Team Practices Group/Recommended Reading

Agile (general)Edit

Excellent blog containing general information related to Agile development. (KS)

Excellent comparison of burndown and burnup charts

General agile content, licensed CC-BY-NC and running on mediawiki.

Advice for how to split big stories into smaller, more manageable chunks. At the bottom of the page, there is a downloadable cheatsheat (which is copyrighted in the absence of a statement saying it is not).

Advice for how to split big stories into smaller, more manageable chunks. Unfortunately, the diagram is tightly copyrighted, but the material is excellent.

Clearly explains the history and rationale behind the agile movement.

Why Plans Fail: Cognitive Bias, Decision Making, and Your Business (Modus Cooperandi Mememachine Series Book 1) By Jim Benson

Lean-centric short read on how process improvement can be hamstrung by human brains. Amazon Link Agile in 3 minutes (audio)

A series of podcasts, each 3 minutes long, on a wide variety of agile topics.


Agile Game Development with Scrum (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn)) By Clinton Keith Amazon Link

  • Good description of scrum for heavy UX projects. It also give great advice on how to motivate teams.

Agile Project Management with Scrum By Ken Schwaber Amazon Link

  • very dry reading but clear definition of Scrum process

Agile estimation and planning By Mike Cohn Amazon Link

  • Essential reading for any team. Addresses a lot of long term planning deatils.

Scrum Product Ownership By Robert Galen Amazon link

  • Really good depiction of the Product Owner role, written by and for POs.

The Human Side of Agile By Gil Brosa Amazon link

  • The first read felt like all the information was obvious. I think it might be more useful to open certain chapters when you have related problems in your team

User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development  By Mike Cohn Amazon link

  • The authority on user stories.


Kanban in Action by Marcus Hammarberg and Joakim Sunden

An excellent introduction to using Kanban for software development. It starts with a 40-page ficticious case study of an existing team without a real process learning how to apply Kanban to their situation. Then the book shifts to a more traditional explanation for the remainder. Highly recommended. Kevin has a copy that can be borrowed on request. (KS)

One day in Kanban land (

This one-page comic is the most accessible introduction to software development Kanban I have ever seen. It is part of a blog by Henrik Kniberg, who is a prolific and excellent writer. He is somehow affiliated with Spotify. (KS)

Open Kanban by Joseph Hurtado (

A free and open (CC-BY) specification of a Kanban model for knowledge work. (KS)

Kanban Board Game (

A free game you can play online, where you prioritize stories on a Kanban board, and assign workers to tasks. Try to maximize total income. Hint: It's all about smooth flow!

Extreme ProgrammingEdit

Extreme Programming Explained by Kent Beck

The original XP manifesto, and still one of the best XP books. It is concise and easy to read, and does a great job of describing XP at a high level, with the background philosophy. If you want theory, and not just practice, this is definitely the best XP book. It is showing its age in a few spots, but is still worth reading. (KS)

Planning Extreme Programming by Kent Beck and Martin Fowler

Excellent practical description of how to actually run an XP project, start-to-finish, day-to-day. XP Coaches and leads really should read this book. (KS)

Extreme Programming Installed by Ron Jeffries, Ann Anderson, and Chet Hendrickson

Excellent practical advice for everyone involved with an XP project. The first 30 pages are the best introduction to XP I have found for potential XP Customers. (KS)

Extreme Programming Applied by Ken Auer and Roy Miller

One of the best XP books, with excellent advice for XP teams. Also, this might be the best book for an open-minded XP skeptic to read. It has some pretty compelling arguments. (KS)

Extreme Programming in Practice by James Newkirk and Robert C. Martin

Fascinating real-world case study of a small agile project attempted by a team that had never done XP before. It really shows some of the challenges and benefits of an agile approach. Great for anyone who wants to understand the "flavor" of an XP project. (KS)

Extreme Programming Explored by William C. Wake

Disappointing. I am a huge fan of Wake's writings, but this book didn't come out as well as I had hoped. It's not a bad book, but it's not great, either. (KS)

The Practical Guide to Extreme Programming by David Astels, Granville Miller, and Miroslav Novak

Not one of the best. This book has pretty good material, but if you've already read the great books in the XP series, you probably won't learn much. It lacks the concise style of most XP books, so I found it to be wordy and somewhat repetitive. (KS)

Extreme Programming Examined by Giancarlo Succi and Michele Marchesi

A collection of early XP papers presented at a conference in 2000. There are a few gems in here, but most of the material is obsolete, academic, or esoteric like Free tarot reading of Salvador Dalí. Not recommended, unless you have a specific need for one of the papers. (KS)

Other MethodologiesEdit

Crystal Clear by Alistair Cockburn

Describes a reasonable agile methodology that is similar to (but different from) Scrum. Of less interest to the WMF because it specifically requires a colocated team. (KS)

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Feels like agile on a personal scale.

Coding PracticesEdit

The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas

Excellent compilation of software development wisdom. Probably most valuable for mid-level developers, but worth reading for anyone who wants to improve their software development skills. The advice applies to virtually all languages, domains, and methodologies. (KS)

Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code by Martin Fowler, et al

The bible of refactoring. It has a section describing what refactoring is and how to use it, and another section listing a catalog of "refactorings". The material is excellent, but I had some trouble reading it straight through. Worth the effort, though. (KS)

Sustainable Software Development by Kevin Tate

A good overview of agile practices, aimed squarely at developers. Not revolutionary, but solid. (KS)

Pair programmingEdit

Pairing (an article on the growstuff wiki)

Great summary of pair programming benefits, challenges, styles, and tools.

Have Pair Programmed for 27,000 Hours: Ask Me Anything! (30-minute video)

Question/answer session which is very enlightening if you have questions about how pair programming really works.

Pair program with me (website)

This page has a list of resources about pair programming.

Software Development in GeneralEdit

Software Craftsmanship by Pete McBreen

Excellent, thought-provoking essay. Describes why the "Software Engineering" model is inappropriate, and proposes an alternative. Philosophical in nature (as opposed to practical or theoretical). (KS)

User-contributed articles on a vast array of topics, including agile software development. Non-open copyright policy is disappointing. (KS)


"Content debt: What it is, where to find it, and how to prevent it in the first place by Melody Kramer

Nice overview of a variety of problems and potential solutions to problems managing large amounts of content.

"How Nice People Can Master Conflict" by Dr. Travis Bradberry

Although the title mentions "nice people", the article lists several specific techniques that can improve communication for/by just about anyone.

Process Consultation Vol's 1 and 2 by Edgar Schein

Nuts and bolts of being a process consultant, still relevant almost 50 years later. I refer to page 50 regularly. (JA) Google Books