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Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn)) Paperback – August 5, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0137043293 ISBN-10: 0137043295 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn)
  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (August 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0137043295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137043293
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Agile coaches, you’re gonna be happy with this book. Kenny Rubin has created an indispensable resource for us. Do you have a manager that just doesn’t ‘get it’? Hand them this book and ask them to flip to Chapter 3 for a complete explanation of how Scrum is less risky than plan-driven management. It’s written just for them–in management-speak. Want to help the team come to a common understanding of Scrum? The visual icon language used throughout this book will help you help them. These are just two ways this book can aid you to coach Scrum teams. Use it well.”
–Lyssa Adkins, Coach of Agile Coaches, Agile Coaching Institute; author, Coaching Agile Teams

 

“One of the best, most comprehensive descriptions of the core Scrum framework out there! Essential Scrum is for anyone–new to or experienced with Scrum–who’s interested in the most important aspects of the process. Kenny does an excellent job of distilling the key tenets of the Scrum framework into a simple format with compelling visuals. As a Scrum coach for many teams, I continually reference the material for new ways to help teams that are learning and practicing the framework. I’ve seen Scrum continually misinterpreted and poorly implemented by big companies and tool vendors for more than ten years. Reading this book will help you get back to the basics and focus on what’s important.”
–Joe Balistrieri, Process Development Manager, Rockwell Automation

 

“Corporate IT leadership, which has been slow to embrace agile methods, would benefit immensely from giving a copy of this book to all of their project and delivery managers. Kenny Rubin has laid out in this book all the pragmatic business case and process materials needed for any corporate IT shop to successfully implement Scrum.”
–John F. Bauer III, veteran of technical solution delivery in large corporate IT shops

 

“Kenny’s extensive experience as a consultant, trainer, and past managing director of the Scrum Alliance is evident in this book. Along with providing the basics and introduction to Scrum, this book addresses the questions of masses–what happens to project managers? Essential Scrum helps us understand the big picture and guides how organization leaders can support and be involved with their Scrum teams for successful agile transformations.”
–Sameer S. Bendre CSM, PMP, Senior Consultant, 3i Infotech Inc.

 

“If you’re new to agile development or to Scrum, this book will give you a flying start. The examples and descriptions are clear and vivid, and you’ll often find yourself asking a question just before the book addresses that very topic.”
–Johannes Brodwall, Principal Solution Architect, Steria Norway

 

“Kenny’s well-structured explanations have a clarity to them that echoes the sensibilities of Smalltalk–the development environment with which he worked for years and from which both Scrum and Extreme Programming were born. This book pulls together a thorough set of agile management principles that really hit the mark and will no doubt guide you toward a more effective agile approach.”
–Rowan Bunning, Founder, Scrum WithStyle

 

“There are lots of books on Scrum these days, but this book takes a new angle, a reality check for software practitioners. Kenny uses real-world examples and clear illustrations to show what makes a solid foundation for successful agile development. Readers will understand the value of building quality in, and the reality that we can’t get everything right up front; we must work incrementally and learn as we go. It might have ‘Scrum’ in the title, but the book leverages effective practices from the larger agile universe to help managers and their teams succeed.”
–Lisa Crispin, coauthor, Agile Testing

 

“Kenny Rubin managed to write the book that I want everyone associated with Scrum development to read! He covers everything you’ll need to know about Scrum and more!”
–Martine Devos, European Scrum Pioneer and Certified Scrum Trainer

 

“I’ve reviewed a number of agile books in the past few years, so the question of ‘Do we really need another one?’ always comes to my mind. In the case of Kenny’s book, I very much believe the answer is ‘yes.’ Getting the benefit of different, experienced perspectives on commonly encountered and needed material is valuable. Kenny has one of those valuable perspectives. One unique aspect of the book is an interesting ‘iconography’–a new icon language for Scrum and agile that Kenny has created. I believe you’ll find value-added material in this book to expand your ideas for how Scrum can be applied.”
–Scott Duncan, Agile/Scrum coach and trainer

 

“Anyone who has had Scrum training or has been part of a Scrum team will find Essential Scrum to be a great follow-up read. It dives into the details of how to become more agile through implementing Scrum processes, and it explains exactly how to break down complex projects into manageable initiatives (or ‘sprints’). Kenny Rubin provides a wealth of relevant case studies on what worked–or what didn’t–in a variety of organizations. The simple layout and businesslike graphics make it easy to scan quickly and find specific topics. Any organization that is seeking to evolve from a traditional waterfall approach toward a more agile methodology will find Essential Scrum a definitive guidebook for the journey.”
–Julia Frazier, product manager

