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Title: The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice for Your First Year
Author(s): Mitch Lacey
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Category: Project Management, Process and Best Practices
Addison-Wesley Professional wrote:Thousands of IT professionals are being asked to make Scrum succeed in their organizations–including many who weren’t involved in the decision to adopt it. If you’re one of them, The Scrum Field Guide will give you skills and confidence to adopt Scrum more rapidly, more successfully, and with far less pain and fear. Long-time Scrum practitioner Mitch Lacey identifies major challenges associated with early-stage Scrum adoption, as well as deeper issues that emerge after companies have adopted Scrum, and describes how other organizations have overcome them. You’ll learn how to gain “quick wins” that build support, and then use the flexibility of Scrum to maximize value creation across the entire process.
In 30 brief, engaging chapters, Lacey guides you through everything from defining roles to setting priorities to determining team velocity, choosing a sprint length, and conducting customer reviews. Along the way, he explains why Scrum can seem counterintuitive, offers a solid grounding in the core agile concepts that make it work, and shows where it can (and shouldn’t) be modified. Coverage includes
* Getting teams on board, and bringing new team members aboard after you’ve started
* Creating a “definition of done” for the team and organization
* Implementing the strong technical practices that are indispensable for agile success
* Balancing predictability and adaptability in release planning
* Keeping defects in check
* Running productive daily standup meetings
* Keeping people engaged with pair programming
* Managing culture clashes on Scrum teams
* Performing “emergency procedures” to get sprints back on track
* Establishing a pace your team can truly sustain
* Accurately costing projects, and measuring the value they deliver
* Documenting Scrum projects effectively
* Prioritizing and estimating large backlogs
* Integrating outsourced and offshored components
Packed with real-world examples from Lacey’s own experience, this book is invaluable to everyone transitioning to agile: developers, architects, testers, managers, and project owners alike.
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This engaging book doesn't try to teach you what Scrum is - it's quite open about that - though it doesn't assume too much knowledge either (and there is an appendix describing the Scrum framework). What it does do is give practical advice. It's targeted at people who are about to adopt Scrum, or have recently adopted it, and it aims to give solutions to the specific problems that everyone is likely to come up against at some point.
The chapters can be read independently, and each one follows the same format. Firstly, there's a story about a development team that encountered a problem related to the theme of the chapter. Often they'll solve that problem, but not always. Then there's a description of an approach to solving that problem, and an analysis of the factors to consider to make sure the approach is successful.
What I particularly like about this book is that it is grounded in realism. While the ideal scenario for Scrum may be a fully aligned company with dedicated teams and supportive senior management, many people have to cope with less than perfect realities. There might be clashing organizational structures and cultures, team members with other responsibilities, legacy systems to support, and so on. This book recognizes the real obstacles agile teams might meet, and suggests realistic ways of combating them. Along the way you'll also get good advice about putting the various agile practices to work.
I'd recommend this to anyone thinking of using Scrum, or anyone already using it who's finding the going less than perfect and is wondering where it all went wrong.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.
"The Scrum Field Guide" is a nice way to get started with Scrum. It covers the practices through useful stories and advice. Heavier on the advice side. The stories seem realistic and highlight important points.
I liked the tables and tips provided. For example how to estimate the first time and how to map pre-Scrum roles. And I loved that there was a whole chapter on "done." I also liked the concept of corporate mandates being a tax on your time.
I also liked the practical advice and explanations such as why it is a bad idea for the product owner and Scrummaster to be the same person. Along with what compromises in roles are better to make than others.
I only spotted one typo (first vs last on page 205), but easy to see what was intended.
I will definitely be recommending this book to my teammates!
Review migrated from old book review post
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher for reviewing it on behalf of CodeRanch.