Agile Project Management with Scrum

by Ken Schwaber

Agile Project Management with Scrum is a wonderful book. The author, Ken Schwaber (one of the originators of the Scrum process), informs us through case studies and anecdotes. If you like learning by example, this book is for you. Scrum is quite likely the best starting point for most companies interested in pursuing an agile development process. The readability and excellent anecdotes in this book make it a fantastic starting point for any journey into agile development.

I loved seeing how Schwaber applied Scrum in many varying situations. Rather than introducing each case study one at a time, the book is organized around key areas. Multiple anecdotes are given for each key area. Throughout each chapter, Schwaber brings the anecdotes together in Lessons Learned sections and the chapters conclude by helping point out the conclusions we learn to draw from the anecdotes.

I appreciated that Schwaber was not shy about mentioning projects that didn’t go perfectly–including one he got fired from for being too zealous in his role of sheepdog guarding his flock of developers.

Although this book is ostensibly about software development, Scrum has its roots in general new product development and can (and has been) applied to a wide variety of development projects. A problem with a process like Scrum is that it is best learned by “feeling it” rather than being told about it. There are many subtle differences between Scrum and a more command–and–control management process. Learning Scrum by reading a book filled with examples like this is the best way to get the feel for how to use it on your own projects.