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Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum

(A Mike Cohn Signature Book)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,776 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Proven, 100% Practical Guidance for Making Scrum and Agile Work in Any Organization.

This is the definitive, realistic, actionable guide to starting fast with Scrum and agile–and then succeeding over the long haul. Leading agile consultant and practitioner Mike Cohn presents detailed recommendations, powerful tips, and real-world case studies drawn from his unparalleled exp
Paperback, 475 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Addison-Wesley Professional (first published 2009)
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Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book about the practice of implementing scrum in your organisation. The theory of scrum is a relatively easy to grasp concept but the actual implementation will more often than not leave you with practical questions.

You can read the book cover to cover but depending on your background and situation you can also cherry pick the chapters you need. Each chapter is packed with handy tips ('things to try now'), typical 'objections' (and counter arguments) and clear diagrams.

What I also like
Ahmed Salem
Sep 17, 2014 rated it liked it
The book is focusing on only one thing "How to adapt Agile development (successfully)"! It is business oriented book, so don't expect so much for a cut through plan for agile development process to jump working right now!

It is very recommended for a project manager rather than a developer or a team leader!

Merged review:

The book is focusing on only one thing "How to adapt Agile development (successfully)"! It is business oriented book, so don't expect so much for a cut through plan for agile deve
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book! It is easy to read and gives very good advise how to embrace agile.
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I would highly recommend this book for those who are transitioning to Agile. In particular, I thought the book was well laid out to cover salient points throughout and easily could be read both sequentially or for the busy exec by jumping to a chapter of a particular topic you couldn't wait to learn more about. The "Things to Try Now" tips throughout the chapters I found very helpful and full of immediate, practical advice. The "Additional Reading" at the end of each chapter was also something I ...more
Sep 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Aleksander by: Mike Cohn

If you are looking to introduce Scrum in your organisation or to improve the way it is implemented, you should read this book and keep it close at hand. If you do not already have a working knowledge of Scrum, some Certified ScrumMaster or Certified Product Owner training, say, you should get that first, and then read this book.

Often when reviewing books I condense my key findings, but this is hard in this case. The book is just too expansive, but in a good way. It is to Scrum what Code Complete

Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is not a book you want to read when you want a manual about agile. It's not a reference guide about Scrum either. There are other books for that (e.g. Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process which gets good reviews here on Goodreads). You need some knowledge about agile and Scrum to fully appreciate this book (you don't even need to read a book; the basics are simple enough: What makes it special and in my opinion a must-have, is th ...more
Russell Folk
This seems like a valuable book from a more leadership perspective than everyday engineer which is funny as the book seems to really frown upon the thought of “team leads”. The book has some good points to it though I would not call it an introductory text on agile development practices. It's also a bit too “uppity” throughout for my tastes. I can appreciate what is written and glean some things from it but as someone trying to step in and get a feel for the best practices and all it's too much ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teams, agile, business
Mike Cohn know Scrum and this book illustrates that very clearly. This is a very thorough book covering most every aspect of Scrum. Probably more suitable for a coach/trainer or someone who is doing some deep work with a Scrum team. I didn't make it all the way through since many of the details were either familiar, or applicable to larger organizations that I was in. I am glad to have a copy and can see my self referring to it later. If you need to go to the next level in Scrum, this is definit ...more
Christopher Boudreau
A classic primer on how to adopt scrum in your organization

This book was published in 2009 (nearly ten years ago) and was one of the most authoritative works on how to adopt scrum at the time. I wanted to read it to see the context of one of the first mentions of the testing pyramid. These approaches (scrum and testing pyramid) have become the bedrock of current Dev(Sec)Ops development techniques. I rate it 3 out of 5 now because even though modern-day techniques have evolved, it is still worth
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good guide to start applying the concepts of agility in the organization. Although this is not a "full implementation guide" it shows the bottom line and the starting points that you can use in your journey.

I would have liked a more comprehensive list of resources to dig deeper, specially in the second part of the book regarding team work, one of the main challenges in scrum.

