Daily Archives: 06/08/2013

‘The Power of Scrum’: good -but still hoping for something shorter and easier

This book belongs to the let us tell an enlightening (fictitious) story that inspires the reader genre, much like Our Iceberg is Melting, with Scrum as the subject.

I praised Our Iceberg is Melting, a fable about penguins, because 1) it made very simple points very effectively, providing a shared vocabulary, 2) it was easy to read, taking very little time (little more than one hour), and 3) it was unpretentious, no attempt to be or feel realistic, only to be relevant.

Our Iceberg makes clear that if you are in charge of putting the book insight into action, you have to move to a more in-depth book. But for people just participating in the effort, it is good enough to get started. It is a short focused book, and you get what you pay for.

Well, if The Power of Scrum tries to be all those things (and it should!), it fails. The story does not feel alive, it rather looks like a miracle waiting to fall upon a great team: so good that just whispering Scrum several times will be enough for them. Yes, Our Iceberg is Melting does not pass the realism check, but the reader does not expect it: there are penguins, so it must be a fable.

The Power of Scrum is too long to be read by very casual readers, those who use commute time to read: you need far more than one hour to read it. And it does not provide you with a memorable vocabulary you can share with all those involved in the effort. I really hope they had used a short fable to put all pieces of Scrum together, rather than using a pseudo-realistic story.

To put it shortly, I don’t feel I can recommend The Power of Scrum wholeheartedly to all casual readers with an interest in Scrum. Admittedly, that’s a tall order. To be fair, I have not found a book that will appeal to that audience, so maybe I’m being too ambitious.

That said, the book will be useful to those who know nothing or very little about Scrum and are willing to invest some time in it. This will probably the case if they are going to be involved in or affected by Scrum: managers and prospective product owners come to mind. In this scenario, this book will be very useful. You’ll get an overview of Scrum without getting swamped in technicalities.