Wednesday 20 December 2017

Book Review: The Elements of Scrum, by Chris Sims and Hillary Louise Johnson

I got this book after reading the abridged version by the same authors. Like the abridged version this book is well written and the concepts well explained. The book opens with a good comparison of "waterfall" vs "agile" development. Following this is a very enjoyable exposition of the agile values and principles (individuals and interactions over processes and tools etc etc). Following this is the core part of the book: explanations of the roles (product owner, scrum master, team member), ceremonies (sprint planning, daily standup, sprint review, sprint retrospective, backlog grooming, story time) and artifacts (product backlog, sprint backlog, burn charts, task board, definition of done) that make up scrum. Within the core part of the book is a good explanation of what user stories are and how they help with understanding what needs to be built, for who and, importantly, why. And closing out the core part of the book is a discussion on some tried and tested strategies for estimating stories.

I've not read any other books on scrum so I can't compare but I'd be very very amazed to find a better one out there than this one. This book covered absolutely lots of ground whilst remaining compact and, most importantly, very readable.

Below is a small selection of quotes from the book:
"...only by demonstrating working software to your customer can you find out what they really want... agile processes include constant feedback from customers, projects stay relevant and on track..."
"...The main idea behind the agile approach is to deliver business value immediately, in the form of working software, and to continue delivering value in regular increments..."
"...Document as you go, and only as needed..."
"...It’s only human nature to become attached to something you worked hard to produce; if you spend the same amount of time drafting your documentation as Tolstoy spent writing War and Peace, you may find yourself treating your masterpiece as if it were the work product itself..."
"...In order to be successful, a contributor-scrum master must put the needs and success of the team above the desire to directly contribute..."
"...Being a scrum team member isn’t about getting your job done, it’s about getting the job done..."
"...Velocity should never be used as a performance metric: it’s not about demonstrating to management that you’re working fast enough; it’s about gaining predictability of schedule..."