Skep's reading list

These are some of the books I consider REALLY important for me on the topic of managing IT

These are books that
a) one can read, maybe not cover to cover but a read nonetheless
b) changed or expanded the way I personally think about IT

It is a personal subjective list, and it doesn't pretend to be comprehensive. There are hundreds of ITSM books, hundreds more on IT management, and thousands more on management in general. I learned a lot from the following books and most of them I have read several times or gone back to over and over:

  • Service Management and Operations, Haksever Render Russell and Murdick
    The classic work on SM. A genuine text-book. Everyone in ITSM should read this book as a (true) foundation.
  • ITIL 2011 Service Strategy, Cannon (Cabinet Office)
    More accessible, almost readable :), full of meaty goodness, an indispensible reference.
  • ITIL V3 Planning to Implement Service Management, Rudd (OGC)
    A classic for planning any initiative. It was a useful book in V2 and still is in the V3 update. It is obvious that many people haven't read it.
  • COBIT 5 A Business Framework
    COBIT 5 is my primary over-arching framework for IT. I start here.
  • COBIT 5 Enabling Processes
    The meat of COBIT 5.
  • Foundations of ITSM Based on ITIL V3, van Bon et al
    More compact, accessible and useful than the actual ITIL books.
  • Architecture & Patterns For IT, Betz. The definitive analysis of IT. The huge quantity of architectural models are spot-on and invaluable. And the narrative discussions are awesome.
  • Balanced Diversity, Ferris
    The biggest thing to happen to IT in years: an analytical framework for culture change.
  • The Guide to the USMBOK, Clayton
    The definitive description of service management. Sure it is one guy's view but what a view from up here.
  • Designing and Transforming IT Organisations, Ten Hagen
    Often suffers from ETF but a useful analysis of all the moving parts of an organisation and how to adjust them.
  • How to Measure Anything, Hubbard
    Changed the way I think about metrics.
  • The Quantum Age of IT, Araujo.
    A little more apocalyptic and revolutionary than me, but a clear call to arms for IT to transform, both as organisations and individuals.
  • Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2
    The definitive approach to project management. The USA has to get over PMI and accept that systematic method trumps a bucket of techniques.
  • Directing Successful Projects with PRINCE2
    The real problem with IT projects isn't execution, it is management (and governance). 1000 times more managers need to read this book.
  • Governance of IT, Holt. The definitive guide to Governance of IT, and the ISO38500 standard. A handle little accessible book that everybody should own.
  • Waltzing with the Elephant, Toomey
    A more extended practical guide to the execution of Governance of IT.
  • Kanban and Scrum, Kniberg and Skarin
    A great little introductory guide to both.
  • The Mythical Man Month, Brooks
    The classic work that should have nailed this myth decades ago but obviously still hasn't. I'm onto my third copy (if you've got one of the first two, you might as well keep it)
  • The Checklist Manifesto, Gawande
    Changed the way I think about execution of IT operations. Why dont' we use checklists like pilots do?
    Inspired my free IT checklists webpage
  • The Real Business of IT, Hunter and Westerman
    There have been a number of books that tried to bring a consciousness of business to IT. I liked this one.
  • Mastering the Unpredictable, Swenson
    Expanded my IT world to include case management
    kicked off Standard+Case.
  • First Break All the Rules, Buckingham and Coffman
    Changed the way I think about managing people.
  • Taming Change, Durbin and Doerscher
    A good description of a neglected technique: managing by portfolios
  • Defining IT Success Through the Service Catalog, DuMoulin Flores and Fine
    My favourite reference on service catalogues
  • The Phoenix Project, Kim Behr and Spafford
    This is going to be an influential book, changing perceptions of IT operations.
  • IT Governance, Weill and Ross
    The definitive work on the business aspects of Governance of IT. The yin to Waltzing With the Elephant's yang
  • Visible Ops, Kim Behr and Spafford
    A hugely influential book. I think it is over-used, I'll review it one day. But it deserves a place here.

And on my pile of books that stares accusingly across my office at me (all have been highly recommended to me):

  • The Principles of Product Development Flow, Reinertsen
  • Lean IT, Bell and Orzen
  • Continuous Delivery, Humble and Farley
    Currently I've loaned it to a client. Too dense for me, but if you are into the detail of how to execute Continuous Delivery, this is reportedly the definitive book.

I violated my own criteria of "IT management books" with Buckingham, Hubbard, and Gawande, since they have so influenced my ITSM thinking, but I don't want to open the flood-gates to generic management books or we'll be here all day. I skipped Drucker, de Bono and a bunch of others for that reason.

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