My Books

Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great

by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen

Available from the Pragmatic Bookshelf.

Project retrospectives help teams examine what went right and what went wrong on a project. But traditionally, retrospectives (also known as “post-mortems”) are only held at the end of the project–too late to help. You need agile retrospectives that are iterative and incremental. You need to accurately find and fix problems to help the team today.

Now Esther and Diana show you the tools, tricks and tips you need to fix the problems you face on a software development project on an on-going basis. You’ll see how to architect retrospectives in general, how to design them specifically for your team and organization, how to run them effectively, how to make the needed changes and how to scale these techniques up. You’ll learn how to deal with problems, and implement solutions effectively throughout the project–not just at the end.

This book will help you:

  • Design and run effective retrospectives
  • Learn how to find and fix problems
  • Find and reinforce team strengths
  • Address people issues as well as technological
  • Use tools and recipes proven in the real world

Agile Retrospectives is available in Japanese and Korean.

Center Enter Turn Sustain: Essays in Change Artistry

Center Enter Turn Sustain: Essays on Change Artistry
by Esther Derby, Don Gray, Johanna Rothman, and Jerry Weinberg

This collection is available in PDF, mobi and epub formats on LeanPub

A Change Artist is someone whose presence improves everyone’s chance
of making a positive change. Change Artists don’t drive change. They know that supporting deep change requires empathy, systems-savvy, and an array of other skills.

Learn to Center, Enter, Turn, and Sustain change with masters of change artistry.  In this collection of essays, you’ll find guidance on:

  • connecting with others to help them change
  • listening for the wisdom behind “resistance”
  • making change a productive, creative event
  • negotiating for what is needed
  • seeing and influencing underlying structures and systems
  • observing exactly what is happening
  • recognizing the stages of change and act in a way that supports both people and change.

Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management

by Johanna Rothman and Esther Derby

Now available from the Pragmatic Bookshelf

Great management is difficult to see as it occurs. It’s possible to see the results of great management, but it’s not easy to see how managers achieve those results. Great management happens in one-on-one meetings and with other managers—all in private. It’s hard to learn management by example when you can’t see it.

You can learn to be a better manager—even a great manager—with this guide. You’ll follow along as Sam, a manager just brought on board, learns the ropes and deals with his new team over the course of his first seven weeks on the job. From organizing who works on what project when, to helping team members grow and prosper, you’ll be there as Sam makes it happen. You’ll find powerful tips covering:

  • Delegating effectively
  • Using feedback and goal-setting
  • Developing influence
  • Handling one-on-one meetings
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Deciding what work to do-and what not to do
  • …and more!

Full of tips and practical advice on the most important aspects of management, this is one of those books that can make a lasting and immediate impact on your career.

Managers all over the world are reading Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management.  The book is currently available in Arabic, Chinese, and Korean, plus a special Indian re-print.