Top 100 Agile Books (Edition 2012)

Note: this is an old list. Go here for the Top 100 Agile Books 2013.

It took me four hours, three coffees, two toilet breaks, and one unpredictable wi-fi connection, but here it is… the annual Top 100 Agile Books 2012, based on ratings from Amazon and GoodReads.

There are some amazing changes at the top of the list this year. Most notable is the new entry at #1 of The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries. Clearly deserved, as the whole Agile community has been talking about it all year.

But that’s not all.

Specification by Example, by Gojko Adzic, makes a spectacular jump to the 2nd slot in the list. The Scrum Field Guide, by Mitch Lacey, has skyrocketed into the list at #7. And The Culture Game, by Dan Mezick, also makes a remarkable new entry at #39.

As for the rest, I suggest you see for yourself…

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

Get the book!

Management 3.0

Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders

(For last year’s list see: Top 100 Agile Books, Edition 2011)

TY LY Title Author(s) GR Year
1 The Lean Startup Eric Ries Goodreads 2011
2 32 Specification by Example: How Successful Teams Deliver the Right Software Gojko Adzic Goodreads 2011
3 5 Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum Mike Cohn Goodreads 2009
4 1 The Art of Unit Testing: With Examples in .Net Roy Osherove Goodreads 2009
5 9 The Agile Samurai: How Agile Masters Deliver Great Software Jonathan Rasmusson Goodreads 2010
6 2 Agile Estimating and Planning Mike Cohn Goodreads 2005
7 The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice for Your First Year Mitch Lacey Goodreads 2012
8 7 Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices Robert C. Martin Goodreads 2002
9 6 Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship Robert C. Martin Goodreads 2008
10 8 Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code Martin Fowler, et al. Goodreads 1999
11 3 Working Effectively with Legacy Code Michael Feathers Goodreads 2004
12 10 The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master Andrew Hunt,
David Thomas
Goodreads 1999
13 50 Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation Jez Humble,
David Farley
Goodreads 2010
14 12 Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests Steve Freeman,
Nat Pryce
Goodreads 2009
15 4 Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business David J. Anderson Goodreads 2010
16 15 Scrum and XP from the Trenches Henrik Kniberg Goodreads 2007
17 Agile in a Flash: Speed-Learning Agile Software Development *) Jeff Langr, Tim Ottinger Goodreads 2011
18 11 User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development Mike Cohn Goodreads 2004
19 34 The Clean Coder Robert C. Martin Goodreads 2011
20 17 Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software Eric Evans Goodreads 2003
21 14 The Art of Agile Development James Shore,
Shane Warden
Goodreads 2007
22 13 The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development Donald G. Reinertsen Goodreads 2009
23 45 Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders Jurgen Appelo Goodreads 2011
24 16 Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit Mary Poppendieck,
Tom Poppendieck
Goodreads 2003
25 22 Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management Scott Berkun Goodreads 2008
26 44 The Elements of Scrum Chris Sims, Hillary Louise Johnson Goodreads 2011
27 29 xUnit Test Patterns: Refactoring Test Code Gerard Meszaros Goodreads 2007
28 93 Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise Dean Leffingwell Goodreads 2010
29 18 Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C# Robert C. Martin,
Micah Martin
Goodreads 2006
30 33 Managing the Design Factory Donald G. Reinertsen Goodreads 1997
31 20 Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash Mary Poppendieck,
Tom Poppendieck
Goodreads 2006
32 26 Agile Coaching Rachel Davies,
Liz Sedley
Goodreads 2009
33 21 Practices of an Agile Developer: Working in the Real World Venkat Subramaniam,
Andy Hunt
Goodreads 2005
34 Test Driven Development for Embedded C *) James Grenning Goodreads 2011
35 69 Bridging the Communication Gap: Specification by Example and Agile Acceptance Testing Gojko Adzic Goodreads 2009
36 24 Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management Johanna Rothman,
Esther Derby
Goodreads 2005
37 35 Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great Esther Derby,
Diana Larsen
Goodreads 2006
38 25 Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams Alistair Cockburn Goodreads 2004
39 31 Writing Effective Use Cases Alistair Cockburn Goodreads 2000
40 27 Applied Software Project Management Andrew Stellman,
Jennifer Greene
Goodreads 2005
41 The Culture Game: Tools for the Agile Manager Dan Mezick Goodreads 2012
42 48 The Concise Executive Guide to Agile Israel Gat Goodreads 2010
43 30 Manage Your Project Portfolio: Increase Your Capacity and Finish More Projects Johanna Rothman Goodreads 2009
44 19 Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams Lisa Crispin,
Janet Gregory
Goodreads 2009
45 38 Refactoring to Patterns Joshua Kerievsky Goodreads 2004
46 40 The Productive Programmer Neal Ford Goodreads 2008
47 39 Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change (1st+2nd Edition) Kent Beck,
