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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2013
This is a hard review for me to write. I have a great respect for both of the authors and what they accomplished in the world of software development. I loved Ken's Agile Project Management with Scrum (Microsoft Professional). However, I did not like this book very much. Even considering that I'm not the audience, I do work a fair amount with management in organizations and I wouldn't give them this book. The book felt it was written in a hurry, it had awkward parts in it which most in the Scrum community would probably disagree with and it over-promised, giving me the feeling that Scrum is the silver bullet that magically resolves all problems. That said, it did also have some really good parts, which I'll try to point out also in this review.

The book consists of 2 parts and a bunch of appendixes. The first part is the "why" which explains why traditional waterfall development is not suitable today and how an empirical process is better suited for the job.

The first chapter is a "we are in crisis" chapter. Unfortunately, the only data it quotes is the CHAOS report, which has been challenged a lot of time already. Next to that, it provides some anecdotal cases. It introduces the Stacey diagram, which is great, except that it is significantly changed and Stacey doesn't use it himself anymore.

The second chapter introduces the basics of empirical process and shows how it resolves problems in traditional waterfall development. It also summarizes major points on self-organization and the "new new product development game" article that influenced Scrum strongly. Also the third chapter explains the idea of just starting and getting and inspect-adapt loop going and that way evaluating whether Scrum produces any results. And chapter four explains the art of the possible and why transparency is essential and how Scrum assists with that. Chapter four was pretty good.

Then, part 2. Chapter 5 is a short introduction to Scrum. Interestingly enough, it mentions that the ScrumMaster is 'a manager' which felt a bit odd and simplistic. The rest of the Scrum introduction was extremely short, just mentioning terms but not explaining them deeply.

Chapter 6-8 give examples on how to adopt Scrum. From small project team (chapter 6) to the whole organization (chapter 8). Chapter 6 ought to explain how to start Scrum on a project level, but when looking at the chapter, the first half spends time explaining burn-down charts and the second half is trying to convince the world that 30-day sprints are "the right length". I found this somewhat odd as most of the world seems to recommend against 30-day sprints. It even calculates the overhead for shorter Sprints, but that is than contradicted by the Scrum Guide in appendix A which clearly states that the meetings are proportional to the Sprint length.

Chapter 7 talks about "studio level" adoption, which seems to be a part of an organization. It starts with the suggestion to let everyone sign a contract that they'll use Scrum, which felt odd to me. Then it showed a survey for determining how people are aligned with Scrum assumptions, which was pretty good. Then it shows a "dashboard" of metrics for management to use which to me felt a bit simplistic (I know Ken is doing more work on this at the moment, and hope it will improve). It then calls velocity a measure of productivity (which can be quite dangerous) and suggests it to be measured in function points. I'm personally not aware of many Scrum projects that actually use function points, so I felt the mentioning of that was a bit odd. The end of the chapter related to technical dept was quite good again!

Chapter 8 about adopting Scrum to the enterprise was 3 pages. Chapter 9 are the steps of a change project. This mostly is a summary of Kotter's change management ideas. Chapter 10 explains the concept of using Scrum to adopt Scrum, which is a summary of Ken's Enterprise Scrum book.

Appendix 1 is terminology. Appendix 2 is the excellent Scrum Guide, which you can also find online. Appendix 3 is a play-book for adopting Scrum developed by Rally, which didn't seem to have changes much since 2005.

All in all, the book had its good moments followed up by moments that made my head shake. The tone of the book was quite selling, which annoyed me a bit at times. The explanations of Scrum felt mostly shallow and then deep on surprising moments (3 pages on why the Sprint length should be 30 days, about as much as about adoption of Scrum to the enterprise). In general, the book didn't feel like one whole and felt like it was put together in a hurry. I had thought about giving it 3 stars, but think that would be too much as I wouldn't recommend reading this book. If you want a better introduction to Scrum by the same author, pick up the somewhat dated Agile Project Management with Scrum (Microsoft Professional) or just download the Scrum Guide (or alternatives).

