I’ve just written a friend an email with our curated list of resources to inspire teams to start working in a more modern way.
Looking at it, I think it makes a half decent blog post – so here it is!
Passion for customers: you can’t beat Seth Godin. I recommend 2 books – Meatball Sundae which will tell you why you need to think differently to amaze your customers in a digital world; and The Purple Cow for becoming remarkable (as opposed to perfect).
Passion for people: Dan Pink (motivating knowledge workers through autonomy, mastery and purpose) is the king here, though Simon Sinek (emphasising the ‘why’) is a close second. Luckily, YouTube is your friend here.
Agile product development: Steve Blank is the guru here, but being a Stanford lecturer his writing can seem a little impenetrable at times. Two of his students wrote this book which makes far more sense and gets to the point quickly: http://www.custdev.com/ also available on Amazon.
Lean startups: Eric Ries has some great ideas for people starting out, whether they are a real startup or just starting something new in an old world organisation: see some basic slides here, and his upcoming book (due September 2011).
Testing your ideas and products with real people: at Lonely Planet, applying the lessons in this book is how we started to seriously find out things about our digital products that we never knew before: http://www.amazon.com/Rocket-Surgery-Made-Easy-Yourself/dp/0321657292
There is a great online service mentioned in the back of the book that removes all barriers to you trying this approach of asking real customers what they think about your product or service, for about $35. No excuses! http://www.usertesting.com/
Lean as a new way of thinking: one great book, covering Toyota’s development of lean manufacturing (the parent of agile) is Jeff Liker’s book The Toyota Way. It gives you the basic premises of running a lean business with lots of examples.
If the nerdy tech stuff starts to fascinate you, then it’s hard to beat James Shore’s primer on agile software development. Any deeper than that then Martin Fowler’s blog is compulsory reading: http://martinfowler.com/
You’ll impress the pants off people if you can comprehend and quote from these principles: http://agilemanifesto.org/ and http://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html
Getting things done fast: no better book (or easier read) than Rework by 37 Signals. This puts a lot of the principles above into practice, and if you only read one book, this might be it.
And lastly, from a cultural and organizational change perspective, this is a toolset you should plan on using with your teams: http://www.human-synergistics.com.au/ plus they have a free conference in Melbourne later in the year that people should really try to find a way of getting to.
Working in an Agile way will change habits, and with careful planning those changes in habits can start a landslide of cultural change.
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