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The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice for Your First Year (Agile Software Development) Paperback – 8 Mar 2012

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More About the Author

Mitch Lacey is an agile practitioner and trainer. He is also the founder of Mitch Lacey & Associates, Inc., a software consulting and training firm. Mitch specializes in helping companies realize gains in efficiency by adopting agile principles and practices such as Scrum and extreme programming.

Mitch was a formally trained program manager before adding agile to his project tool belt. He first developed agile skills at Microsoft Corporation, where he successfully released core enterprise services for Windows Live. Mitch's first agile team at Microsoft was coached by Ward Cunningham, Jim Newkirk, and David Anderson. Mitch continued practicing at Microsoft by working as a product owner or ScrumMaster on a variety of projects. He also helped teams throughout the organization adopt agile practices. He continues to develop his craft by experimenting and practicing with project teams he works on today.

Mitch is a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), a PMI Project Management Professional (PMP) and PMI Agile Certified Professional (ACP). Mitch shares his experience in project and client management through Certified ScrumMaster courses, agile coaching engagements, conference presentations, blogs, and white papers. Mitch works with companies across the world, from Austria to Columbia, California to Florida, Portugal to Turkey, and just about everywhere in between.

Mitch has presented at a variety of conferences worldwide, is the conference chair for Agile 2012, and is on the board of directors of the Agile Alliance and served on the board of directors for the Scrum Alliance from July 2010 through December 2011.

Product Description

About the Author

Mitch Lacey has been an agile practitioner and consultant and is the founder of Mitch Lacey & Associates, Inc., a software consulting and training firm. Mitch helps teams and companies realize gains in efficiency by adopting agile principles and practices such as Scrum and Extreme Programming. Mitch cut his agile teeth at Microsoft Corporation working on a variety of projects, sometimes as the product owner, other times as the ScrumMaster. Today, with more than 16 years of experience under his belt, Mitch works as an agile trainer and coach. He also continues to develop his craft by experimenting and practicing with project teams at many different organizations.Mitch is a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) and a PMI Project Management Professional (PMP). He is a frequent speaker at conferences worldwide; has served on the board of the Scrum Alliance and the Agile Alliance; and chaired the Agile 2012 conference.

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Format: Kindle Edition
Scrum offers minimal guidelines for agile project management. In this book, Mitch Lacey provides Scrum practitioners with material that should help them improve their Scrum practices. Each chapter starts with a story that put the topic in perspective. It is followed by a discussion on the conceptual aspects. At the end of the chapter, a "Keys to Success" part summarizes the important content of the chapter and a reference section provides pointer to additional knowledge. I have particularly appreciated the chapters about the sprint length determination, doing new development and maintenance at the same time or the sprint emergency procedures. The book is easy to read and I will recommend this book to every Agile practitioner and every non-Agile practitioner too ;O)
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Format: Paperback
Just brilliant is all that I have to say about Mitch's book, all the examples and chapters are written in a very friendly way with an introductory short story that really sets the flow for the entire chapter.
Great advice if you are starting to implement Scrum throughout your team or if you're already knee deep into it with lots of real world examples and easy to remember rules to succeed.
I read the whole book in under a week because it was very engaging and easy to read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fantastic guide for your first time out.
Excellent advise on the pitfalls that you will routinely encounter.
Super advice.
Invaluable, clear easy to read and understand.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ricardo Fiel Santos on 29 April 2012
Format: Paperback
I wish I had this book when I started adopting Scrum. It's not an easy task and one may feel too tempted to quit and forget about agile and scrum altogether. Mitch's book is your helping hand at all stages of Scrum adoption, an absolute must-have if you're on the early stages and a great reference if you're already doing Scrum for a few years.

Mitch's writing is practical and the book was written from his experience as one the world's leading Scrum trainers helping many Fortune 100 companies adopting this methodology. You won't get the theory, you'll get the advise and tools that will make you successful. Every chapter can be read at any time, so you don't have to go through half of it just to solve the problem you're having at the moment. Also, every chapter has a story about what was happening at some company, so you may find other people who had the same problems you had.

