Scrum: A Manager’s Guide

Copyright © 2009-2010, Kenneth S. Rubin. All Right Reserved.

Dear reviewer,
Thank you very much for reviewing the draft of Scrum: A Manager’s Guide: A non-technical introduction to the most popular agile process. This book is about Scrum and is intended for anyone who wants to understand how the most popular agile-development approach is used to deliver innovative products and services. It covers all aspects of the Scrum framework (e.g., roles, meetings, artifacts). Managers such as project managers, development managers, functional-area managers, senior managers and executives are the primary audience for this book. Developers, testers, user experience experts, DBAs and other project participants can also benefit from this book, but they will certainly want to complement this book with more detailed texts. My goal is to provide a simple-to-read, appropriately detailed description of the Scrum framework along with the business case for Scrum. I make liberal use of illustrations to visually reinforce concepts. My hope is that a person can digest this book on a four-to-five-hour airplane flight (a flight across the United States). What Type of Feedback I am interested in any feedback that you are willing to provide. Minor typos or simple grammar mistakes are less important since in the near future professional editors will review what you are reading. Honestly, I am more interested in the appropriateness of the content to the managerial audience. Do you like the tone? Do you think the level of detail is appropriate? If you think some important idea is missing, what is it? Also, the art was created by a non-artist (meaning me). A professional illustrator will redraw all of the pictures from my concept art. So feel free to comment on the art knowing that it will be redrawn. I am very interested in whether you feel a particular illustration concept could be improved, and if so, how? Also, please let me know if you think an illustration should be added to enhance clarity. It might be helpful to know that my goal is to have an informative illustration every 1.5 pages (on average). How to Provide Feedback. Please send me your feedback via email at krubin@innolution.com. The best format would be comments embedded in the PDF. Also, over the first half of 2010 I will be adding additional chapters for review to the Mike Cohn Signature Book Series website at: http://www.mikecohnsignatureseries.com/books/scrum-a-managers-guide. Thank you again for your input. I really appreciate it. Kenny Rubin

6 September 2010

DRAFT – DO NOT QUOTE

Scrum: A Manager’s Guide

Copyright © 2009-2010, Kenneth S. Rubin. All Rights Reserved.

Introduction
When I started working on commercial software projects in the mid1980s we used to joke that if civil engineers built cities the same way we built software, the first woodpecker that came along would destroy society! (Ref) Nearly thirty years have passed, yet for many the situation hasn’t improved. For most, software development has settled into a predictable pattern of mediocrity where discontent is an acceptable outcome. If you gathered together your business and development managers and asked them: "Are you happy with the results of our software development projects?" or “Do you think we deliver good customer value in a timely, economical and quality manner?” what would they say? More often than not, the people I meet during my worldwide training and coaching answer both questions with a resounding, “No.” This is followed by a chorus of “project failure rate is unacceptably high; deliverables are late; return on investment frequently falls short of expectations; software quality is poor; productivity is embarrassing; no one is accountable for outcomes; employee morale is low; and employee turnover is too high.” Then, there’s the under-the-breath snicker that accompanies the tongue-in-cheek, “There must be a better way.”

6 September 2010

DRAFT – DO NOT QUOTE

Introduction Page 1 of 6

Scrum: A Manager’s Guide

Copyright © 2009-2010, Kenneth S. Rubin. All Rights Reserved.

Yet even with all this discontent, most people seem resigned to the fact that dissatisfaction is just part of the reality of software development. Organizations that have diligently applied Scrum, however, are experiencing a different reality. When asked about their software projects, they say things like, “Lately we’ve been doing a really good job. Our customers are happy and we’re happy. We can’t believe how much better things are.” These companies have discovered a way to repeatedly delight their customers with timely, on-budget deliverables of exceptional-quality, high-value products Don’t get me wrong. Scrum is not the silver bullet to all that afflicts software development organizations. Scrum also is not some new, complicated, software-development process or methodology. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Scrum is based on solid values, principles and practices that have been proven over the past 20 years. Its simple framework is easy to understand yet flexible enough to integrate multiple approaches, making it adaptable to nearly any environment. Although the Scrum framework is simple, it would be mistake to assume that Scrum will therefore be easy and painless to apply. Scrum doesn’t prescriptively answer your process questions; instead it empowers teams to ask and answer their own great questions. Scrum doesn’t give individuals a pat solution to all their organizational maladies, instead Scrum makes visible the dysfunctions and waste that prevent organizations from reaching their true potential. These