Cynthia Andres
Goodreads 1999
48 42 Agile and Iterative Development: A Manager’s Guide Craig Larman Goodreads 2003
49 62 Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play Luke Hohmann Goodreads 2006
50 92 Agile Game Development with Scrum Clinton Keith Goodreads 2010
51 58 Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition Lyssa Adkins Goodreads 2010
52 Lessons in Agile Management: On the Road to Kanban David J. Anderson Goodreads 2012
53 36 Agile Project Management with Scrum Ken Schwaber Goodreads 2004
54 51 Requirements by Collaboration Ellen Gottesdiener Goodreads 2002
55 97 Agile Software Development with Distributed Teams Jutta Eckstein Goodreads 2010
56 Agile Project Management For Dummies Mark C. Layton Goodreads 2012
57 46 Test Driven Development: By Example Kent Beck Goodreads 2002
58 52 Manage It!: Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management Johanna Rothman Goodreads 2007
59 28 Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products (2nd Edition) Jim Highsmith Goodreads 2009
60 55 Leading Lean Software Development: Results Are not the Point Mary Poppendieck,
Tom Poppendieck
Goodreads 2009
61 Lean from the Trenches: Managing Large-Scale Projects with Kanban Henrik Kniberg Goodreads 2011
62 47 Agile Software Development with Scrum Ken Schwaber,
Mike Beedle
Goodreads 2001
63 54 Organizational Patterns of Agile Software Development James O. Coplien,
Neil B. Harrison
Goodreads 2004
64 The Power of Scrum Jeff Sutherland, Rini van Solingen, Eelco Rustenburg Goodreads 2011
65 Liftoff: Launching Agile Teams & Projects Diana Larsen,
Ainsley Nies
Goodreads 2011
66 37 Agile Adoption Patterns: A Roadmap to Organizational Succes Amr Elssamadisy Goodreads 2008
67 41 Agile Product Management with Scrum: Creating Products that Customers Love Roman Pichler Goodreads 2010
68 49 Continuous Integration: Improving Software Quality and Reducing Risk Paul M. Duvall,
Steve Matyas,
Andrew Glover
Goodreads 2007
69 56 Ship it! A Practical Guide to Successful Software Projects Jared Richardson,
William A. Gwaltney
Goodreads 2005
70 99 Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises Dean Leffingwell Goodreads 2007
71 59 Collaboration Explained: Facilitation Skills for Software Project Leaders Jean Tabaka Goodreads 2006
72 60 Beyond Software Architecture: Creating and Sustaining Winning Solutions Luke Hohmann Goodreads 2003
73 78 Agile Excellence for Product Managers: A Guide to Creating Winning Products with Agile Development Teams Greg Cohen Goodreads 2010
74 43 Stand Back and Deliver: Accelerating Business Agility Pollyanna Pixton, Niel Nickolaisen, Todd Little, Kent McDonald Goodreads 2009
75 61 Changing Software Development: Learning to Become Agile Allan Kelly Goodreads 2008
76 76 The Software Project Manager’s Bridge to Agility Michele Sliger,
Stacia Broderick
Goodreads 2008
77 57 Kanban and Scrum – Making the Most of Both Henrik Kniberg,
Mattias Skarin
Goodreads 2010
78 Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process Kenny Rubin Goodreads 2012
79 94 The Enterprise Unified Process: Extending the Rational Unified Process Scott W. Ambler,
John Nalbone,
Michael J. Vizdos
Goodreads 2005
80 23 Beautiful Testing: Leading Professionals Reveal How They Improve Software Adam Goucher,
Tim Riley
Goodreads 2009
81 53 Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum Craig Larman,
Bas Vodde
Goodreads 2008
82 63 Just Enough Requirements Management: Where Software Development Meets Marketing Alan Mark Davis Goodreads 2005
83 91 Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life Jim Benson, Tonianne DeMaria Barry Goodreads 2011
84 66 Extreme Programming Installed Ron Jeffries, Ann Anderson, Chet Hendrickson Goodreads 2000
85 67 Beautiful Teams: Inspiring and Cautionary Tales from Veteran Team Leaders Andrew Stellman,
Jennifer Greene
Goodreads 2009
86 65 Implementation Patterns Kent Beck Goodreads 2006
87 64 Agility and Discipline Made Easy: Practices from OpenUP and RUP Per Kroll,
Bruce MacIsaac
Goodreads 2006
88 68 Refactoring Databases: Evolutionary Database Design Scott W. Ambler, Pramodkumar J. Sadalage Goodreads 2006
89 75 Test Driven: TDD and Acceptance TDD for Java Developers Lasse Koskela Goodreads 2007
90 71 Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game (2nd Edition) Alistair Cockburn Goodreads 2006
91 74 Emergent Design: The Evolutionary Nature of Professional Software Development Scott L. Bain Goodreads 2008
92 73 Becoming Agile: …in an Imperfect World Greg Smith,
Ahmed Sidky
Goodreads 2008
93 79 Managing Agile Projects Kevin J. Aguanno Goodreads 2005
94 Software in 30 Days: How Agile Managers Beat the Odds… Ken Schwaber,
Jeff Sutherland
Goodreads 2012
95 Essential Skills for the Agile Developer Alan Shalloway, Scott Bain, Ken Pugh, Amir Kolsky Goodreads 2011
96 70 Managing Agile Projects Sanjiv Augustine Goodreads 2005
97 Business Patterns for Software Developers Allan Kelly Goodreads 2012
98 Adapting Configuration Management for Agile Teams: Balancing Sustainability and Speed Mario E. Moreira Goodreads 2009
99 Agile Software Engineering with Visual Studio: From Concept to Continuous Feedback (2nd Edition) Sam Guckenheimer,
Neno Loje
Goodreads 2011
100 Agile ALM: Lightweight Tools and Agile Strategies Michael Hüttermann Goodreads 2011