I did my CSM with Mitch some years ago and was blasted by his unique ability to keep you wanting to learn more and more, while keeping the classes both fun and concise. When I heard this book was about to be released, I knew it was going to be a very good. But it's more than that, it's THE scrum book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 134 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Must read for beginning and seasoned Scrum practitioners 26 Mar. 2012
By Bill Ramos - Published on
Format: Paperback
I would recommend Mitch's book to anyone or team getting started with Scrum or as a refresher for practicing Scrum teams. The reading style of telling a story, discussing the model, identifying keys to success, and references for each chapter is a refreshing technique for understanding why elements of the Scrum model are important while making it easy to go back for future reference.

Here are some of the nuggets that I picked out.
- Adding a fourth question for people to answer at the daily standup meeting - on a scale of 1-10, how confident are you that we will accomplish the goals of this sprint?
- Contract strategies for Scrum based development efforts - especially around change control - if a customer adds a new story, they need to subtract a story or set of stories of equal story points.
- Decomposing stories into tasks with an example of going too far. I would have liked to seen a treatment on how to deal with predecessor tasks for the sprint.
- Best practices on running the sprint review and retrospective meetings.
- Dealing with special considerations and challenges for offshore development .
- Creating end-to-end user scenarios for sprint objectives to demonstrate software that is ready to ship.

Something that I would have liked to have seen in the book is how to manage multiple projects with Scrum and how to deal with scarce "team consultant" resources who can't be full time and may be asked to work on 3 or more projects during the same sprint cycle. Mitch points out the caution, but didn't provide a solution other than they need to be flexible. Multi-project release planning is always a challenge with shared resources.

Overall, this is a must read for beginning and seasoned Scrum practitioners.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A very practical approach to rescuing a Scrum implementation. 13 Jun. 2012
By Shane Willerton - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Scrum Field Guide should not be your resource for learning and/or beginning to implement Scrum. It is the book you should turn to when you need to rescue your Scrum implementation. This is a practical approach to the more common obstacles that a Scrum implementation will encounter. The title of the first chapter sums it up succinctly: Scrum: Simple, Not Easy.

Scrum is the project management portion of Agile development. At a generic level, Scrum gives management the tools to monitor and track the progress of the favorite flavor of Agile development whether XP, TDD, etc. The Scrum Field Guide is geared mainly towards Scrum Masters, core team members or managers wanting to put their project back on track.

Every chapter can stand-alone and be read in any order. Each chapter begins with a story to help the reader draw parallels between the topic that the chapter addresses and the difficulties the reader is facing in their environment. Often, the symptoms of the different challenges can hide the root cause. From how to get recalcitrant core team members on board with using Scrum to recover Sprint Retrospectives turned gripe sessions, this book covers it all. The chapters are short in terms of page length because they are meant to offer ready-made and practical advice on common issues with the topic at hand rather than offer a detailed examination of each aspect of implementing Scrum.

Purchase this book when you get back from Scrum training or when you buy the book on how to implement Scrum. Put it on your shelf and refer to it when Scrum gets hard or just doesn't seem to work as advertised. This book will not teach you how to implement Scrum, it will help you save your implementation. Scrum's simple, but simple is not always easy!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Great practical, hands-on book for people adopting Scrum and XP 23 Mar. 2012
By Tiago Andrade e Silva - Published on
Format: Paperback
Great story format, easy to read, smart, practical advice.

I purchased this book because I attended one of Mitch's classes in Portugal a couple years ago, when he was working on it. I was in my first year of Scrum and XP at the time (his target market) and boy, do I wish I had this book then. I still purchased it and found a lot of new things. Some of my favorites are:
-How to handle documentation
-Definition of done
-How to justify having a ScrumMaster
-Engineering practices

Contracting. Mitch provides two models for the reader to consider when working with customers, either internal or external. While the ideas may sound crazy, they are not. I'm eager to try these models in the real world.

