Agile Software Development with Scrum

  • ISBN13: 9780130676344
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  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Product Description
eXtreme Programming is an ideal many software shops would love to reach, but with the constant pressures to produce software quickly, they cannot actually implement it. The Agile software process allows a company to implement eXtreme Programming quickly and immediately-and to begin producing software incrementally in as little as 30 days! Implementing eXtreme Programming is easier said than done. The process can be time consuming and actually slow down current softw… More >>

Agile Software Development with Scrum

5 thoughts on “Agile Software Development with Scrum”

  1. SCRUM is a “light weight wrapper” of techniques to manage and guide your software projects. Actually, you could use it on a lot of other types of projects, but software is its best use.

    What’s unique is that it wraps around the “Design it first” school that I follow, as well as the Extreme Programming (XP) school that follows a proto-typing approach.

    SCRUM provides the mechanisms for organizing and controlling the development of your software project. You develop a short list of deliverables for the next 30 days and have a series of daily meetings. Oh, there’s more to it than this.

    In software projects I have followed a process where the design is fully thought out in advance. I say it is 85 % accurate as I know that mid-course corrections will be made as the software is developed and delivered to the client.

    On large projects we typically work in 2 week deliverables, the author suggests 30 day “sprints”. We break all the projects up into many packages of deliverables. One advantage to this was the client could see progress, give on course corrections, and you’d be sure to get paid. On small projects we have not followed any formal procedures.

    What SCRUM does is give me a better, more thought out process for what the author calls these 30 day “sprints.” I wish I had read this book earlier.

    I picked up the book at a computer store and bought it reluctantly. I had heard good things about SCRUM, but the book looked too small and a quick read at the store didn’t really turn me on that much.

    But after I sat down to read it at home, I was very pleased. It is a very well-underlined book now.

    I agree with the XP folks on the productivity of 2 person programming teams and have found their “test first” approach to be very interesting. However, I do find that their design-on-the-fly approach to be flawed. When XP works, I think it is because it attracts good programmers… it’s not the XP proto-typing approach itself. In fact, I think any methodology that relies on proto-typing wears out the goodwill of the client. The clients time is limited and they value it highly.

    I will say that I found many interesting ideas in XP. And, I recommend that anyone interested in the subjec of this book, go to the XP websites and read their books (about 6 or so at this time).

    SCRUM fits around XP just as well as the design-it-first approach. What I disagree with in SCRUM (and XP) is the use of open office areas for programming. I believe studies have actually been done on this and closed offices, no windows, white walls, lots of marker boards… wins out. Anything beyond trivial programming requires concentration. Noise and movement kills concentration.

    The graphics in the book really suck, as they look like they were printed out in some kind of old 320×200 screen resolution. But there is great depth to this book. It’s a smaller sized book with small type (but still easy-to-read). So you actually get a lot of meat.

    In the future, I will refer to this great book often and recommend all software people read it.

    John Dunbar
    Sugar Land, TX
    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. …the book itself isn’t really that great. SCRUM has some very interesting ideas about managing a software project, but the book is just OK. I seem to remember him saying that “it was done quickly, just in time for a conference” on his blog at one point. However, if you’re going to try some SCRUM, you’ll want to read this.

    Additionally, you’ll need this book if you’re going to read his other SCRUM book (Agile Project Management w/ SCRUM) from Microsoft Press, because you’ll want the background from this book for that one.

    One thing that is not covered in this book is how you get management approval when you have a “process by not having a process,” or how SCRUM might scale to more that 7-11 people (other than a SCRUM of SCRUMs.)
    Rating: 3 / 5

  3. This is the book I’ve been wanted for years. Until this book, the Scrum development process was not very well known and was documented only piecemeal in a couple of papers and websites. Finally, there’s a book a that covers everything you need to know to run your software project using Scrum.

    Schwaber is the “Godfather of Scrum” and essentially invented the techniques; Beedle was one of the first converts to Scrum and together they definitely know their stuff.

    The book covers everything from the theoretical basis for Scrum to how to organize your teams, conduct daily Scrum meetings to keep things moving along, to planning your Scrum project, to tracking the “backlog” of items that need to be completed to finish a project.