TY = position this year

LY = position last year

*) UPDATE 24-8-2012: Added to the list one week after original publication

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

Get the book!

Management 3.0

Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders

This list is based on quality (averate ratings) and quantity (number of ratings), both on and The age of the books also played a minor factor in the calculations. (Older books should keep acquiring new ratings, or else they drop in the list.)

Basically, I created four different rankings: (1) average Amazon rating, (2) number of Amazon ratings, (3) average GoodReads rating, (4) number of GoodReads ratings, (5) age of book in days since release. Then I calculated the average score of the books across these rankings (where age had only half the weight compared to the others), and then I turned this into the final ranking. The result is a list that reflects books with the most and the best ratings, weighed according to the time span in which they were able to earn those ratings.

Next week I will show you the new books that didn’t make it…

Wait! Don't stop reading now. I have some more interesting lists for you:

My new book Managing for Happiness is available from June 2016.

Managing for Happiness cover (front)
Related Posts
free book
“How to Change the World”
  • J Laskowska

    The nice list of Kanban/Lean books

  • PM Hut

    It’s good to see that both Johanna Rothman and Esther Derby have multiple books on this list. Both are great advocates of Agile and they both deserve to be on this list.

  • Mathias Verraes

    Great list 🙂 Would it be a lot of trouble to publish it in a more malleable format than html? Like csv, google doc, … anything that would allow me to put it somewhere and keep track of what I’ve read.

  • Jurgen Appelo

    Yes, that would be too much trouble for me.
    So why don’t you do it, and I will happily link to it. 🙂

  • PC Teiosanu

    Curiosity: How many of these books have you read 🙂 ?

  • Jurgen Appelo

    Between 20 and 30.

  • Pingback: 62: Gojko Adzic: Fifty Quick Ideas to Improve your Tests - Test Talks

How to Change the World - free Workout - free