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Real Life Scrum


Though new Agile approaches like “Lean startup” and Kanban are emerging and XP practices are being rediscovered, Scrum is still by far the most popular method used for Agile delivery and transition. This is not by coincidence. Scrum is easy to understand and communicate and can help organizations reap the first benefits of Agile by presenting a simple framework for Agile management.

Real Life Scrum contains the most typical problems teams and organizations encounter when adopting Agile and Scrum. Organizations soon discover it is overly simplistic to say that “Scrum by the book” is bad or that “Scrum but” is a failure, since neither will get you very far if you do not understand why you are doing it and the actual tradeoffs you are making.

This mini-book is NOT about finding THE right answer, but aims to highlight common problems, solutions and tradeoffs teams and organizations face in their continuous transition to a more effective use of the principles behind Scrum. It focuses on solving real problems when working with Scrum and prioritizing value delivery, motivation and customer satisfaction higher than the process itself. Examples of problems dealt with in the book include:

  • The dysfunctional product owner “Role” that seems incapable of providing the right material for the team to work with no matter how many times the team highlights that the sprint backlog is not ready for sprint planning.
  • Projects that are following almost every Scrum rule except being Agile. Incrementally delivering the projects according to the original spec with little or no feedback on the actual value of the software.
  • Teams are so focused on delivering the maximum amount of story points that they forget the longer-term focus on a sustainability code base and stress the team beyond its capacity.

Real Life Scrum also includes chapters by expert Agile coaches Liz Keogh and Diana Larsen dealing with the real cost of change and how to act on your retrospective actions. Real Life Scrum is qdesigned as a reference book. Though you are welcome to read the book from front to back the author encourages you to scan the table of contents and browse for those chapters that seem most relevant to your situation.

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Table of Contents

  • Foreword by Diana Larsen
  • Forword by Elizabeth Keogh
  • Introduction
  • “Exhausting full day planning sessions and ambiguous sprint content
  • ”We followed every rule in Scrum but our product still failed”
  • “Over-commitment – will story points help us?
  • “We cannot find a PO with sufficient time, skills and knowledge”
  • “Only the PO cares about sprint commitment”
  • “How should we approach our organization wide Scrum transition?”
  • “Should we go from 3 week to 4 week sprints?”
  • “Should we fix all bugs immediately or prioritize them on the backlog
  • “We are releasing too many products”
  • “Maintenance and operation tasks are ruining our sprint commitment”
  • “How do we commit to a releaseplan?”
  • “The Real Cost of Change” – by Liz Keogh
  • “Retrospective Actions” – by Diana Larsen
  • Good luck on your journey
  • Bibliography
  • Topic Candidates That Did Not Make It.