Documentation. This is always a battle. Mitch makes a good case for how, when and most importantly, why to document. It's not just a blanket "document everything" approach, nor is it the common "agile means no documentation" stuff that everyone seems to say at one point in their life. Instead it's a way to look at documentation, historically, and think about the right time to do it. He never says don't do it, or do it all - he says be smart about it, understand why you do it, and understand your customer. This is one of my favorite chapters.

Definition of done. There is a lot of writing on the Internet on this topic, but this is the first time I've seen something written where it actually walks a team through with an established technique on HOW to build a definition of done, how to use it and how to communicate it to customers and stakeholders. I let a friend borrow the book just for this section so he could use this chapter.

Justifying the ScrumMaster. I'm used to hear people (customers and project stakeholders) say "can't someone just be the product owner and the scrummaster? How hard can it be?" Well, Mitch provides a financial model that should make any customer drool when they understand how much impact a truly dedicated ScrumMaster can have on a team. It's a simple model to follow and I'll be showing this to many people the next time I'm told "no ScrumMasters allowed on this project".

Engineering practices. I am so glad he talked about this. I saw many Scrum implementations fail because they don't do the engineering practices, they just "do scrum so everything will be better" - which is not the case. The engineering practices he discusses are, in my option, key to doing Scrum. He talks about ways to introduce them gently and shows the benefits they will receive.

One thing to consider. This book does not dive into the basic details of Scrum. There is an appendix in the back that covers the basics, but it assumes you have done
some homework, read something about Scrum and XP and are looking at ways to get "over the roadblocks" so you can have a successful Scrum and XP implementation. This book is full of practical, pragmatic advice, and you won't see a lot of theory. Everything is practice/experience based, which is something I liked in Mitch since we first met.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Road Less Traveled 8 April 2012
By Scott Densmore - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have had the pleasure of knowing Mitch and reading his book. If you are new to SCRUM or starting another project using this methodology, this book is for you. If you always wish you had a field guide to help when working through your project, this is it. It takes some of the best practices to help guide you to a successful project.

No matter how many projects I go through, I always seem to pick up something new that rolls into my next project. Sometimes I remember them all, sometimes I forget and then think how much better the project would have been if I had only done something different. This book is like my little notebook of all those things that I can keep with me at all times.

The best part of the book is the way Mitch puts all these practices into light through the stories he tells. I am sure that when you read them, you will be saying, "been there, done that, got the T-Shirt".

Get this book. Carry it with you. Write in it. Use it to mold your process to be successful.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Good Primer on Scrum, and easy way to get into it. 21 Dec. 2012
By Bradley Ouellette - Published on
Format: Paperback
A fun read, mixing entertaining stories with practical advice.

Mitch came to work and gave a talk on using scrum, while presenting, he advertised his book, it sounded interesting, and he offered anyone at the talk a free copy, so I read through it. If you go to his talk it's more in depth than what he can get through in a one day class. It still appears directed at the beginner user of Scrum, with many examples and solutions to common problems that will come up to new groups moving to scrum.

I liked how he presented the book as a collection of "What Not to do" stories, and then how to solve the problem they got themselves into. The stories often seem exaggerated, to make a point, but I fully believe they are all based on real events, and I can see many people falling unbeknownst to a similar situation in real life. For example, one of the stories describes a scrum team that has team member that works as the scrum master, the product owner, and tries to get work done on the team. I could easily see someone trying to do two of those roles.

The book is written to be read either from front to back, or as a reference guide skipping to the section that is relevant at the time. As you read through there are brief descriptions when he references something in another section, but usually it builds up such that you shouldn't have to skip to that section just to finish reading what your currently on.

He makes a lot of claims for how much good scrum and Extreme programming can do for your organization, but I like that he backed up all his claims with actual research. Quoting research papers where they tested how much of a performance degradation peer programming causes compared to how many fewer bugs, the code will produce. He also is including his real world experience, but you don't have to just take his word for it.
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