Scrum Shortcuts without Cutting Corners – A Book Review
Scrum Shortcuts without Cutting Corners: Agile Tactics, Tools, & Tips is a book that new and experienced Scrum practitioners will find very useful. It is a practical guide that shares the real-world experience of a Scrum professional in first-person essay form. It presents three shortcuts in each of the ten chapters that cover a wide area of how to implement the Scrum framework correctly. Although people may be wary of shortcuts, those presented in this book really work because they focus on people and help them work well.
This first paperback edition was published by Addison-Wesley on July 26, 2013 as part of the Mike Cohn Signature Book Series. It has 208 pages and about half an inch thick. It has the familiar book cover theme of gray-scaled photo background of a smaller colored picture with bright green accents. ISBN-10: 0321822366; ISBN-13: 978-0321822369
Scrum Shortcuts without Cutting Corners is ideal for people who have decided to implement Scrum but do not really know where to start. It is also for people who have started implementing Scrum but have suddenly realized it is not as easy to do as was expected. People who face unique situations or challenges not covered during the formal training but came about as they were implementing Scrum will find this book insightful and helpful.
What Customers Say
Arik Kogan described the book’s guidance as invaluable for Scrum teams. It is able to share shortcuts and tips on what to do and how to do it to continuously improve without going away from the important fundamentals of Scrum.
Charles Bradley wholeheartedly endorses Scrum Shortcuts without Cutting Corners. He described it as a short and digestible book highly suited for Scrum Masters because of its practical advices.
Robm (Goodreads) simply stated that it is the best Scrum book for both experts and beginners. It is easy to read and has many references and practical tips mixed with theory and occasional humor.
Content, Approach, Style
Scrum Shortcuts without Cutting Corners is divided in 10 chapters. In each of these chapters, the author introduces three shortcuts related to the chapter. For instance, Chapter 1 is titled Scrum Startup and is about answering the questions where and how to start and even why. The three shortcuts included are #1 Scrum on the Pitch or sales-pitching Scrum and its benefits, #2 Fragile Agile or avoiding the tendency to abuse agile principles, and #3 Creative Comfort or finding ways to improve team morale through appreciation, a collaborative working environment, and a sense of team identity and purpose. Chapter 2 is about Attitudes and Abilities; Chapter 3 is about Planning and Protecting, and so on.
The Scrum Shortcuts chapters are organized according to how a project would usually proceed using the framework. It starts with the fundamentals, proceeds with the roles and responsibilities, different project phases, and ends with metrics and reviews. However, the author stated that the reader is not obliged to read it sequentially. He uses plain language with occasional humor making it easy and fun to read.
Why Buy the Book
Scrum may sound simple in theory, but implementing it is anything but simple. Scrum Shortcuts without Cutting Corners shares one of the many possible approaches based on actual experience in implementing the Scrum framework. It is important to understand that embracing the framework in its entirety is a must. However, every organization will still have a unique implementation. The shortcuts presented will readily offer tried and tested options.
Books that Complement
Ken Rubin’s Essential Scrum is considered one of the best books written about the subject. It still remains as the first choice of many readers interested with Agile project management and Scrum.
Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins is another helpful book for transitional project managers or new agile coaches and Scrum Masters. It focuses on improving oneself to help teams understand their new roles and achieve greater performance.
Ilan Goldstein graduated from the University of Queensland. He is a PMP, an Agile Certified Practitioner, and a PRINCE2 Practitioner. He is also a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), ScrumMaster (CSM), Product Owner (CSPO) and Certified Scrum Professional (CSP). He has valuable experience working in the software industry with big and small companies, private and government entities, as well as universities. He is the Director of Scrum Australia, and the Director of AxisAgile, a Sydney-based Agile training, coaching and consulting company. He is also a speaker in conferences, blogger, and author of publications related to Scrum and Agile.