Gorilla Book Review- The Elements of Scrum

 

There is something eternally satisfying in closing the back cover of a hard copy book. Especially when the book was such an enjoyable read.
In this age of reading books on Kindle, iPad, printer paper or listening via serial podcast or audio book format, reading a good old fashioned book still has so much emotional content tied up in it. Perhaps the millennial generation will/does feel different, but for we of the Pong generation I think the physical book will always remain a comfortable thing. I love reading on my mobile device and there are some books I truly prefer that way. But not Elements of Scrum.
I had just laid the book down, flipping through the final index pages with an all too satisfied grin of completion. Staring at the blank screen of OneNote I was trying to mentally compose just what I would say about my experiences reading the book.
And like any unasked for distraction, Hogarth wandered by just as I was preparing to type.
“Whuz thad?” he said. At least I assume he did, the spray of partially eaten donuts made it hard to tell.
I looked down at the book, “Elements of Scrum, I just finished reading it.”
Smiling brightly, Hogarth grabbed the book up. “Ooh, the periodic table, I love the periodic table!”
I sighed, “No, Hogarth, not chemistry elements. It’s a book on the fundamentals of the Scrum Methodology.”
“Oh, so elements like Scrumium, Standupum, TDDine, and Taskon?”
“Go away, Hogarth…”
The Elements of Scrum, by Chris Sims and Hilary Louise Johnson
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Chris Sims in action. Chris is the founder/head coach for Agile Learning Labs. A self professed former, aspiring rock star and software coder, Chris’ real talent lie in his ability to engage a room. His coaching style is very dynamic and engaging. Anyone looking to sit at the back of the room and soak up some knowledge, should not attend one of Chris’ trainings. If you want to roll up your sleeves and walk away with hands on practical knowledge, Chris is your man.
My biggest question, when I picked up EoS, was if Chris could take that in person coaching style and translate it to the printed word. I had my doubts. Chris is a hands on trainer, I don’t think I’ve seen him use more than a half dozen PowerPoint slides, ever.He’s a phone first, email days later, kind of guy and I wondered if he’d be able to distill down his thoughts to a cohesive print product. Chris, however, is a smart coach and in collaborating with Hilary I think he found the person who could focus his in person stories and translate them to the printed medium.
EoS is a great mix of approachable writing, great anecdotes and simple pictures, both the ones drawn into the book and the pictures the words easily formed in my head. The nearly 200 pages flew by quickly while giving me some excellent new perspectives on the use of Scrum. For readability I found it outstanding.
Elements is not a complete “how to” book of Scrum, that’s not the goal of the book. It’s laid out a lot like one of Chris’ trainings, and will give any reader a strong foundation in the basics of Scrum. Even though I’ve taken scrum master certification and have been an active agilest for some time now, I still came away from this book with a deeper knowledge of Scrum’s core fundamentals. That says a lot for a $30 book, that it can still teach you some new ideas after taking a two day training class.
The final positive point I can give it is where it will live, now that I’ve read it. EoS will find a place on my ready reference shelf in my office cube. When I need to check something on Scrum, it’s only an arms length away and finding information in it is google easy.
Well worth the cover price.
Thank you and talk to you next time when I’ll share with you my “Pot Hole Project Management” philosophy.
Joel BC
Veteran, the Project Manager wars
Want me to talk to your gorilla? Send me an email
You can follow me on twitter, @JBC_PMP

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