Scrum – A Pocket Guide (a review by Cornelius Dufft)

At the Scrum Day Germany 2018 edition (12 June) Cornelius Dufft shared his appreciation of my book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide” with me. Cornelius said he had written a summary to help him grasp the content better, and sent me his work.

I am grateful that Cornelius agreed to make his summary/review available here as a downloadable PDF. I hope it turns out to be as helpful for others as it was for him, and thus helps spreading an ever-improving understanding of Scrum.

Introduction from “Scrum – A Pocket Guide (a review by Cornelius Dufft)“:

The book provides key Agile and Scrum facts as well as the ‘heartbeat’ of Scrum. In four chapters and 85 pages, the author introduces the Agile paradigm (as opposed to the industrial paradigm) and positions Lean to Agile. He describes the Scrum framework and its players, rules, events, artifacts, and principles. Contrasting ‘ground rules’ of the game with ‘tactics to play the game’, Gunther gives advice how to best perform Scrum. With an outlook on the future state of Scrum, the author expresses high hopes that Agile and Scrum become the new norm. The annex contains Scrum vocabulary and definitions, references, and info about the author and about Scrum.org.

Gunther is an authority in the area of Scrum. There is probably no more trusted and concise book on the topic. What makes the book unique to me is Gunther’s personal touch: Putting the people in the center. It conveys key facts about Scrum and also includes a personal, professional perspective on the subject.

I give 5 stars for the book. It is a must read for readers new to Scrum. Also for experts I can highly recommend reading the book.

Warm regards
Gunther
Independent Scrum Caretaker

Scrum Glossary (International Versions)

By the end of 2017 I updated the Scrum Glossary of my book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide” (2013). A group of Scrum enthusiasts subsequently translated that updated version to different languages.

The combined international versions are now available as a free download (PDF): Scrum Glossary (International versions) -March 2018

Share my gratitude that following people spent quite some of their valuable time on this initiative to make these translations available for you:

  • Chinese (simp/trad): Lana Sun, Wei Lun Teh, Chee-Hong Hsia
  • Danish: Rasmus Kaae
  • German: Uwe Schirmer, Peter Götz, Dominik Maximini
  • Italian: Michael F. Forni
  • Polish: Paweł Feliński
  • Portuguese: Leonardo Bittencourt
  • Russian: Konstantin Razumovsky
  • Spanish: Alex Ballarin

In the document you will also find my Dutch translation.

More translations are being created. Additional initiatives are being considered.

All feedback is welcome. Sharing of the PDF is equally encouraged.

Warm regards
Gunther

Le parole di Scrum (Italian version of the Scrum glossary)

I am excited to announce that Michael Forni is working on an Italian translation of my book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide”. We aim at releasing “Scrum – La Guida Tascabile” (working title) in 2018, hoping it brings value to many Italian Scrum practitioners.

I took the opportunity to revisit my original text (dating from 2013). It resulted in small revisions and an update to my Scrum Glossary. Michael and I hereby share the translation of the latter as “Le parole di Scrum“. We are more than happy to evaluate any suggestion you might have.

Note: in the translation process of the Scrum vocabulary and definitions, besides the obvious care in avoiding to change or alter the well-consolidated words of Scrum, we also considered the well-spread wording among the Agile community and the Italian version of the Scrum Guide.

Nota: per la traduzione della terminologia Scrum, ferma restando l’inopportunità di modificare o storpiare i consolidati sostantivi caratterizzanti del framework, si è tenuto in debito conto il lessico oramai d’uso comune tra i praticanti di Scrum, nonché le traduzioni delle varie versioni in italiano de “La Guida a Scrum”.

