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Showing 1-10 of 34 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 136 reviews
on March 11, 2013
The SCRUM Field Guide by Mitch Lacey is a Must Read whether you are new to SCRUM or deeply experienced with SCRUM this guide offers invaluable insights. Whether you read this book from cover to cover or use it as a reference guide the practical advice and the numerous tips and tricks of the trade outlined throughout this book are essential tools in a SCRUM professional’s tool kit.

No longer do I lack the confidence about reaching the sprint objective. The practical approach outlined throughout this guide has enabled me to confidently address SCRUM framework preparatory issues and SCRUM framework implementation issues. The stand alone chapters have assisted me in fine tuning my skills enhancing my techniques in estimating project costs, running sprint review and sprint retrospective meetings, incorporating offshore teams, decomposing stories, and defining when “done” is “done”, allowing me to successfully sustain the pace of the SCRUM model at any organization I work for delivering working software as promised.

Whether or not you have ever faced challenges in the SCRUM framework model this book is for you as it analyzes real life scenarios, offering concrete ideas and practical measures for tackling problems, problems that so many of us have encountered in our operations. The SCRUM framework may appear simple, yet it is not easy; Mitch Lacey’s ‘The SCRUM Field Guide’ is a classic that should be available for reference in all organizations’ information technology infrastructure libraries
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on April 2, 2012
This book is just terrific. It's precisely what it promises to be: a field guide for those already familiar with Scrum and in the midst of a Scrum adoption. Each chapter stands alone and can be read in any order, so it's a breeze to simply locate the problem you're having in the table of contents, and then read the chapter or chapters that address that issue. Each starts with a story pulled from Lacey's real-world experiences, then discusses how the problem was resolved and additional approaches for addressing the problem.

But you probably won't stop there, because the stories are just so interesting. I found myself planning to read just a couple of chapters, and ended up a few hours later with half the book read. The chapters are just so well-written, each starting with a compelling story that had me going "oh yeah, I've been there" and wanting to see more. And even after being agile for over ten years, there were several new techniques I learned thanks to this field guide, and I'm much improved in my understanding of paired programming and test-driven development (yes, there is just as much emphasis on the technical aspect of software development as there is the process aspect!).

I strongly recommend this as a companion guide to whatever basic Scrum book you buy. While there are many fine books available that explain what Scrum is, Lacey's book is the one that will help you outside of the classroom, in the field, with those day-to-day Scrum implementation problems.
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on May 31, 2012
I've been working with SCRUM for a few years now, and have seen some good successes in my projects along with my share of scars.

I found that once you take and pass the CSM course, you have an understanding of the theory, but putting that theory into practice under real world conditions is the real trick.

In reading this book, I've lost count of the number of times where I've had the "Oh man, we totally ran into that very same problem!" moment... followed by "<groan!>, I wish I read this earlier!"

What sets this book apart is that it gives you the practical information that you don't really get through the CSM course, but rather through (in this case, Mitch's) hard earned experience. Every chapter had something that I could directly relate to, and usually more than one nugget of wisdom that I thought about introducing in a future iteration or project.

Some highlights (among many!)-
1) determining an iteration length. The shorter the iteration, the more opportunity for feedback and course correction.
2) Off-shoring. If you must, then here's what you can do to maximize the chances for success... but be prepared for a tough road ahead!
3) Mixing SCRUM roles. I've done it, but here's why you shouldn't!
4) Engineering best practices- hard to be successful with SCRUM if you don't have the technical practices in order.
5) Story and Task decomposition- some useful techniques and guidelines.
6) How to deal with maintenance work that interrupts your sprint
7) Dealing with technical debt, why is it important?

I found that the book itself was very easy to read. I think the anecdote at the beginning of each chapter is an effective way to get the reader to relate to the topic. You could read the book from start to end, or as I did, jump from chapter to chapter, picking out the topics that are most relevant to your situation.

