Systems Thinking29

Evan's Book Reviews: Business Process Edition

Evan Leybourn

February 3, 2019


I read a lot - not all of it related to agile or business management, but enough. Below are some of the important books that have shaped my thinking (and writing). Not all of them a great (as you can see from my ranking), but they all contain some interesting ideas. This group of reviews will focus on those books that relate to business agility. 

This post contains Amazon affilliate links.

The Goal - A Process of Ongoing Improvement

Author: Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox

The theory of constraints is such a simple idea that you wonder why it wasn't codified earlier. Regardless, "The Goal" is a great read and by portraying the ideas in a story format is a wonderful change from the traditional textbook style. However, that is also my main criticism; in that it takes nearly 400 pages to describe, what is ultimately, a very simple idea. Still I'd definitely recommend that it should be on everyone's bookshelf.

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Buy a copy: Amazon link 

The Checklist Manifesto

Author: Atul Gawande

You may think that 200 pages on the history and value of the checklist would be boring. You'd be wrong. This is one of the most engrossing and interesting book on business practices that I've ever read. It's even surprising at times. e.g. I had no idea that something as simple and obvious as a checklist was actually a fairly modern invention. Definitely read this one.

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Buy a copy: Amazon link

The Black Swan

Author: Nassim Nicholas Taleb

This is, by far, the best book on risk and risk management out there. Informative, enlightening and entertaining; this book takes a profound look at the impact of the unexpected, and unexpectable (if such a word exists), on the world we live in. On the downside, Taleb often over-extends his metaphors and comes across as overly antagonistic on traditional thinking and thinkers.

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Buy a copy: Amazon link

Waltzing With Bears

Author: Tom DeMarco

One of the best books on risk management I’ve ever read. Too many organisations to not understand how to identify, treat and mitigate risks. And those that do, often overcompensate. Waltzing with Bears takes readers on a journey of risk and risk management in a very entertaining and enlightening way. My only criticism of the book; in many places Tom doesn’t support his statements with sufficient evidence. Any much of the evidence that is put forward in anecdotal, qualitative or statistically insignificant. That being said, I would recommend this book to any new software or project manager.

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Buy a copy: Amazon link

The Management and Control of Quality

Author: James R. Evans and by William M. Lindsay

Practical in its approach yet comprehensive in its breadth. The Management & Control of Quality is a great examination of quality management. I loved the case studies and the accessible style of writing.

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Buy a copyAmazon link

ITIL and the Software Lifecycle

Author: Brian Johnson, and John Higgins

A Novel take on ITIL; applying it to the SDLC. Well written, although mostly theoretical, I would suggest this book is mostly relevant to organizations with heavy ITIL service management divisions.

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐

Buy a copyAmazon link

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