Essential Scrum – A Book Review
Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process is considered a complete reference about this particular product development strategy. More than just a process, Scrum as a framework and an organizational structure provides answers and solutions in helping companies develop products of value. However, along with answers, it also brings certain questions, particularly to the role and responsibility of the project manager in this new structure. The book gives one of the most comprehensive discussions on the subject to the relief and delight of many people.
This first paperback edition was published on August 5, 2012. It is about 1.2 inches thick and contains 504 pages. It belongs to the Addison-Wesley Signature Series of software-related books with a common theme of photo images, fonts, and colors at the front cover. ISBN-10: 0137043295; ISBN-13: 978-0137043293.
Essential Scrum is for members of software development teams and other project teams following agile process or Scrum framework. It is for project managers both new and experienced with this framework so they can get a better understanding of the core values and new roles they play to implement it successfully. It is also for corporate IT leadership, high-level managers, or anyone in the organization that the team has to interact with.
What Customers Say
Roger Brown, a Scrum coach and trainer, described Ken Rubin’s book as an excellent introduction for beginners and a good reference for practitioners. In particular, the solid, practical descriptions of planning and meetings were great for both the new and the veteran who may have strayed from the recommended practice.
For Ilan Goldstein, this Scrum book is not only very comprehensive but also the most current about the topic. It was well written, easy on the eye, and even covers advanced topics such as portfolio planning.
What Michael Soza liked the most were the very clear and educational diagrams, the use of many examples to explain the concepts, and a bottom-up approach in presenting the topics.
Content, Approach, Style
Essential Scrum is composed of an introduction in Chapter 1, four parts dividing Chapter 2 through 22, and a discussion of the path forward in Chapter 23. The four parts are divided into the core concepts, the roles, planning, and sprinting. For example, the core concepts presented in Chapter 2 to 8 discuss about the framework, agile principles, and sprints, to name a few.
The book is written with the assumption from the author that it will be read linearly from front to back. Therefore, the concepts and discussion tend to build on one another. However, the more familiar readers can jump directly to the chapter they are interested with. The author does recommend that all read Chapter 3 Agile Principles in its entirety as it forms the foundation of Scrum and the remainder of the topics. The author is praised for introducing a visual icon language that immensely helped explain and clarify an already well-written and easy-to-understand practical guide.
Why Buy the Book
Scrum may have begun as a simple framework, but it has become complex in implementation. Essential Scrum is a single-source reference of knowledge that presents the critical principles, values and practices which if not properly understood and applied will certainly result in poor implementation. This practical guide enables the reader to choose the right approaches fit for their organization and still stay true to the framework.
Books that Complement
Agile Project Management for Dummies by Mark Layton is a great introduction about agile process and the new roles and responsibilities that should be adopted by the project team for a smoother transformation.
Scott Berkun’s Making Things Happen is a great book for, but not limited to, software project teams. Topics about plans, skills, and management are presented in essay format with a dash of wit and humor making it an enjoyable and thought-provoking read.
Kenneth S. Rubin graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a B.S. degree in Information and Computer Science and then from Stanford University with an M.S. degree. He has extensive object-oriented programming background as a Smalltalk developer. He worked in one of the software companies that pioneered Scrum, and has successfully taken different roles including a member of a Scrum development team, ScrumMaster, and Product Owner. He has held VP, COO, and CEO roles and was the first Managing Director of the Scrum Alliance. He continues to provide training and coaching of agile and Scrum for companies trying to develop products effectively and economically.