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Top 100 Agile Books (Edition 2013)


These are the 100 best Agile Books in the world, based on reviews and ratings on Amazon and GoodReads.


Who cares about Pacific Rim when there is the annual Top 100 Agile Books? This year’s results can only be described as spectacular! The DevOps movement gives the Lean Startup movement a black eye with The Phoenix Project, which came out of nowhere and grabbed the number one slot. But last year‘s number one The Lean Startup (now #5) won’t give up easily, because several follow-ups have emerged with a splash high up in the chart (#3, #6, #18, #25). And did anyone expect Ken Rubin (at #2) to be such a formidable fighter?!

With 24 new entries this might be the most dynamic year in the Agile books business. It’s time for you all to make some more room on your book shelves.


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This ranking of 100 best agile books is the average of five different rankings: the number of Amazon reviews, the number of GoodReads reviews, the average Amazon rating, the average GoodReads rating, and the number of days since first publication. That means this list shows you a mix of the most popular, best rated, and (relatively) newest books in this category.

TY LY Title Author Year
1 The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford 2013
2 78 Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process Kenneth S. Rubin 2012
3 Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works Ash Maurya 2012
4 Impact Mapping: Making a Big Impact with Software Products and Projects Gojko Adzic 2012
5 1 The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses Eric Ries 2011
6 Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster Alistair Croll, Benjamin Yoskovitz 2013
7 3 Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum Mike Cohn 2009
8 Commitment Olav Maassen, Chris Matts, Chris Geary 2013
9 7 The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice for Your First Year Mitch Lacey 2012
10 8 Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices Robert C. Martin 2002
11 2 Specification by Example: How Successful Teams Deliver the Right Software Gojko Adzic 2011
12 6 Agile Estimating and Planning Mike Cohn 2005
13 5 The Agile Samurai: How Agile Masters Deliver Great Software Jonathan Rasmusson 2010
14 9 Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship Robert C. Martin 2008
15 10 Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code Martin Fowler, et al. 1999
16 4 The Art of Unit Testing: With Examples in .Net Roy Osherove 2009
17 11 Working Effectively with Legacy Code Michael Feathers 2004
18 The Lean Entrepreneur: How Visionaries Create Products, Innovate with New Ventures, and Disrupt Markets Brant Cooper, Patrick Vlaskovits 2013
19 12 The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master Andrew Hunt, David Thomas 1999
20 13 Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation Jez Humble, David Farley 2010
21 18 User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development Mike Cohn 2004
22 16 Scrum and XP from the Trenches Henrik Kniberg 2007
23 19 The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers Robert C. Martin 2011
24 26 The Elements of Scrum Chris Sims, Hillary Louise Johnson 2011
25 Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience Jeff Gothelf 2013
26 Implementing Domain-Driven Design Vaughn Vernon 2013
27 14 Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests Steve Freeman, Nat Pryce 2009
28 20 Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software Eric Evans 2003
29 61 Lean from the Trenches: Managing Large-Scale Projects with Kanban Henrik Kniberg 2011
30 15 Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business David J. Anderson 2010
31 22 The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development Donald G. Reinertsen 2009
32 23 Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders Jurgen Appelo 2011
33 24 Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit Mary Poppendieck, Tom Poppendieck 2003
34 25 Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management Scott Berkun 2008
35 How to Change the World: Change Management 3.0 Jurgen Appelo 2012
36 21 The Art of Agile Development James Shore, Shane Warden 2007
37 Scrum: a Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction Chris Sims, Hillary Louise Johnson 2012
38 50 Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play Luke Hohmann 2006
39 28 Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise Dean Leffingwell 2010
40 31 Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash Mary Poppendieck, Tom Poppendieck 2006
41 The Professional ScrumMaster’s Handbook Stacia Viscardi 2013
42 51 Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition Lyssa Adkins 2010
43 30 Managing the Design Factory Donald G. Reinertsen 1997
44 29 Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C# Robert C. Martin, Micah Martin 2006
