Scott Graffius – Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions

agile scrum boekWhere the 16 pages of the Scrum Guide (The Definitive Guide to Scrum) explains Scrum, there are many books trying to do the same, but lengthier. Scott Graffius expands the Scrum roles, events, artifacts, and rules with prescriptive step-by-step instructions, a glossary, and the Agile Manifesto‘s statements and principles embedded. Although the author in the last part of Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions comes up with the umbrella of agile methods, there’s no explanation on the history and foundations of Scrum. Furthermore, the Scrum Guide is nowhere mentioned, where numerous other books and articles on Scrum and Agile frameworks are.

The author states: “Agile Scrum is not an all-or-nothing proposition, and every aspect does not need to be followed to the letter.” The Scrum Guide states: “Scrum’s roles, artifacts, events, and rules are immutable and although implementing only parts of Scrum is possible, the result is not Scrum. Scrum exists only in its entirety and functions well as a container for other techniques, methodologies, and practices.” What the author in fact does, is lending from the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), and tweaking the Scrum process framework merely without explanation. Artifacts are presented as activities, some of them then without a timebox. Whereas the Scrum Guide says nothing about projects or how the development team actually is formed, the step-by-step instruction for Group formation actually says nothing about group formation. Graffius tweaks the INVEST acronym, by redefining it. Example Negotiable “The only thing that is fixed and set in stone in an agile project is an iteration backlog (and, even then, this “can be clarified and re-negotiated… as more is learned. While the PBI lies in the product backlog, it can be rewritten or even discarded, depending on business, market, technical or any other type of requirement by team members.” becomes “Good stories are negotiable and capture the essence, not the details.”

Whereas everyone talks about poker planning or planning poker technique, the author uses ‘the story estimate game’ and leaves out important aspects like the rationale behind story point estimation and the Fibonacci sequence of cards. According to this book, there’s only a burndown chart, the alternative burnup chart is not mentioned at all. The sprint retrospective “inspects the performance of the preceding sprint and identifies what went, what didn’t go well, and improvements to be implemented during the next sprint.” That the current sprint is inspected, and the retrospective according to the Scrum Guide focuses on the “people, relationships, process, and tools” is forgotten. Graffius suggests leaving the product owner out of the sprint review as “a common practice”.

My list of defects can go on. One more example. In the glossary, Scrum is defined as: “An iterative and incremental Agile development method for managing software projects and product or application development.” Sorry, the Guide defines Scrum as: “A framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.” and illustrates it as: “a process framework that has been used to manage complex product development since the early 1990s.”

About the author

Scott M. Graffius founded and is president of Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions, a consultancy specialized in project, program, portfolio, and PMO management inclusive of Agile, traditional, and hybrid frameworks. He leverages his expertise, professional standards, and industry best practices to help companies achieve significant business results, such as strategically aligned initiatives, reduced cycle time, upgraded on-time delivery, improved on-budget delivery, enriched on-value delivery, higher satisfaction, and greater competitive advantage. He holds the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) credential from the Scrum Alliance, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute, and ITIL certification from Axelos. Scott is a former vice president of a provider of diverse consumer products and services over the internet including social networking and internet access. Prior to that, he worked in organizations with businesses ranging from advanced technology products and services to business services, retail, e-commerce, manufacturing, and entertainment. He has experience with consumer, business, reseller, government, and international customer markets, as well as international experience spanning 20 countries.

I received a free review copy from the author in exchange for my personal, unbiased review.