inquiry practitioner I know that every question presents a direction. The challenge is to craft a question that invites participation into what could be. The very nature of a question invites participation. So, discover a question to spark more questions.
Recent Book Reading List
View a more expanded list on my Amazon page within my site:
- Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz
- What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences
- The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice for Your First Year (Agile Software Development Series)
- UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want
- The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World's Most Disruptive Company
- Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream
- Information Architecture: For the Web and Beyond
- User Story Mapping: Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product
- Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust
- The Capable Company: Building the capabilities that make strategy work
- The Heretic's Guide to Best Practices
- Leading Successful Change
- Appreciative Leadership
- Agile Experience Design
- Games Primates Play
- 1812: The Navy's War
- Thinking In Systems: A Primer
- About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design
- Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle
- Resonant Leadership
- The Truth About Creating Effective Feedback Loops with Your Employees
- Beginning SharePoint 2010: Building Business Solutions with SharePoint
- Driving Down Cost: How to Manage and Cut Costs - Intelligently
- The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
- The Innovator's Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Healthcare
- Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard
- Zarrella's Hierarchy of Contagiousness: The Science, Design, and Engineering of Contagious Ideas
- The Modern Firm: Organizational Design for Performance and Growth
The E-reader Experience
The Amazon's Kindle Voyage is my weapon of choice. You can get the Kindle app free for a host of platforms. I read multiple books at once because I jump from insight to insight as well as need to need. I highlight and take a lot of notes and might read a chapter two or three times. I rarely find the mood to just stick with a single topic and tend to let an idea sink in or germinate through a blog. The ability to store, view, retrieve, and print highlights with your Amazon profile and to view highlights with others, in writing, and presentations is fantastic. This makes me an enthusiastic Amazon Kindle owner to manage my book reading list. Also, the Kindle app let's you read on other tablets, computers, or smart phones and keep your library and notes synched.