Agile software, infrastructure, and platform development - the books which make sense

There are lots of books about being Agile, which quite rightly talk about planning, reducing complexity, and stories.  These are all fine, but I think you need to dig deeper.  People have been Agile before the term Agile existed.


Functioning as part of a team is important, BUT being a well-organised individual, who enjoys what they do, is vitally important.

The Pomodoro Technique Illustrated taught me to manage my time, and prioritise my work-to-do-list.  This was vital in passing my Masters degree eight years ago.

The Case of working with your hands is interesting in that it advocates avoiding offices.  Produce something which is useful, of value, enjoy this process, and be responsible for it.  The hobbyist, turned software developer follows the vocational career path (this book) suggests.

Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance explores “in-depth” quality.  Gold plating and over-engineering is not good, but cutting corners (may be necessary), but needs to be managed, by the individual, and team.  Don’t expect the product owner to understand the tolerances in a computer system.

The Phoenix Project and The Goal, a process of ongoing improvement **describe how individuals are impacted in separate technology, and manufacturing business’.  How the culture has to change (for the business’ to succeed).  Both are excellent books, and present real-world examples of how agile “should” be adopted by **individuals, teams, and top-down company culture.  I have re-read both books many times.

Pragmatic thinking and learning:  Refactor your wetware (Pragamatic programmers) discusses organising related skills, how to improve the ways in which you learn, absorb knowledge, and fine-tune skills.

All six books are excellent.  I have gained so much practical experience from learning how people learn a skill, turn a hobby into a career, and (usefully) corroborated existing views, based on experience. For me, these book are intrinsically linked.  They advocate **learning efficiently** (for me, not coding late at night, when you are tired, and next morning it's garbage, or understanding the requirements of a system _**clearly**_), **following a career you enjoy**, organising **your time**, based on your **own "to-do" list**, having a darn **good understanding** of the commercial influences in a business (being a geek is cool, but you have to be grounded, and pragmatic), follow your gut instinct (especially if you are a **production-focussed** devOps engineer), but make sure you make pragmatic decisions (cloud based servers and infrastructure, don't always play by the rules).  Keep a work-diary, with useful commands, information summaries, assumptions and observations made.

I could go on, but suffice to say, I recommend all six books.

Author | Miles Davenport

Career programmer, who designs, assembles, fixes, and supports customers, software and systems.