A Stack of Business Books


The beginning of July is a good point to take a step back and consider the path of you are on, 2017 is just over half over.  A retrospective of sorts is in order.  Just like any other retrospective, the goal is to change the trajectory of the path you are on.  Changing the path you are on is important even if 2017 has been the best year ever.  As leaders, we often exhort those around us to embrace continuous process improvement as a path to improve our teams or organizations.  Just as important as process improvement is the need for continuous personal improvement.  As a first step towards continuous process improvement, every person should identify the goal they are working toward.  The next step toward that goal needs to be the most important task (MIT) you address every day.  One of my primary personal goals is to not get stuck in a rut and to continue learning.  My most important task, every day is to take a step on the path towards continuous learning.  Planning my day begins with identifying my MIT for the day, whether that is researching and writing a blog entry, recording and editing an interview for the Software Process and Measurement Cast or reading a few pages in a book one of my first tasks begins by checking my MIT off the list.

The idea of identifying and addressing your MIT early in the day is not a new concept.  Kevin Kruse (SPaMCAST 398 and 262), New York Times bestselling author, serial entrepreneur and podcaster, wrote, “Put simply, the most important things are to know what to focus on and how you are going to get it done. I call this always knowing your MIT: the most important task.”  Putting your MIT first every day ensures it gets done and you move one step closer to your ultimate goal. 

As a step towards my goal of continuous personal improvement, and perhaps as a tool to influence you to add continuous improvement to your list of priorities, I asked the  contributors to Software Process and Measurement Podcast to suggest one book for the blog readers and podcast listeners to read when they take their summer vacation (for those in the southern hemisphere any of these books would be great to read on a dark winter evening). The responses were:


  • Jeremy Berriault, QA Corner, recommends Explore It! by Elisabeth Hendrickson. This is Jeremy’s go-to book on exploratory testing.
  • Steve Tendon, the co-author of TameFlow, recommends Actionable Agile Analytics by Dan Vacanti.  Steve praises the book saying that it is a great contribution to anyone’s knowledge of flow and quantitative flow management.  He goes further to say that Dan’s book must be considered as mandatory reading for anybody implementing the TameFlow Approach.
  • Kim Pries, the Software Sensei, recommends The Interior Castle, by Saint Teresa of Avila.  When asked why he would recommend this book Kim said “she speaks to real transformation, which is always personal.   Nothing technical even comes close.”
  • Jon M Quigley, The Alpha and Omega of Product Development, recommends The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge.  Jon read the book as part of his MBA and that it had made a large impression.  Jon and I also talked about the concepts in the book for an upcoming column on the SPaMCAST.
  • Gene Hughson, Form Follows Function, recommended a book he is currently reading, Freakonomics.  Gene suggests that the book’s focus on the cause, effect, and motivation are important exercises for everyone involved in change.
  • Personally, I will pitch reading, The Science of Successful Organizational Change.  Steven Adam is leading a re-read of the book on Software Process and Measurement Blog (Re-read Saturday).  I am currently reading the book for the first time and it is simply eye-opening.

A wonderful step of recommendations.  Whether you are in the northern or southern hemispheres, it is a good time to step back and reflect on your goals.  Continuous personal improvement is critical to staying relevant and flexible in the dynamic world.  Make taking a step toward continuous personal improvement your MIT important by making time on your calendar to take a step forward first thing every day whether you are on the beach or sitting in your cozy study!