Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland ~ Book Review

We live in a world that is broken. For those who believe that there must be a more efficient way for people to get things done, here from Scrum pioneer Jeff Sutherland is a brilliantly discursive, thought-provoking book about the management process that is changing the way we live.

In the future, historians may look back on human progress and draw a sharp line designating “before Scrum” and “after Scrum.”  Scrum is that ground-breaking.  It already drives most of the world’s top technology companies.  And now it’s starting to spread to every domain where people wrestle with complex projects.

If you’ve ever been startled by how fast the world is changing, Scrum is one of the reasons why. Productivity gains of as much as 1200% have been recorded, and there’s no more lucid – or compelling – explainer of Scrum and its bright promise than Jeff Sutherland, the man who put together the first Scrum team more than twenty years ago.

The thorny problem Jeff began tackling back then boils down to this: people are spectacularly bad at doing things quickly and efficiently. Best laid plans go up in smoke. Teams often work at cross purposes to each other. And when the pressure rises, unhappiness soars. Drawing on his experience as a West Point-educated fighter pilot, biometrics expert, early innovator of ATM technology, and V.P. of engineering or CTO at eleven different technology companies, Jeff began challenging those dysfunctional realities, looking  for solutions that would have global impact.

In this book you’ll journey to Scrum’s front lines where Jeff’s system of deep accountability, team interaction, and constant iterative improvement is, among other feats, bringing the FBI into the 21st century, perfecting the design of an affordable 140 mile per hour/100 mile per gallon car, helping NPR report fast-moving action in the Middle East, changing the way pharmacists interact with patients, reducing poverty in the Third World, and even helping people plan their weddings and accomplish weekend chores.

Woven with insights from martial arts, judicial decision making, advanced aerial combat, robotics, and many other disciplines, Scrum is consistently riveting. But the most important reason to read this book is that it may just help you achieve what others consider unachievable – whether it be inventing a trailblazing technology, devising a new system of education, pioneering a way to feed the hungry, or, closer to home, a building a foundation for your family to thrive and prosper.

About the Author

Jeff is the co-creator of Scrum and a leading expert on how the framework has evolved to meet the needs of today’s business. The methodology he developed in 1993 and formalized in 1995 with Ken Schwaber has since been adopted by the vast majority of software development companies around the world. But Jeff realized that the benefits of Scrum are not limited to software and product development. He has adapted this successful strategy for several other industries including: finance, healthcare, higher education and telecom.

As the CEO of Scrum Inc. and the Senior Advisor and Agile Coach to OpenView Venture Partners, Jeff sets the vision for success with Scrum. He continues to share best practices with organizations around the globe and has written extensively on Scrum rules and methods. www.ScrumInc.com

My Thoughts

Whether you are a leader in business, a team leader, work in a profit or non-profit business, you will learn from Scrum by Jeff Sutherland.  His methods are being used in classrooms, the military, government, and in homes successfully. 

As I read this book, I was quickly drawn into this practical and transparent method of working as a team, focusing on success instead of failure.  My mind immediately began to think of areas in which I could incorporate this method into my classroom, our school, my personal life, and was anxious to share with my fellow educators. 

The areas I liked most about Scrum was that for the method to succeed, the group must work transparently as a team, knowing the progress of the other teams to reach the goals of the company.  I also liked Jeff Sutherland’s views on multitasking and being overworked, believing that shorter, but more efficient work hours brings greater success. 

If you are in business, for profit or not, you will find the Scrum method to benefit your work successes and environment. The book is practical, simple in its presentation, and will make your life easier and happier.

Thank you to author Jeff Sutherland, Blogging For Books, and Random House for a free copy in exchange for this review.

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