Romantical Skeptic's Reviews > Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

Scrum by Jeff Sutherland
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really liked it
bookshelves: improve-thyself

Once I got over the extremely self-aggrandizing tone of the author, I found some of the points quite useful. Basically this is a way of operationalizing the 80/20 rule. Here are the things I took away from it:

1. Good team size. 4-6 is optimal, 20 is way too many.
2. Multitasking is a myth - people who think they’re good at it, actually are the worst. The truth is people are serial processing, not parallel, and it takes the brain longer to switch gears so all you’re doing is slowing yourself down.
3. Prioritize based on how much the action will affect your goal (whether that goal is $ or something else)
4. Don’t be a D*ck: Managers need to have zero tolerance for incivility, disrespect, or abuse in the workplace – it actually sucks energy and makes everyone ineffective
5. Don’t waste your time looking for Evil People, look instead for Evil Systems
6. Construct your to do list as follows: To Do, Doing and Done
7. Don’t create Master Plans. Create Micro plans which you can do in time-limited sprints and then iterate.

Things I found a bit weird
- Given that what we’re essentially talking about are “human systems” and anything human, by definition, is messy and non-standard, I find it hard to believe that this method applies to EVERY BUSINESS EVER. This is what the author seems to suggest (and modestly, he also suggests that if it didn’t work for a business they weren’t doing it right). Hmmm…

- The author also fails to mention any examples of where scrum failed even when applied “properly” – I would have liked a few real world examples to have been less “awesome” and go through what the iteration and tweaking process looks like while a company or organization is veering off the path

- The author also fails to talk about the negative aspects of scrum – destabilizing to have plans change so often, difficult to redeploy assets to the right place. It would have made for a much more fair read to get the negative along with the positive so that leaders can make a fully informed decision when they choose to adopt scrum.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 30, 2015 – Finished Reading
April 1, 2015 – Shelved
January 23, 2019 – Shelved as: improve-thyself

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Marta Vieira Great review, exactly how I felt about it. You bring up good points on the negatives of scrum, both it terms of failed experiments and weaknesses of process -- it would have been interesting to learn more there.


message 2: by Joe (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joe I think the 80/20 comparison is a misleading takeaway. You hear that in every business book. The number 1 take away from this book is finding ways to accelerate goal accomplishment by removing waste. The other points you make are valid, however you need to remember that the projects discussed all had one thing in common. They needed to hit a project timeline that their current way of doing things could not meet. Destabilizing is often necessary.


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