45 Getting Results the Agile Way: A Personal Results System for Work and Life J.D. Meier 2010
46 UX for Lean Startups: Faster, Smarter User Experience Research and Design Laura Klein 2013
47 83 Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life Jim Benson, Tonianne DeMaria Barry 2011
48 32 Agile Coaching Rachel Davies, Liz Sedley 2009
49 34 Test Driven Development for Embedded C James W. Grenning 2011
50 30 Days to Better Agile: Effective strategies for getting results Fast using Scrum Angela Druckman 2012
51 27 xUnit Test Patterns: Refactoring Test Code Gerard Meszaros 2007
52 42 The Concise Executive Guide to Agile Israel Gat 2010
53 36 Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management Johanna Rothman, Esther Derby 2005
54 39 Writing Effective Use Cases Alistair Cockburn 2000
55 60 Leading Lean Software Development: Results Are not the Point Mary Poppendieck, Tom Poppendieck 2009
56 33 Practices of an Agile Developer: Working in the Real World Venkat Subramaniam, Andy Hunt 2005
57 Agile Management Ángel Medinilla 2012
58 38 Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams Alistair Cockburn 2004
59 49 Agile Game Development with Scrum Clinton Keith 2010
60 41 The Culture Game: Tools for the Agile Manager Dan Mezick 2012
61 47 Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change (multiple editions) Kent Beck, Cynthia Andres 1999
62 The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st Century Stephen Denning 2010
63 48 Agile and Iterative Development: A Manager’s Guide Craig Larman 2003
64 The People’s Scrum: Agile Ideas for Revolutionary Transformation Tobias Mayer 2013
65 59 Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products (2nd Edition) Jim Highsmith 2009
66 45 Refactoring to Patterns Joshua Kerievsky 2004
67 Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis Ellen Gottesdiener, Mary Gorman 2012
68 17 Agile in a Flash: Speed-Learning Agile Software Development Jeff Langr, Tim Ottinger 2011
69 43 Manage Your Project Portfolio: Increase Your Capacity and Finish More Projects Johanna Rothman 2009
70 44 Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams Lisa Crispin, Janet Gregory 2009
71 Scrum Mastery: From Good To Great Servant-Leadership Geoff Watts 2013
72 58 Manage It!: Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management Johanna Rothman 2007
73 37 Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great Esther Derby, Diana Larsen 2006
74 The Human Side of Agile – How to Help Your Team Deliver Gil Broza 2012
75 65 Liftoff: Launching Agile Teams & Projects Diana Larsen, Ainsley Nies 2011
76 94 Software in 30 Days: How Agile Managers Beat the Odds… Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland 2012
77 81 Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum Craig Larman, Bas Vodde 2008
78 53 Agile Project Management with Scrum Ken Schwaber 2004
79 63 Organizational Patterns of Agile Software Development James O. Coplien, Neil B. Harrison 2004
80 56 Agile Project Management For Dummies Mark C. Layton 2012
81 46 The Productive Programmer Neal Ford 2008
82 35 Bridging the Communication Gap: Specification by Example and Agile Acceptance Testing Gojko Adzic 2009
83 54 Requirements by Collaboration Ellen Gottesdiener 2002
84 57 Test Driven Development: By Example Kent Beck 2002
85 62 Agile Software Development with Scrum Ken Schwaber, Mike Beedle 2001
86 55 Agile Software Development with Distributed Teams Jutta Eckstein 2010
87 68 Continuous Integration: Improving Software Quality and Reducing Risk Paul M. Duvall, Steve Matyas, Andrew Glover 2007
88 Enterprise-Scale Agile Software Development James Schiel 2009
89 52 Lessons in Agile Management: On the Road to Kanban David J. Anderson 2012
90 40 Applied Software Project Management Andrew Stellman, Jennifer Greene 2005
91 Exploring Scrum: the Fundamentals: People, Product, and Practices Dan Rawsthorne, Doug Shimp 2011
92 71 Collaboration Explained: Facilitation Skills for Software Project Leaders Jean Tabaka 2006
93 73 Agile Excellence for Product Managers: A Guide to Creating Winning Products with Agile Development Teams Greg Cohen 2010
94 75 Changing Software Development: Learning to Become Agile Allan Kelly 2008
95 Get Agile!: Scrum for UX, Design & Development Pieter Jongerius 2013
96 Scrum Product Ownership: Balancing Value From the Inside Out (multiple editions) Robert Galen 2009
97 67 Agile Product Management with Scrum: Creating Products that Customers Love Roman Pichler 2010
98 69 Ship it! A Practical Guide to Successful Software Projects Jared Richardson, William A. Gwaltney 2005
99 70 Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises Dean Leffingwell 2007
100 74 Stand Back and Deliver: Accelerating Business Agility Pollyanna Pixton, Niel Nickolaisen, Todd Little, Kent McDonald 2009

Dropped Out

This year I’ve decided to also show you which books dropped out of the main chart. Please take a moment to pay your respect and say goodbye to some of the best Agile oldies ever written. Their time has come.