For those new to SCRUM, having this book is really like having access to an experienced SCRUM trainer/coach to help guide you through the inevitable pitfalls. For those who are experienced with SCRUM, this book has a lot of advanced topics as well as serving as a great reference to the SCRUM fundamentals.
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on June 22, 2013
I first purchased the kindle version of this book for myself and loved it so much that i had to purchase the paperback version for the office.

We are implementing scrum at work so every time someone comes across a problem i give them the book and get them to look up the appropriate chapter. They read the story, usually they have a chuckle over how similar it is to their situation, then read on to the model and keys to success. After that we either make changes straight away or wait for the next retrospective.

The chapters are a very good length so they can be read easily in 5-10 minutes. They are also not really dependent so anyone can pick up the book.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone implementing scrum. This book doesn't cover the theory of scrum (there are plenty of other good books that do that), this book is purely focused on practical advice for when (not if) you come across problems in your scrum team. It is definitely a must have for every scrum team.
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on April 27, 2012
Finally - a well-written book on Scrum that focuses on real practical advice and less on theory. This guide presents Mitch's advice and tips from years of experience, forgoing a lot of the talk on theory that many books already cover, and instead giving loads of recommendations based on real-world situations and learning. It is an enjoyable read from start to finish, and is a book every person practicing Scrum should have on their (virtual) shelf.

The book uses a standard format throughout:
(a) The Story: A fictitious narrative involving a team that is representative of scenarios many of us have experienced. These subsections are written like a novel, and involve characters that are very typical of the people found in software companies. The stories are entertaining, down-to-earth, and eventually lead to a core message that is covered in later sections on practical tips.
(b) The Model: The "What" - practices that you can leverage to be effective at Scrum. An example would be a formula on how to run retrospectives.
(c) Keys to Success: Pragmatic tips and advice for avoiding the issues accounted in the story, to set the team up for success.
(d) References: A decent compilation of supporting books, papers, and web sites that provide more info and alternate views.

I found the chapter lengths perfect for short reading sessions, and the consistent framework throughout the book made ingesting the great tips very easy. The less formal writing style and informal diagrams were exactly what I wanted to see in a field guide.

Of course, the content shines as well. Mitch uses real-world analogies throughout the book to explain core concepts. For example, Mitch maps concepts around continuous integration to headlights, washing machines, and GPS. Some of my favorite other tidbits are:
- The idea of a team consultant (not core team members, work for other teams, but offer up their expertise to temporarily fill a gap)
- Ideas on managing bugs with agile and minimize technical debt (yes, contrary to many believers, bugs do exist even in an agile process)
- The emphasis on "done" definitions
- The stressing of engineering (development, QA) practices as important to team success (many Scrum books focus just on the project management side, but leveraging a combination of agile practices helps improve success rates)
- Tips on how to fix team issues, such as poorly run daily stand-ups and cultural issues

In summary, the book is very well done and a must-have for Scrum professionals. My only nit on the book is that it is a bit wordy at times and could get to the point more efficiently. However, the bits of duplication help to solidify the points, so this is not a big complaint. If you are a practical person that is more comfortable where the rubber meets the road as opposed to 20000ft theory, then this is the book for you.

Also of note: The Kindle version is a very nice conversion - cleaner than other Kindle books I have read. Recommended.
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on April 28, 2012
I thought I would buy Mitch's book after having attended one of his Scrum Master training sessions, a nice reference guide. I was so wrong, and so right. Mitch has crammed so much information in this book, a quick scan will do it injustice, yet its structure allows you to quickly find what you need within the book and each chapter. Each chapter has offered me not just the normal "oh, yeah, I remember now" moments, but also new insights, things I hadn't thought to relate before. Every chapter is well thought out and Mitch's writing style is easy to read without becoming fluffy. The chapter structure of intro, story, in-depth, followed by success factors, works well.

Mitch's comments on release planning, especially the low and high watermark approach, struck me as enlightened and practical for management, scrum master, and team. From personal experience, I agree with Mitch's emphasis to use ranges with confidence levels to report out status and projections. It is rare to see a book address the topic of cultural change that comes with Scrum/Agile so well; Mitch summarizes it neatly: "Understand the rules [...] learn the base mechanics [...] give it time [...] don't adopt Scrum midstream [...] ensure time is allocated for continuous learning."

Amazingly enough, I have yet to find one piece of advice from this book that cannot be applied to the laggard of agile software development: BI and data warehousing. Kudos.

I have the Kindle version of the book and it is one of the better "technical" books on the Kindle. The publishing efforts did not stop at making it pretty: most bullet lists have links to the subsequent sections that explain the items in more detail, and the web links and references actually work. This makes it easy to navigate and find the content you are looking for.

Recommended reading.
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on May 21, 2012
This is a good book! It points out a lot of techniques, issues, and strategies that I hadn't thought of before.

The author has clearly spent extensive amounts of time in the trenches working with teams implementing agile, observing their dysfunctions, and trying to find creative solutions. It shows in every chapter.

It's not really meant to be a sequenced introduction to the hows and whys of scrum. There are a million other books that do that. It's more of a toolbox where each chapter provides a different tool to fix very specific, and very likely problems that you're team is or will have as they implement scrum. In particular, the stories in the chapters about implementing roles, determining sprint length, and defining done hit a little too close to home and ultimately helped me fix some longstanding problems on my team.

Other chapters were good but not nearly as applicable for me. I think that's the intention though. I think everyone reading this will have at least 2 or 3 chapters that they'll identify strongly with and say "Ouch, that's me".

Whether you're just getting started or you're been at agile for a while, the solutions and techniques presented will help fix problems and reduce stress.

Its definitely something that I plan on keeping close by on the bookshelf!
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on December 21, 2012
I am completely new to Agile methods and saw this book on the shelf at the local book store. After reading the reviews on Amazon, I decided to buy it. I am happy I did!

The author states that the target audience is someone, or some team, that is -6 months to +12 months of their Scrum adoption. I fall more on the -6 month side of things. What I find that I like about this book is it has practical advice. Our company is a Digital User Experience Agency so we were unsure how to structure the firm. What I have found is that the chapters help us figure this out through the practical advice they offer.

For example, the chapter on Team Consultants is fantastic. We structured our 10-person company in silos - based on a more traditional approach. But after reading this, we've decided to create a flat organization using this model.

I also really liked the chapter on contracts and the engineering chapters.

I think anyone picking up this book will get a lot of value. I definitely recommend it.
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on May 18, 2012
I have had the luxury of building onshore and offshore agile teams over the last five years. I have worked with many CSMs, CSTs, CSPOs, in my time practicing Agile. I had the great opportunity to work directly with Mitch for a specific training to help our teams work through estimation and planning. Our teams still quote some of the things he raised in training to this day. Why am I bringing this up? I have found this book to be as impactful to me as his training was years ago.

I devoured this book! It is easy to read and is compelling. The layout makes it simple to truly take a section to address any particular ill or "smell" that one of your teams is experiencing at any time. While the intent is for the "first year" (And it would have been great to have this at that time) it is as pertinent now to me and my teams. I had numerous "aha" moments as I read through some of the business examples and looked, really looked, at what some of my teams have been doing. Lots of opportunities for change!

This is the type of book that will never garner dust in your tool box. It will have well worn edges, sticky notes around the perimeter, and a cracked binding from many coaching and training sessions to help get teams in focus! Thank you, Mitch!
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on July 7, 2015
I've been leading scrum teams for the past seven months. I was sort of thrown into the position with only a hazy understanding of what a scrum master should do. This book, with its real-world examples, is just what I needed to fine tune my processes and improve the team's velocity. I really like the format and the author's easy conversational style. This is a GREAT choice if you're already "doing" scrum and need some guidance to improve your team's performance.
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