 

“Developing software is hard. Adopting a new way of working while in a project is even harder. This book offers a bypass of many of the pitfalls and will accelerate a team’s ability to produce business value and become successful with Scrum. I wish I had this kind of book when I started using Scrum.”
–Geir Hedemark, Development Manager, Basefarm AS

 

“I am convinced that Essential Scrum will become the foundation reference for the next generation of Scrum practitioners. Not only is it the most comprehensive introduction to Scrum in publication today, but it is also extremely well written and easy on the eye with its fantastic new visual Scrum language. If that isn’t enough, Kenny shares a range of his valuable personal insights and experiences that we can all certainly learn from.”
–Ilan Goldstein, Agile Solutions Manager, Reed Elsevier

 

“Scrum is elegantly simple, yet deceptively complex. In Essential Scrum, Kenny Rubin provides us with a step-by-step guide to those complexities while retaining the essential simplicity. Real-world experiences coupled with enlightening illustrations make Scrum come to life. For senior managers and team members alike, this is a must-read book if you are starting or considering whether to implement Scrum in your organization. This will certainly be a book recommended to my students.”
–John Hebley, Hebley & Associates

 

“Kenny unpacks a wealth of wisdom and knowledge in Essential Scrum, providing valuable and comprehensive insights to the practical application of agile/Scrum. Whether you’re new to agile or are looking to reach a greater maturity of continuous improvement in your organization, this is a definitive handbook for your toolbox.”
–David Luzquiños, Head of Agile Enablement, Agile Coach, Betfair

 

“Kenny Rubin continues to provide clarity and insight into adopting agile in a pragmatic way. In one hand he holds the formal or ideal Scrum definition and in the other, the pragmatic application of it. He brings the wisdom of his workshops and years of experience to the table, and now for you to read in his latest book. If you are about to start out on your agile adoption journey or are seeking guidance midcourse, grab a copy.”
–Cuan Mulligan, freelance coactive Agile coach

 

“A decade after publication of the first Scrum books, it is time to combine the essential aspects of the Scrum framework with the practical experiences and approaches of the last ten years. Kenny Rubin does so in a satisfying and nondogmatic way. The reader gets a pragmatic look at Scrum and learns when and how to best apply Scrum to achieve business benefits.”
–Yves Stalgies, PhD, Director IT, www.etracker.com

 

“Adoption of Scrum is most successful when everyone involved–even peripherally–with product development has a good understanding of the fundamentals. Essential Scrum provides an ideal overview of both the big picture and the details in an accessible style. It is sure to become a standard reference.”
–Kevin Tureski, Principal, Kevin Tureski Consulting

 

About the Author

Kenneth S. Rubin provides Scrum and Agile training and coaching to help companies develop products more effectively and economically. A Certified Scrum Trainer, he has trained more than eighteen thousand people on Agile and Scrum, Smalltalk development, managing object-oriented projects, and transition management. He has coached hundreds of companies, ranging from startups to the Fortune 10. Rubin was the first Managing Director of the worldwide Scrum Alliance, a nonprofit organization focused on successful Scrum adoption. His diverse development roles have included successful stints as Scrum product owner, ScrumMaster, and developer. Rubin’s executive management roles have included CEO, COO, VP of Engineering, VP of Product Management, and VP of Professional Services. He is the author of Succeeding with Objects (Addison-Wesley, 1995).

 


More About the Author

I provide Scrum and agile training and coaching to help companies develop products in an effective and economically sensible way. I am a Certified Scrum Trainer and have trained over 20,000 people on agile and Scrum, Smalltalk development, managing object-oriented projects, and transition management. I have coached over 200 companies, ranging from start-ups to Fortune 10.

I was the first Managing Director of the worldwide Scrum Alliance, a nonprofit organization focused on successful Scrum adoption. My development roles have included successful stints as Scrum product owner, ScrumMaster, and developer. My executive management roles have included CEO, COO, VP of Engineering, VP of Product Management, and VP of Professional Services. I received my B.S. in Information and Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology and my M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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The book is very well written and easy to read.
RoFeld
This book excels at explaining the “why” and provides many examples of the “how” to implement Scrum and important agile practices.
Alan Braithwaite
I don't recommend reading just one book on Scrum or Agile practices...but I do recommend starting with this book.
Allen E Kroska

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Roger W. Brown on October 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have read the majority of books on Agile and Scrum in my career as a coach and trainer. It is really great to see a new, fresh book show up that presents the ins and outs of Scrum very clearly. Ken Rubin's Essential Scrum is an excellent introduction for beginners as well as a good reference for practitioners. Scrum sounds simple but there is are many challenges to implementing it and making the organizational changes necessary to do it successfully. Ken's book lays out the core values, principles, concepts and practices in terms and images that are easy to understand. There are some solid, practical descriptions of planning and the Scrum meetings that are a great guide for newbies and a great refresher for Scrum leaders who may have strayed from the practices.

