I’ve recently purchased and read Scrum by Jeff Sutherland and wanted to let you al know my thoughts.
First of all Jeff Sutherland along with Ken Schwaber invented Scrum back in the early 90’s making them the Scrum Gods and Jesus all rolled into one. Since then they have spread Scrum through various companies and organisations like Scrum Inc and involvement with others such as the Scrum Alliance. There are many people out there who are prepared to give you an opinion on Scrum (after all you are reading my own blog dedicated to my experiences with Scrum) but getting insights from one of the creators is invaluable. The insights gained from those first few sprints, the realisation of needing roles such as a Scrum Masters and Product Owners to the experiences of implementing Scrum in failing, successful and companies anywhere in between are what make this book such a great read in my opinion.
The first chapter of the book is perhaps the most concise to the point explanation as to why Scrum was invented and why anyone should try it in their organisation. Far too often I’ve dealt with Agile sceptics (100% of which are from a traditional way of working such as waterfall or prince2) and they ask me why Scrum is so much better and how it won’t work. From now on I will ask them to read this first chapter (and hopefully the whole book) to understand why things need to change. The story of the FBI’s Sentinel software project from the early 2000’s which had ran over budget and deadline rather drastically turned to Scrum and delivered ahead of schedule and at a tenth of the cost of the previous waterfall approach. If the FBI can leverage the Scrum framework like this then why can’t any of us on the projects we work on?
Jeff’s background as a fighter pilot in the American Airforce and shines through in the way he delivers the content. Most of us cannot relate to running a software project to flying a fighter jet in a combat situation but Jeff can and In my opinion really breaks down a lot of barriers I feel a lot of people misunderstand with Scrum in the book by keeping things simple and talking in terms of real world value. The American version of the book is titled “Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time” quite a bold claim but the book explains real world examples where teams working in this way have achieved just that (including one rather startling example where productivity increased 400%!). The book’s headline is…
A revolutionary approach to building teams, beating deadlines, and boosting productivity
… which I’m sure would have the anti-scrum vultures circling however reading the book it is plain to see just how true this statement is. Real world examples, simple to the point definitions of the roles (and perhaps more importantly why they were created) and tips on how to implement Scrum means that ANYONE can do this. I wish this book existed for years ago when i first started with Scrum as a lot of the pitfall I and teams i have worked with since have fallen into are mentioned int his book.
Each chapter in the book has a “Takeaway” summary which really helps reinforce the points made in each chapter and neatly sum up the points. Despite having read the book recently I’ve already found myself dipping back into the summaries for reminders of the book.
This book is one of the best scrum books that I have read and found it suited to someone with experience of Scrum but also feel anyone starting their journey with Scrum would also find this hugely beneficial.
Top work Jeff, if you are ever in London I’d love to buy you a beer and talk Scrum!
The book is available from most book shops but here are some links: