Agile Software Development with Scrum



There are many books written about Agile software development, but few that are considered foundational works like Agile Software Development with Scrum.  Ken Schwaber and Mike Beedle wrote this book about how they both worked together in the early 1990’s when Ken was formulating the initial versions of the Scrum development process.

The book starts with and introduction to Scrum and how it came about and then moves to the basic Scrum practices.  From there the authors move on to discuss how to apply Scrum to your organization.  Then they talk about why Scrum works and how it provides value to organizations.

Scrum represents a new, more accurate way of doing software development that is based on the assumption that software is a new product every time that it is written or composed.

The authors introduce to Scrum as  new methodology for developing software.  The name Scrum comes from rugby and how similar the game is to the new product development process.  The initial Scrum work began on a product called Personal NewsPage, the team had a poor reputation.  They began with creating a prioritized list of requests, what today we call a Product Backlog.  They selected one individual to own the backlog, this would be the Product Owner role.

The next task was to schedule this work and put together items for fixed length iterations or Sprints.  The first Sprint length was thirty days long, the team thought they could finish the items in that length of time.  The team met with the Product Owner to plan what items would be done in the first Sprint, this is the Sprint Planning meeting.  As  the team worked through the first iteration new requests came in and were added to the Product Backlog.  The team was able to pick which items the worked on.  Once the team completed their work they demonstrated their work to the business stakeholders.

They instituted a quick daily meeting to review where each team member was at with its commitments.  This meeting is called the Daily Scrum.  The leader of this meeting became know as the Scrum Master since the group of people together resembled a rugby scrum.  The meeting is held everyday at the same time and same place and should be under fifteen minutes.  The team members are the only people allowed to talk. They can discuss three things, what they have done since the last meeting, what they will do before the next meeting, and if anything is standing in there way.

The Team (sometimes called Scrum Team) that was put together for this work was cross-functional, with developers, testers, and designers.  The Team completed all work themselves and was self-directed.  It is important to point out that the Scrum Master role is quite a bit different than the normal Project Manager.

The book moves on from covering the basics to discuss Scrum Practices.  They cover some important topics of team composition, team size, and the roles and responsibilities.  In the section on Applying Scrum they talk about the differences when working with existing software versus working on a new project.  They work up to some advanced topics with reviewing some case studies they have helped with.

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