6 September 2010

DRAFT – DO NOT QUOTE

Introduction Page 2 of 6

Scrum: A Manager’s Guide

Copyright © 2009-2010, Kenneth S. Rubin. All Rights Reserved.

realizations can be painful for many organizations; however, if they move past the initial discomfort and work to solve the problems Scrum unearths, companies can experience great strides both in terms of their software development process and products and also in their levels of employee and customer satisfaction. Scrum is based on a small set of core values1, principles and practices (collectively the Scrum framework). The Scrum framework should be embraced in its entirety; however, this does not mean that each organization’s Scrum implementation will be the same. Rather, each organization will have its own unique implementation of the Scrum framework based on the specific approaches that it chooses to realize the Scrum practices. In this book, I point out specific approaches that I have found to be useful. Organizations can consider using these when they create their own instances of Scrum, but should keep in mind that these approaches are consistent with but not part of the core values, principles and practices of the Scrum framework. Though managers—project managers, development managers,

functional-area managers, senior managers and executives—are the primary audience for this book, it is appropriate for anyone who wants to understand how the most popular agile-development approach is used to deliver innovative products and services. Most agile books take a developer-centric or techno-centric perspective. For those looking for
1

This book includes a glossary of all terms that appear in boldface type.
DRAFT – DO NOT QUOTE Introduction Page 3 of 6

6 September 2010

Scrum: A Manager’s Guide

Copyright © 2009-2010, Kenneth S. Rubin. All Rights Reserved.

a quick and complete introduction to Scrum, these tend to be lengthy and overly detailed. This book fills the gap by providing a simple-to-read, appropriately detailed description of the Scrum framework coupled with the business case for Scrum. I make liberal use of illustrations to visually reinforce concepts. My goal is for a person to be able to digest this book on a four-to-five-hour airplane flight (the typical length of a flight across the United States). This book can be used in many ways. For managers considering using Scrum, this book provides a foundation to understand why Scrum can be an effective approach for managing work. Managers will also gain a realization of the types of organizational change that will be necessary to successfully implement Scrum. Practitioners who want to use Scrum but aren’t yet doing so can give this book to their managers to help sell them on “why Scrum?” Those looking for broader organizational commitment to Scrum can give this book to people not involved in the adoption and say, “Here, read this tonight or on your next plane flight and you’ll understand what we are doing and why.” Teams that are not applying Scrum particularly well might also find this book helpful. Some organizations misunderstand Scrum’s adaptability; rather than integrate a different approach inside the Scrum

6 September 2010

DRAFT – DO NOT QUOTE

Introduction Page 4 of 6

Scrum: A Manager’s Guide

Copyright © 2009-2010, Kenneth S. Rubin. All Rights Reserved.

framework, they make the mistake of materially altering one or more Scrum practices. Organizations that do this often find that Scrum isn’t enabling them to achieve their desired results and may proclaim Scrum doesn’t work. This book can help teams identify instances where this might be occurring and illustrates what Scrum should look like, helping them improve their use of Scrum. Finally, even companies planning to apply an agile approach other than Scrum will find information that is relevant to their success. For many people this book will be their first introduction to Scrum and agile. For some managers, this might be their only Scrum or agile book. There are, however, other good references for Scrum. Scrum has a rich history, tracing its origins to the first Scrum project performed at Easel Corporation in 1993 by Jeff Sutherland and his team. Over the years there have been excellent Scrum publications, including seminal works by Schwaber & Beedle (REF), Schwaber (REF), Sutherland (REF), Schwaber and Sutherland (REF) and others. The founding of the Scrum Alliance in 2005 marked another important milestone in the broader adoption of Scrum and a corresponding proliferation of Scrum-related knowledge. The Scrum Alliance’s website (www.scrumalliance.org) and the websites of its many affiliated members provide an ever-increasing source of additional Scrum knowledge that can be used to complement this book.

6 September 2010

DRAFT – DO NOT QUOTE

Introduction Page 5 of 6

Scrum: A Manager’s Guide

Copyright © 2009-2010, Kenneth S. Rubin. All Rights Reserved.

I recommend that people in more technical roles supplement this book with publications that explore the technical details and nuances of different agile development approaches. While this book offers a complete description of Scrum, it purposefully does not explore the minute details necessary to implement Scrum on a technical level. Whatever your role, whatever your situation, you have picked up this book for a reason. Spend a little time getting to know Scrum. In the pages that follow you just might find a powerful framework that you can make your own, allowing you to substantially improve the way you develop and deliver products and services.

6 September 2010

DRAFT – DO NOT QUOTE

Introduction Page 6 of 6

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful