Monday, January 29, 2007

Book Review: Agile Project Management With Scrum

Agile Project Management with Scrum

Ken Schwaber (Microsoft Press)

ISBN:  073561993X

I bought this after hearing Scott Hansleman talk about it on his scrum podcast.  I figure Scott seems to have had great success with Scrum at his place, so any book he recommended on the topic ought to be solid.  Indeed it is!

The book’s laid out in a series of stories which illustrate responsibilities and typical problems to overcome for the Scrum roles of Product Owner, ScrumMaster, and Team.  The stories are short, concise, and followed up by Lessons Learned which cover salient highlights for the various points made in the section.  Throughout the book runs Schwaber’s theme of how one can use Scrum to solve any number of problems and increase the productivity of their development work.

What’s really nice about the book is that there are stories of failures as well as successes.  Software development is rarely all roses, so it’s nice to see a couple examples where things didn’t work — and a solid analysis of what went wrong in those cases.

On the flipside, I’d have liked a bit more detail on constructing the sprint and product backlogs.  I realize that traipses somewhat over into the realm of software estimation, but more fleshing out would have been helpful.  However, there’s a great example of scaling Scrum and rolling up numerous product backlogs from lower levels in to a larger backlog for a major system, so that’s quite beneficial.

The book’s terrifically well-written, is an easy read, and is formatted such that you’re able to quickly pick up the important bits of Scrum.  It’s a terrific read for anyone looking to bring some sensible, tailorable processes to their software development efforts.

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