    Scrum is not a rehash of another methodology. As the authors say, “Scrum is different.” Some of the things you’ll learn in this book will seem counterintuitive but they work and the authors do a great job of laying out enough information to, if not fully convince you, then at least persuade you to give Scrum a try. (And once you’ve done that, you’ll be convinced!)

    I think this book is especially important for anyone reading any of the XP books that have come out over the past two years. Scrum provides an excellent management wrapper around the techniques of XP.

    This book is great because it’s only 150 pages but everything is succinct and clear–very different from some other books on project management techniques that are needlessly long.

    After reading this book you will know everything needed to get started with a Scrum project–and most likely that project will be more successful with Scrum than with whatever process you’re using currently.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. Schwaber and Beedle are the co-developers of the software project management methodology known as SCRUM. This book was their first on the subject, and it did a worthy job of convincing me that this particular flavor of agile project management might help ameliorate some of the problems I see on a regular basis with my projects.

    Although the writing style can be disjointed and opaque at times, the essence of SCRUM comes through in every chapter: Team responsibility and project controls that react to reality instead of attempting to define it. The authors point out that even highly specified software projects quickly escape any pre-defined project plan as development exposes issues and complexities that could not be anticipated. The SCRUM practices they describe are a method of running a project based on required outputs, rather than intermediate steps.

    The general rules and methods described here all seem reasonable and well thought out, but at times the insistence on strict adherence to every detail of SCRUM seems oxymoronic. If we are running a project that is supposed to constantly react to the reality of where we are, who is to say that we might not find that 45 day sprints are more appropriate than 30 day sprints? Why not have a full day of planning for each sprint, or just a few hours? The important concepts – like time boxing certain activities – might be lost if the details don’t mesh with the environment in a specific company.

    There is also a certain assumption of dysfunction inherent in the concept of Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Team. The Product Owner is solely responsible for the backlog – that is, the requirements to be met by development. Well and good, but where is the standard meeting where the Owner receives feedback from the developers? SCRUM insists that outside of certain pre-defined meetings the Team is to be left strictly alone, so we can only assume that such wisdom is not meant to be passed. This is symptomatic of organizations where Product Managers think they know exactly what is to be done, and pass it directly on to the development team. But such a knowledgeable Product Owner is rare, and even when it happens, the transfer of a vision from a single person to a team is not easily accomplished in a short meeting. It seems to me that the Owner should be intimately involved throughout the sprint, rather than only at the beginning at end.

    In a way, this points out the major gap in SCRUM. There are three roles, and none of them is the Customer. The Product Owner should represent the customer, but since he or she is not involved in day to day development decisions, and since interactions between him and the team are at a minimum, it seems that it is responsibility only in theory. Interjecting a more robust form of customer feedback than the Sprint Review would, in my mind, be a welcome change.

    But ultimately these are all nitpicks. As an introduction to a light-weight and tested project management process, this book is invaluable. It lays out many of the pitfalls and nearly all of the necessary ingredients necessary to let a team of developers produce good work on time and without driving them crazy. As a product owner or project manager, that makes it worth its weight in gold right there!
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. This is a good book with lots of valuable information around the empirical nature of Scrum. For someone who was central to creating Scrum, the book doesn’t offer much more.

    It’s broken up into three parts: Overview of Scrum / Why it works / Case studies.

    The overview of Scrum is poor at best. There are much simpler ways to communicate it. If you don’t know anything about Scrum then this book probably won’t help get you started.

    The “Why it works” chapters were much more interesting and valuable. It takes you through the epirical nature of scrum and why previous methodologies have failed. The most interesting part is the brief exposition around the psychological, anthropological and systematical viewpoints around Scrum. Like much of the book, this could have been written better and with more indepth information, but still meets a basic need.

    The case studies and ancillary information in the last few chapters feel hasty and are of little value. Many of the examples (although based on actual events) feel contrived and are simplified so much that they aren’t highly illuminating.

    Overall the book wasn’t the greatest but it did provide me with some value. The editing is quite poor and there are numerous mistakes throughout. The general layout of the page is also problematic and makes it difficult to read.

    Most laughable however are the images and graphics. They look like they were made in MSPaint and screen capped into the book.
    Rating: 2 / 5

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