I had expected more from two respected and influential people in our industry.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2012
I've read a lot of books on Scrum. Most focus on the framework. Some focus on how to make it work efficiently. Some talk about how to make it scale in complex environments. A few will contain an obligatory chapter or two on introducing Scrum and its capabilities. I've yet to find a book that provides the complete, compelling story on why to adopt Scrum ... until now.

Ken and Jeff's latest book nails it. It starts off with a very real case study involving the FBI and their wasting of millions of dollars in failed software development efforts. The authors then present the why and the how the management team chose and adopted Scrum, getting the product to code complete.

After reading the book, any intellectually honest manager will see the value of empiricism and be crazy not to put Scrum to work on their next or current project.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2012
If you're a manager then you probably don't have that much spare time on your hands so you'll be pleased to know that this is a short, concise read. While you don't need to understand the intricacies of software development, you do need to have experienced frustration with the results; that the cost of getting software developed doesn't stack up to the return you get from it , that the quality produced is inexplicably poor and sometimes the functionality misses the mark completely.

If you're in just such a situation then this book is perfect for you. Software in 30 Days explains the root causes of your problems and ways to address those problems. It also includes practical steps on how to transition your organisation's approach to software development so that you can end the pain and start getting genuine value from your software development efforts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2013
whether a small project or an enterprise initiative, the authors advise how to get there. Plenty of examples in the beginning and terminology defined
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on April 18, 2014
A great read. I thought I knew what scrum was all about until I read this book. This book was able to open my eyes to the challenges and how to implement scrum. Great use of practical examples of how companies overcame overruns by using the tactics described.
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on February 10, 2014
Fast-paced, quick intro to scrum basics.
Less fluff, straight content to understand the basics.
Recommend if you are new to Scrum.
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on April 7, 2013
The book was very good overall. I found some of the examples perhaps a bit naive, but otherwise an excellent book.
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Este livro é muito executivo e passa a maior parte do tempo dando exemplos de como empresas usaram o Scrum. No meio dessas demonstrações existem explicações de como usar Scrum e como não usar. O livro não é voltado para a prova SMP.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2012
I coach Agile and I hand this book to each and every Agile coaching client.

(Socializing books is a great way to find out who really wants to come and play. The folks that actually invest the time to READ THE BOOK are the people who are actually ready to play the game.)

This book is an effective and useful tutorial and reference guide for those who are implementing Scrum and are seeking guidance. We have learned quite a lot since Ken's book [Agile Software Development Using Scrum] published in 1996, and this book reflects that learning.

SOFTWARE IN 30 DAYS OR LESS is an important book to add to your in-house library of essential Agile titles. Genuine and authentic Scrum is rare, and this book can help you get there.

I strongly recommend this book.

I also recommend that purchasers of this head over to Scrum.org to download, print, and actively begin reading the current version of Scrum Guide, also authored by Ken and Jeff.

If you are starting in Scrum, you can use the following 3 documents to get you started:

1. This book

2. The current version of the Scrum guide found at Scrum.Org

3. The Agile manifesto value and principles found at:
a. [...]
b. [...] (principles)

Disclosure: The authors are my friends, my book THE CULTURE GAME refers to Scrum frequently, and I believe that Scrum as described in this book has the potential to substantially improve the world of work.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2012
This book is the missing link between Scrum and management. Complexity forces software developing companies to become more agile. Empiricism is the key to controlling risk via inspection and adaption. Transparency and predictability gets part of software projects.
Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland focus on the people aspect of software development. How can we explore the potential of each developer to the maximum by selforganizing teams while having fun and keeping the level of trust high. They present us the recipe how to get going and how to get done.
Managers love dashboards. This book presents usefull ones for productivity, quality and value. This is a complete new approach as we have known before, when we tried to measure person days instead.
The enterprise transformation project is a roadmap defined here how to get your company in an agile mode. Make this a Scrum project of its own to overcome resistance and implement change.
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