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New masterpiece on agile adoption
on 22 February 2010
Mike Cohn's books have always been great resources of inspiration for me: Both in my early agile days, where I transformed from being a traditional project manager to a newborn ScrumMaster, as well as today where I, as a Certified Scrum Coach, helps clients to excellence in agile product development. Cohn's latest book: "Succeeding With Agile Software Development Using Scrum" is no exception to this - in fact, I consider this book to be the best I have ever read in the area of broad covering what is necessary in order to succeed with agile development.
When stating "broad coverage", I by no means indicate that this book is a brief description of the relevant subjects. On a contrary, it is more than 400 pages full of insights, details and suggestions on how to succeed with agile implementations in organizations of diverse sizes and cultures. Cohn has done a great job in compiling the essence from many sources and combine it with his own experiences and significant opinions into this masterpiece. There are other books that dig deeper on single subjects (like the up-coming books by Roman Pichler and Lyssa Adkins) which Cohn respectfully are suggesting as additional reading by the end of each chapter.
As Cohn states at the very beginning: "This is not a book for those who are completely new to Scrum or agile". I agree. If you are looking for an introduction to Scrum, you should turn to other sources like the official Scrum Guide or one of Ken Schwabers books, just as long as you remember to come back to this one after gaining experience on your own. This book is filled with descriptions and figures that help even well experienced and highly certified agile practitioners to get the clear picture!
In each chapter, Cohn has included small time-outs named "Things to try now" and "Objection". The first type helps the reader to reflect on his (or should I rather say "her"?) current practice, as well as give concrete suggestions on things that can be done in order to add some positive change. I have personally found many grains of gold that I will apply to my own practice. The second type, "Objection" is actually quite unique. In those sections, Cohn puts himself in the shoes of the skeptical stakeholder and state reasons why Scrum is not working - or at least not is going to work in MY organization (I am just reminded of having similar objections myself the first time I heard about Scrum - luckily I was wrong!). Of course he also takes the time to answer back on each objection by acknowledging the problem behind the objection and providing pragmatic solutions that easily can be implemented.
Reading the book is just like getting a Dan Brown novel in your hands - in fact, I have put "The Lost Symbol" on hold for the benefit of this one! It is written in a clear language with well-described examples and the humor you always sense whenever you read or have live experiences of Cohn. You will get enormous value where either you read it from start to finish or handpick chapters whenever needed.
This one will be one of my primary references for quite a while. Well done, Mike!
Certified Scrum Coach, Project Management Professional and Certified Systemic Coach.