In May of 2018, I published this Back to Basics post -

The intent was to refocus attention back to some of the original thinking and mindset of the early days of agile. Not to sound too nostalgic, but life was much simpler then.

I want to add to the list I shared then:

If you want to get back to the roots of agility I encourage you to research the following…

And you might want to investigate how Spotify is implementing agile practices. Not putting them up on a pedestal but considering them a role model for learning the basics of agility in practice.

Here’s some additions for your research & learning:

  • One of the earliest books that captured my attention when I was actively writing code every day was the Pragmatic Programmer by Andy Hunt and David Thomas in 1999. It presented a set of principles and tactics in how best to deliver software. To this day, I think it’s relevant and valuable to agile team members.

  • Another book that made a strong impression on me early on, was Scrum & XP From the Trenches by Henrik Kniberg. It was short, practical, visual, and helped to describe what those two methods looked like when simply applied. The first edition was published in 2007, but he made a free PDF available a few years before that.

  • I can’t believe I missed this in the original post, but you should read (and reread) the Agile Manifesto. It’s worth studying and thinking about more deeply. Many react to the manifesto with a contrarian attitude, looking for things to argue about. I’d recommend embracing it entirely and looking for the “possibilities” it creates in our thinking.

  • There’s a video that explores the Product Owner role and it’s also done by Henrik Kniberg. I don’t care if you’re doing Scrum or not. You should watch this video and take notes. It has so many great insights embedded within it that help achieve agile maturity. For that role and beyond. Yes, take notes and watch it more than 5 times.

  • The another, more recent video where Steven Denning talk about the essence of agility. He talks about it being a mindset and shares his 3-Laws of Business Agility. It’s about 18 minutes in length and I highly recommend watching it.

  • And finally, Diana Larsen and James Shore are instigating another back-to-basics movement with their Agile Fluency model. Both of them are long-time contributors to the agile community and original thinkers. Martin Fowler explores Agile Fluency in this post -

Wrapping Up

There you have it. Another set of basic references and models for you to explore.  

Hopefully they help you to visualize a simpler time when agile simply worked without a lot of fanfare, frameworks, certifications, and anti-patterns.

Stay agile my friends,