20 Books Every Delivery Manager Should Read

published on 27 October 2022

When you work as a Delivery Manager it is essential that you are ready to overcome challenges, explore opportunities, and enable teams. The best way to be prepared for anything you might encounter is to expand your knowledge.

By learning about different disciplines, practices, and perspectives you will be better equipped to support teams to increase their effectiveness, uncover their potential, and deliver value.

From coaching to creativity, DevOps to delegation, whatever your interest, there is a book here for you to add to your “to be read” list.

1. Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition by Lyssa Adkins:

In Coaching Agile Teams, Lyssa Adkins covers key aspects of agile coaching, including goal setting, delivering feedback, and dealing with conflict; all of which are crucial for developing your coaching skills. This guide highlights ways to increase agility and enable project and product teams to achieve success.

2. Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan:

Understanding more of the product journey can be highly beneficial for you as a Delivery Manager. It highlights what is required to deliver value to customers more effectively. Inspired covers customer discovery, product vision, and the product roadmap process while concentrating on the importance of meeting customer needs.

3. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier:

Michael Bungay Stanier encourages you to practise coaching techniques in order to become a better leader. In the book, he advises you to start with active listening, giving feedback, and asking the right questions to help you hone your skills to be the best leader and coach you can be.

4. Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp: 

Sprint illustrates how to solve big problems at a rapid pace. Jake Knapp outlines a five day plan for ideation, prototyping, and testing new ideas to get you thinking and acting quickly, to help teams kick start their next project or product at pace.

5. When Will It Be Done?: Lean-Agile Forecasting to Answer Your Customers' Most Important Question by Dan Vacanti:

“When will it be done?” is a question we’ve all heard one too many times. Dan Vacanti’s book tackles business forecasting and comprehensively instructs on release planning, capacity planning, and story point estimation. 

6. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Dan Pink:

To enable others, you should understand what motivates, and frequently, how to motivate, a team. Drive explores what truly motivates us as human beings, covering extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation, autonomy, and purposeful work, to enable you to support a more motivated culture within the team.

7. Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers Into Leaders by L. David Marquet:  

Turn the Ship Around! tells the story of how one man turned around a failing ship by empowering its crew members. Leadership, delegation and communication are key themes within the book, which is an inspiring read for anyone interested in understanding how they could better support an ineffective team or business.

8. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries: 

The Lean Startup takes the best bits of methodologies used by today’s startups and explores how they can be implemented into a variety of business contexts, including startups, scaleups, or multinationals. It covers customer development, rapid experimentation and importantly, how to pivot, in order to maximise a business or team’s potential.

9. Team Topologies: Organizing Business and Technology Teams for Fast Flow by Matthew Skelton & Manuel Pais: 

Understanding how teams communicate and the role they play in an organisation is key to enabling them. Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais describe the impact that structure can have on cognitive load. Team Topologies will help you to understand how the design of the organisation might be limiting the team, including their ability to deliver value.

10. The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, & George Spafford: 

The Phoenix Project is a fictional story that explores the world and intersections of IT, DevOps, and business in a narrative style. It covers ITIL, DevOps culture, and business transformation, and is ideal if you want an alternative to the usual non-fiction style of writing.

11. Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations by Nicole Forsgren PhD, Jez Humble, & Gene Kim: 

There are different approaches to delivering value, but being able to build and scale successful products is always challenging. Accelerate explores continuous delivery, value stream mapping, and scaling, to kick start your ability to apply lean software development and DevOps practices.

12. The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate at Startups and Corporations by Dan Olsen:

Whether you work at a startup, scaleup, or a large scale corporation, there is something for you in Dan Olsen’s book. It covers Product Management and customer development while helping you to expand your knowledge of lean principles, and bring new ideas to the team’s product development process.

13. Learning Agile: Understanding Scrum, XP, Lean, and Kanban by Andrew Stellman & Jennifer Greene:

This book is a great starting point if you are new to the world of agile delivery. It covers the basics of what agile is and how it can be used to improve your team's effectiveness. If you’re looking for a complete introduction to agile, then Andrew Stellman and Jennifer Greene’s Learning Agile is for you.

14. Sooner Safer Happier: Antipatterns and Patterns for Business Agility by Jonathan Smart: 

Sooner Safer Happier explores patterns and anti-patterns to increase the delivery of value, while helping you to connect the cultural and technological aspects of technology development. Jonathan Smart enables you to bring lean principles into your Product Management process while understanding your teams and people more effectively.

15. Radical Candor: How to Get What You Want by Saying What You Mean by Kim Scott:

Radical Candor is a masterclass in giving and receiving feedback. Kim Scott highlights how to create a culture of honest, but helpful and empathetic discussion, that is crucial to Delivery Management and coaching. It ultimately highlights how to productively challenge your colleagues to perform at their best.

16. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek:

Simon Sinek explores purpose, inspiration, and motivation in order to supercharge products and businesses. Start With Why covers how to support teams to discover success by inspiring and motivating rather than manipulating them.

17. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon:

Steal Like an Artist is all about creativity, and how true creativity is about honouring your inspirations and heroes by working iteratively. It examines the nuanced differences between inspiration and imitation, with tips on how to initiate a new creative journey. A short but inspiring read from Austin Kleon. 

18. Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice by the Best in the World by Timothy Ferriss:

If you are feeling troubled by some of life's biggest questions then Tribe of Mentors is the book for you. Timothy Ferriss offers insights and advice from a broad array of mentors, whether they are sporting superstars or business leaders. The unique perspectives they share can help you to improve results, get unstuck, and consider new approaches.

19. Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value by Melissa Perri: 

In this book Melissa Perri tackles the “build trap”, where companies that are growing quickly rush to create new products or features while forgetting to ask the all important “why”. Escaping the Build Trap covers Product Management, agile development, and innovation, while keeping customer value at the front of your mind. 

20. Measure What Matters: OKRs - The Simple Idea That Drives 10x Growth by John Doerr: 

Set and achieve your goals with Measure What Matters. If you’re struggling to get to grips with goal setting, measuring progress, and accountability, then John Doerr’s exploration of these topics and more will help you to understand how Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) can enable teams to set and smash targets.

These twenty books should be enough to get you started with an exciting Delivery Management “to be read” list, or you could cherry pick the books you feel will supplement your existing knowledge the most.

Of course, we should add a number 21 to this list; Delivery Management by Jonny Williams. Delivery Management is the ultimate guide for enabling teams to deliver value. You can buy your copy on Amazon today, or choose from an assortment of other retailers.

No matter what your interests are, there is sure to be a book on this list that will help you to become a more effective Delivery Manager. So, what are you waiting for? Start reading today!


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