Three Books Scrum Masters Should Add to Your Reading List

As a seasoned Scrum Master, you’ve probably already read every good book there is about Scrum. As you look to broaden your knowledge you may now find yourself craving something different. If you’re anything like me, you may appreciate learning complementary ideas that can help expand your skill set. Here are my top three books you should add to your holiday wish list.

#3 – The Toyota Way

Using operational excellence as a strategic weapon was at the heart of the Toyota Production System (TPS.) Many of the ideas used on modern software teams have common roots with TPS. There are some great ideas provided that address building a high-quality product with short lead times, empowering people doing the work to make good decisions, empiricism in developing processes, mistake-proofing to reduce quality assurance costs, impediment removal to go faster, the list goes on and on. Scrum in many ways was inspired “The New New Product Development Game” published by Harvard Business Review. Several of the companies studied in that research paper were inspired by Toyota. I highly recommend any Scrum Master looking to level up their skills read this book. It will give you new ideas about how to apply Scrum in non-traditional settings and teach you more about why these ideas work to deliver amazing products your customers love.

The Toyota Way – 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer – Jeffrey K. Liker

#2 – The Tipping Point

In general, spreading ideas about Scrum and agility in a large organization is a difficult task. I commonly get asked how a Scrum Master can get people who have not learned Scrum to understand what they and their team are trying to do with Scrum. If you have ever asked this yourself, this book is for you! In his book, Malcolm Gladwell explains with great detail exactly how a message goes viral. He talks about different types of people instrumental in spreading a message he identifies as Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen. Malcolm also talks about what makes a message sticky. Overall I can’t say enough good things about this book if you’re trying to get a message to spread in your organization.

The Tipping Point – How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference – Malcolm Gladwell

#1 – How to Win Friends & Influence People

You might know everything there is to know about Scrum and agile software development, but if you can’t influence others as a Scrum Master you might as well find a new line of work. I like to think of this book as the unveiling of the secrets of life. We all want to be genuinely liked, to interest others, and be influential. This book that will teach you how to do just that. Are you struggling to win arguments? This book gives you great tips that are practical. Are you finding yourself with lots of enemies? This book teaches you how to avoid that. The ability to work with people is a critical skill every Scrum Master must have. I’d even go so far as to say every person should have these skills, which is why this is my number one pick.

How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie

If you’re a Scrum Master who strives to be amazing at what you do, I highly recommend picking up these three books. Make reading these a part of your New Year’s resolution. You’ll thank me later.

Robert Pieper

I like Metalcore, and cupcakes.
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