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Jeff Sutherland, Rini van Solingen, Eelco Rustenburg: The Power of Scrum.

General statement

The Power of Scrum is a fictional narrative that weaves a compelling human story around the teaching moments of a Scrum project management how-to. It is a well-written, fluid book that makes perfect after-work reading.
This book is excellent reading material for beginners and people with some agile experience who want to freshen up their knowledge or are looking for inspiration.
The authors have done a great job in describing both the mechanics of scrum and the philosophy behind it.

Summary: An informative book, an engaging story and a must read for anyone considering embarking on an agile journey.

Content summary

Mark Resting, CTO of a software company, is struggling with a major client and a project with more problems than solutions. But when he meets Jerry, a West-coast expert in Scrum, light at the end of the tunnel begins to appear. The story provides a framework for the communication and illustration of the key concepts and ideas behind Scrum and the problems it can solve, plus its significance for effective teamwork and the benefits it offers.
Mark is initially hesitant about Scrum, but gradually begins to ask relevant questions. Jerry’s clear and comprehensive answers explain the processes, backgrounds and advantages (as well as the disadvantages) of Scrum. The story’s practical relevance makes it easier to apply the presented concepts in real life. For example, it shows a sprint lifecycle, including all the preparatory and follow-up activities.
The book doesn’t discuss any elaborate theoretical frameworks. Instead, it reduces Scrum to the essentials, with short and to-the-point explanations and basic knowledge that the reader can apply in his own projects.
It effectively communicates the basic principles and philosophy of agile project management and offers two practical benefits: the reader realises that the Scrum philosophy can also be applied in personal situations and the key point summaries at the end of each chapter make it easier to use the book for reference at a later time.

Style description

Who says textbooks have to be dry and humourless? This one communicates the basic concepts and principles of agile project management via a fictional narrative that contains a wealth of interesting and useful information.
It makes light reading and highlights the important points on each page. The chapters are designed so that readers can keep ‘dipping into‘ the book whenever they have time, and each chapter has a very good and comprehensive summary at the end.
The Power of Scrum provides an excellent overview of Scrum. It makes the reader aware of both the advantages of this agile method and the potential pitfalls. It’s the ideal departure point for a journey into Scrum that leaves the reader wanting more.

Relevance for project management

Agile project management has now moved beyond the trend phase and become an established project management method. It brings the problems associated with rigid structures to light and reveals opportunities for greater flexibility - without the need to sacrifice the supporting framework.
People who aren’t clear on the difference between traditional and agile project management or, after a brief introduction to Scrum, say “That’s how we’ve always done it“, “We’re always agile in routine activities“ or “Scrum isn’t much different from the project management methods we already use,“ will realise with amusement after reading this book where the differences actually lie and what mistakes we regularly make in complex development projects if the specifications at the beginning of the project are imprecise. The book effectively illustrates the philosophy of Scrum and agile project management. What’s more, it also explains the changes that have to take place in the mind-sets of employees and managers before an agile project management environment will work.

Tip

The book doesn’t explain the use of Scrum in classic corporate and project hierarchies, or how different teams work together in agile projects. Nor does it dedicate much space to Scrum methods. In other words, the reader doesn’t get a set of instructions to follow and will have to read up on these aspects of Scrum elsewhere.
However, it’s a must read for anyone looking for a book about Scrum and agile project management that takes an innovative approach to content and knowledge communication!

Authors‘ biographies

The three authors have combined their more than half a century of development and consultancy experience in this book.

Jeff Sutherland
Dr. Sutherland is the creator of Scrum and signatory to the Agile Manifesto, which marked the start of the agile movement. He is the Chairman of the Scrum Training Institute and Senior Advisor to OpenView Venture Partners, where he is agile coach for portfolio companies.

Dr. Rini van Solingen
Dr. Rini van Solingen is a quality and process engineering expert with a M.Sc. in Technical Informatics and a Ph.D. in Management Science. He has held executive management functions at research institutes and consultancy firms.

Eelco Rustenburg
The Dutch management consultant and coach is Agile Project Management Partner at Blinklane Consulting.

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