Summing up, this is a excellent starting point to implement scrum.
Steve Fenton
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The first two parts of this book were a bit too familiar, perhaps I have over-read this subject. However, Part III on Teams made the whole book worthwhile. This entire part was golden and immediately relevant. So for the scattered brilliant bits, I have overlooked the slower moments.
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite an interesting book about improving your agile methodologies. Starts slow and doesn't seem too interesting at the beginning, but picks up to provide lots of insights that are still relevant today. ...more
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book

This is one of the most conplete book that I have read to esycate a great scrum master or agile coach. I think it's a must seek book for all the professional that whats to evolve and get succeeding with agile.
Graham Lee
May 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
I can't believe how verbose the exhortation to value working software over comprehensive documentation is. ...more
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great starting book for agile transition
Chandan Khatwani
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shift your mindset to agile development. Cause you know your current process doesn't work. Plenty of guidance given in the book. Mike's books are great. ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: agile
Better than any Agile/Scrum training or certification. I highly recommend this book for anyone working with Scrum. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced Scrum Master, this book is gold.
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great information but the book could be about 70% shorter. It's unnecessarily massive. ...more
Dávid Molnár
Nov 04, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is massive. It’ll help you with your SCRUM adoption. Not a definitive guide on SCRUM though.
Henrik Dohlmann
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dev
That's how we should do things :-) ...more
Konrad Sikorski
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It will help most when you want to switch you organization to agile. It cover every important topic about switching to agile. You will get todo tasks and many references.
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the easiest things to do in print is to praise a strategy or set of tactics used to perform difficult tasks. When all you are doing is simply expounding the stated virtues of a methodology, you are somewhat free to use hype, anecdotal information and instance proofs of success. Implementation details and explanations of logical and frequent difficulties encountered by practitioners of the methodology are ignored or minimized.
That is not the case in this book, Cohn describes the agile soft
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a book for pragmatics.
Advice for the harder stuff - how to introduce and spread Scrum, how to get people to let go of doing by design at the start of the project, how to deliver software that works by the end of each sprint, what managers do, and more.
Apr 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
We have been implementing agile practices in the studio for a few months and seen some successes and some obstacles. Most of the problems have been with exactly which aspects of agile were right for us. We did not want overly formal adherence to agile standards, but rather something more organic that suited our team. On the other hand, this "looseness" meant that there were many grey areas without easy answers. Many of the situations we encountered are discussed in this book - an indication of h ...more
David Workman
Jul 30, 2010 marked it as to-read
Preliminary reading shows that this book is definitely not an introduction to scrum and expects a reader to already have quite a good level of scrum comprehension.

It also shows that this book is targeted at people who are looking to migrate a company's practices over to scrum or are in the process of a transition and gives a lot of advice and techniques that the author has used to perform such transitions in the past.

I've put this back to my 'to-read' pile so I can pick it up again once I've got
Caroline Gordon
This is the MUST read book on Scrum. I really like Mike Cohn's style, his books are very practical and make sense for how to really get things done. This book focuses on how to proceed with an Agile transformation. There are many approaches that can be taken and he lays them all out, how to do them and what the advantages and disadvantages of each may be. I added many more books to my to read list from all his referenced books. I will be referring back to this book for many years, it's a classic ...more
Feb 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: computer
Really great book on Scrum, from one of the biggest names in Scrum.

This book is most applicable to organisations that are just starting out with Scrum (although a basic understanding of the artifacts / roles / etc. is assumed), or are having problems adapting it. There are lots of examples for organisations of any size (including entire chapters on adapting Scrum to massive projects, dealing with non-colocated teams, etc.), although the primary focus seems to be on midsized colocated companies (
Pascal Mestdach
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: agile, favorites
Do you really want agile software development to stick within your company? Than this is the book to read!

Understanding the mechanics of an agile process is just not enough. The quest of transitioning a company to agile is hard, full of mysteries, and also never ending :-).

This book is a distillation of everything Mike Cohn has learned over the years working with many many companies that are trying to become more agile.
Glyn Matthews
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a top class introduction to Scrum and Agile. It contains a broad range of insights and I have applied many lessons from the book. If you're looking to take it to the next level, this book lacks depth. However this hasn't diminished the rating I've given it as there are already other excellent resources on this subject that will complement what you will learn from this book. ...more
June Ding
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Not a book if you are new to Agile. This is a book about managing change. A must read to understand challenges when an organisation transitions to Agile. Lots of useful practical guide, and pretty much every issue you run into during transformation, you can find some discussions and useful tips. A book that should be used as a reference book for Agile change management.
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Mike Cohn is the owner of Mountain Goat Software and is recognized as one of the contributors to the invention of Scrum. He is one of the founders of the Scrum Alliance and is a Certified Scrum Trainer. He is a trainer on Scrum and agile software process techniques and helped popularize Planning poker which he provides as a free online planning tool.

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Other books in the series

A Mike Cohn Signature Book (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice for Your First Year
  • More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team
  • Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition
  • Agile Game Development with Scrum
  • Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams
  • Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process
  • Agile Product Management with Scrum: Creating Products That Customers Love
  • Large-Scale Scrum: Scaling Agile for Large & Multisite Development
  • Unlocking Agility: An Insider's Guide to Agile Enterprise Transformation
  • Improving Agile Retrospectives: Helping Teams Become More Efficient

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