LY Title Author Year
64 The Power of Scrum Jeff Sutherland, Rini van Solingen, Eelco Rustenburg 2011
66 Agile Adoption Patterns: A Roadmap to Organizational Succes Amr Elssamadisy 2008
72 Beyond Software Architecture: Creating and Sustaining Winning Solutions Luke Hohmann 2003
76 The Software Project Manager’s Bridge to Agility Michele Sliger, Stacia Broderick 2008
77 Kanban and Scrum – Making the Most of Both Henrik Kniberg, Mattias Skarin 2010
79 The Enterprise Unified Process: Extending the Rational Unified Process Scott W. Ambler, John Nalbone, Michael J. Vizdos 2005
80 Beautiful Testing: Leading Professionals Reveal How They Improve Software Adam Goucher, Tim Riley 2009
82 Just Enough Requirements Management: Where Software Development Meets Marketing Alan Mark Davis 2005
84 Extreme Programming Installed Ron Jeffries, Ann Anderson, Chet Hendrickson 2000
85 Beautiful Teams: Inspiring and Cautionary Tales from Veteran Team Leaders Andrew Stellman, Jennifer Greene 2009
86 Implementation Patterns Kent Beck 2006
87 Agility and Discipline Made Easy: Practices from OpenUP and RUP Per Kroll, Bruce MacIsaac 2006
88 Refactoring Databases: Evolutionary Database Design Scott W. Ambler, Pramodkumar J. Sadalage 2006
89 Test Driven: TDD and Acceptance TDD for Java Developers Lasse Koskela 2007
90 Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game (2nd Edition) Alistair Cockburn 2006
91 Emergent Design: The Evolutionary Nature of Professional Software Development Scott L. Bain 2008
92 Becoming Agile: …in an Imperfect World Greg Smith, Ahmed Sidky 2008
93 Managing Agile Projects Kevin J. Aguanno 2005
95 Essential Skills for the Agile Developer Alan Shalloway, Scott Bain, Ken Pugh, Amir Kolsky 2011
96 Managing Agile Projects Sanjiv Augustine 2005
97 Business Patterns for Software Developers Allan Kelly 2012
98 Adapting Configuration Management for Agile Teams: Balancing Sustainability and Speed Mario E. Moreira 2009
99 Agile Software Engineering with Visual Studio: From Concept to Continuous Feedback (2nd Edition) Sam Guckenheimer, Neno Loje 2011
100 Agile ALM: Lightweight Tools and Agile Strategies Michael Hüttermann 2011

Management 3.0Are you curious to know what managers can do in an Agile organization? 

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Management 3.0

Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders

I am an Amazon affiliate. By purchasing a book from this list you help me pay for this blog. And for coffee.

(image borrowed from the Pacific Rim game)

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This article is written by on in Top Lists. Jurgen Appelo is at Happy Melly. Connect with Jurgen Appelo on .

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  • Lucianadrian

    A very welcome refresh, and an important bookmark in my browser.
    Apparently I will need to stay off the browser for a while :) with that many books, but on the other side, there are books as old as 2001.
    Nice work :) and again ..thank you for building this important list!

  • Linda Van der Pal

    Now I’m curious what made you change your mind on the ordering of the existing items on the list.
    Mind you, I’m not asking for a full analysis, but would like to know one or two possible reasons that influenced your decision.

  • Jurgen Appelo

    It seems you misunderstand. I don’t decide on the ordering. The ordering depends on average ratings, number of reviews, and age. As I described in the post. These numbers change, therefore the positions change.

  • Linda Van der Pal

    Ah, then I did indeed minsunderstand. Thanks for the explanation! I’ll try to read more carefully in the future. *blush*

  • Jurgen Appelo

    No problem. I’m _glad_ I don’t have to decide on ordering myself! That would be difficult with my own books among them. :)

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  • Linda Crispin

    Nice list. I’d add Agile Management for Software Engineering: Applying the Theory of Constraints for Business Results by David Anderson and

    The Scrumban [R]Evolution: Getting the Most Out of Agile, Scrum, and Lean Kanban by Ajay Reddy

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