Book Review: Agile Project Management with Scrum

This book was written by Ken Schwaber, one of the authors of the Scrum process. He is a master in Scrum, which he clearly demonstrates in this book by sharing his expertise.
The book is divided into 9 chapters, each of them describing a different topic, several related situations illustrated by case studies and the lessons learned.

First of all, I would like to say that it is an excellent, readable, brief introduction to Scrum. If you are in the field and you don’t have deep knowledge of Scrum, this book is a good place to start.

I liked how individual chapters were organized and that all of them were followed by "lessons learned." While some of the case studies I found a bit boring, many of them presented in the book are still valid nowadays.

For me, looking to constantly evolve and improve my knowledge about the Scrum process, this book was very helpful. It is very well-written. It is full of facts, yet remains understandable. All the issues/problems are demonstrated via case studies, so it is clearly visible that the author is a master and knows the topic intimately. He gives you a very good overview of Scrum.

It is also important to understand that this is not a cookbook. There is no one solution for everything. It simply does not exist. This book teaches you how to find what is wrong and who should be addressed to work it out.

Also, there is great emphasis on communication between the Scrum Master, Project Managers and Management, as well as on communication within teams. Many problems often spring from a lack of communication.

What did I learn from the book?

The Scrum process is not difficult. What is really difficult is how to apply it to your specific case. You must decide what is the best approach to solve the issue. You must work with people—be they a psychologist, policeman, teacher, leader and mother—all at once. People need to be confident in you. You need to show them that you are not there to order them around. You are there because you want to help them. You also should protect the team from requests that come from outside; otherwise, you will face situations in which the team will be disrupted and not fully focused on the tasks they should be prioritizing. That is the core.

I would recommend this book to any Scrum Master wanting to learn more about the practicalities of a Scrum implementation in different circumstances. It does not matter whether you are new to Scrum or not—everyone can benefit from this book. Also, I would recommend it to everyone participating in a software development project, regardless of their role. Everyone in the team needs to understand what Scrum is about and what the role of Scrum Master is. One final, very important message is that it is all about the team, not the Scrum Master.

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