Book Review: Scrum

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I give Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland top marks. It’s well written, the author supports his points and explains them well, and it’s made a difference in my work. Scrum is a book that can make a difference in your planning, your team, and your personal productivity.

Looking at teams in their natural environment

Jeff Sutherland did something that very few others do. Instead of taking his pet theory and trying to fit the world to it, he looked at how productive teams work and analyzed what he saw.

Sutherland looked at teams as complex adaptive systems and that’s really the core insight of the book. Teams that pay attention to how they work adapt the way they work and get more efficient over time.

Scrum can make a difference in your planning

Planning is good, but the way we use planning with most projects is just dumb. First, we plan a project when we know the least about it and the team. Then we tend to force fit the real world results to that imperfect plan. Dumb. Very dumb.

Scrum demonstrates that good teams get better over time. In the beginning the team has to learn how to work together effectively. Once you’ve done that you can estimate the rest of the project, but not before.

Scrum can make a difference in your team

Most management books focus on managing individuals. Sutherland focuses on managing the team. As it happens I was working on a project studying top producing commercial real estate teams while I was reading this book. Sutherland’s points all matched well with the research I uncovered. I was also able to use some things from this book to enrich the other project.

Scrum can make a difference in your personal productivity

I do most of my work as a ghostwriter and writing partner alone so I didn’t expect to pick up much that would help me. I was wrong. The way I plan and track my work now is drawn directly from this book. I get more done more easily now because of what I learned here.

Bottom Line

This book is for you if you want to improve your project planning and execution, especially if you do most of your work in teams.

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