And there is more. The book provides a very accessible treatment of three important topics that most other books miss. The importance of managing Technical Debt and the Lean concepts of Batch Size and limiting Work in Progress are essential in understanding how Scrum works and how to achieve a smooth flow for significantly higher value output. The shift in Management duties in an Agile organization is a critical aspect of cultural change. Ken also provides a short description of the topics that answer the frequently asked question "How do you scale Scrum?": Feature Teams, Scrum of Scrums and Release Trains.

The descriptions of the Product Owner and Development Team roles in this book go beyond the basic introduction, describing the work of the PO in preparatory and ongoing planning and describing important characteristics of a successful Dev Team.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By T. Anderson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book's title Essentials Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process, is a perfect description of what this book is. It covers every essential that you need to know about the scrum process, and the book is written to every role in the scrum process.

After a nice introductory chapter to Scrum, which includes the history of how Scrum came to be, the book breaks down into four parts. They include Core Concepts, Roles, Planning, and Sprinting. I have listed each part below along with the chapters found in each one.

Chapter 1. Introduction

Part I. Core Concepts
Chapter 2. Scrum Framework
Chapter 3. Agile Principles
Chapter 4. Sprints
Chapter 5. Requirements and User Stories
Chapter 6. Product Backlog
Chapter 7. Estimation and Velocity
Chapter 8. Technical Debt

Part II. Roles
Chapter 9. Product Owner
Chapter 10. ScrumMaster
Chapter 11. Development Team
Chapter 12. Scrum Team Structures
Chapter 13. Managers

Part III. Planning
Chapter 14. Scrum Planning Principles
Chapter 15. Multilevel Planning
Chapter 16. Portfolio Planning
Chapter 17. Envisioning (Product Planning)
Chapter 18. Release Planning (Longer-Term Planning)

Part IV. Sprinting
Chapter 19. Sprint Planning
Chapter 20. Sprint Execution
Chapter 21. Sprint Review
Chapter 22. Sprint Retrospective
Chapter 23. The Path Forward

The author's advice on when to use Scrum is a refreshing one. He is not one of the many Scrum zealots, mindlessly regurgitating Scrum mantras. He gives a nice overview of where Scrum works and where it doesn't in the introduction of the book. He also presents a realistic view on how difficult Scrum is.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Rush on March 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn))I had working on Scrum for a couple of years and was now about to drive an AGILE initiative and train a very large number of sw developers/product owners/facilitators in Scrum for one of the worlds largest embedded infotainment Automotive suppliers. I was guided by one of the father figures of Agile to talk with Ken Rubin author of Essential Scrum. I grabbed the book and read it, immediately hooked by the visual language. I am a visual learner and working with teams form North America, Europe, India and Japan know that a visual language really makes life easier. So much can be lost in translation. After reading the book, and reading parts of it almost every day I contacted Ken and asked him to train my first group. He is an amazing author and an amazing trainer. I sat through the scrum master training and got 34 of 35 on the certification test (dumb mistake by me - not a result of poor training).

The visual language is a large part of the books uniqueness. It is the No.1 book on Scrum in my opinion. A must read.

Ken writes elegantly and makes is point eloquently. If you plan to take on Scrum. Essential Scrum is Essential.

Awesome job Ken. 12 out of 10.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bent Myllerup on October 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
You do not learn Scrum by just reading a book - it takes a lot of practices, failures and coaching to be prominent in this agile approach. However, if you are looking for just the right book in order to get started or being able to move to the next level, then "Essential Scrum: A practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process" is the book you should read in my opinion.

Ken Rubin has a great practical and non-orthodox approach to describe basic Scrum, it's pitfalls and best practices. His many years of experience has given him insights and opinions which are beneficial for you to know wereeither you are a rookie or already have experiences of your own. Supported by good examples and great graphics, the book covers all the basics in detail plus additional topics like technical debt. Knowledge about topics as the latter makes a clear difference wereeither you succeed with your endeavor or not.

I have for a while been looking for a new book to give to the students in my public Scrum certification courses in Denmark. With Kenny's new book, I have found the right one.

Bent Myllerup
CSC, CST, PMP
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