  • Daily Scrum (sost. m.): evento a cadenza giornaliera limitato nella durata (time-boxed) a non più di 15 minuti – o meno – necessario a ri-pianificare il lavoro di sviluppo durante uno Sprint. Questo evento serve al Development Team per condividere i progressi giornalieri, pianificare il lavoro delle 24 ore successive e per aggiornare lo Sprint Backlog di conseguenza.
  • Definizione di “Fatto” (Definition of Done): insieme di elementi attesi e qualità che un prodotto deve dimostrare di avere affinché lo rendano rilasciabile, ad esempio compatibile ad un eventuale rilascio agli utenti del prodotto.
  • Development Team: gruppo di persone responsabili di organizzare e realizzare tutto il lavoro di sviluppo incrementale necessario per creare un Incremento rilasciabile non più tardi del termine di uno Sprint.
  • Durata dello Sprint: Durata, limitata nel tempo (time-box), di uno Sprint. Può essere di massimo 4 settimane o inferiore.
  • Emersione (Emergence): processo che porta alla luce o mette in risalto elementi non previsti, oppure la conoscenza di un fatto non precedentemente noto o diventato visibile inaspettatamente.
  • Empirismo: tipo di controllo dei processi nel quale le decisioni sono basate sull’osservazione di risultati, esperienze e sperimentazione. L’empirismo prevede di implementare ispezioni ed adeguamenti regolari, basati sulla trasparenza che, così facendo, viene ulteriormente rafforzata. È anche noto come “controllo empirico dei processi”.
  • Grafico “Burn-down”: rappresentazione grafica che mostra la progressiva e cumulativa diminuzione del lavoro rimanente rispetto al tempo.
  • Grafico “Burn-up”: rappresentazione grafica che mostra l’aumento di un parametro (ad esempio il valore) rispetto al tempo.
  • Impedimento: Qualunque intralcio o ostacolo che blocca o rallenta il lavoro del Development Team e che non può essere risolto attraverso l’auto organizzazione del Development Team. Deve essere segnalato non più tardi del primo Daily Scrum disponibile. Lo Scrum Master é responsabile della sua rimozione.
  • Incremento: set di lavoro potenzialmente utilizzabile che si aggiunge agli Incrementi precedentemente creati e coi quali forma – nell’insieme – un prodotto.
  • Previsione (Forecast): anticipazione di un trend futuro basato sull’osservazione del passato. Tipicamente selezione di determinate parti di Product Backlog ritenute consegnabili durante lo Sprint corrente o in quelli futuri, anche in relazione al Product Backlog futuro.
  • Product Backlog (sost. m.): elenco ordinato sempre in evoluzione di tutto quanto è ritenuto necessario dal Product Owner per poter creare, consegnare, manutenere e sostenere un prodotto.
  • Product Owner (sost f./m.): persona responsabile dell’ottimizzazione del valore espresso da un prodotto, attraverso la gestione incrementale del Product Backlog, nonché l’esplicitazione di tutte le aspettative e idee in esso contenute; referente unico dello Scrum Team verso tutti gli Stakeholders.
  • Affinamento (Refinement) del Product Backlog: attività portata avanti con continuità  durante lo Sprint, attraverso la quale Product Owner e membri del Development Team aggiungono granularità al Product Backlog, in continua evoluzione potenziale.
  • Scrum (sost. m.): (1) framework semplice per il rilascio di prodotti complessi; (2) framework semplice per la gestione di problemi complessi.
  • Scrum Master (sost f./m.): persona responsabile di favorire e sostenere un contesto Scrum attraverso attività di guida, addestramento, insegnamento e facilitazione di uno o più Scrum Team, nonché del loro sviluppo nella comprensione e corretto utilizzo di Scrum.
  • Scrum Team: combinazione delle responsabilità in capo a Product Owner, Development Team e Scrum Master.
  • Sprint (sost. m.): evento della durata massima di 4 settimane o meno, che funge da contenitore di tutti gli altri eventi Scrum. Punta a realizzare un sufficiente ammontare di lavoro, assicurando regolari ispezioni, riflessioni e adattamento a livello di prodotto e di strategie. Gli unici altri eventi ammessi in Scrum sono: Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review e Sprint Retrospective.
  • Sprint Backlog (sost. m.): visione d’insieme – materializzata in varie forme ed in continua evoluzione – di tutte le attività selezionate dal Product Backlog da parte le Development Team e relative allo sviluppo necessario alla realizzazione dello Sprint goal.
  • Sprint Goal (sost. m.): affermazione sintetica che esprime l’obiettivo generale di uno Sprint.
  • Sprint Planning (sost. m.): evento della durata massima di 8 ore o più breve, che segna l’inizio del nuovo Sprint. L’evento è funzionale allo Scrum Team per ispezionare gli elementi del Product Backlog ritenuti in quel momento di maggior valore, nonché per determinarne la pianificazione all’interno di uno Sprint Backlog tenendo in considerazione lo Sprint Goal generale.
  • Sprint Retrospective (sost. f.): evento della durata massima di 3 ore o più breve, che segna il termine dello Sprint; l’evento è funzionale all’ispezione – da parte di tutti i membri dello Scrum Team – dello Sprint che si sta per concludere, nonché per decidere come lavorare nello Sprint successivo.
  • Sprint Review (sost. f.): evento della durata massima di 4 ore o più breve, che segna il termine dello sviluppo relativo allo Sprint. L’evento è funzionale all’ispezione – da parte dello Scrum Team e degli Stakeholders – dell’Incremento, del progresso generale e dei cambiamenti strategici, per permettere al Product Owner di aggiornare il Product Backlog.
  • Stakeholder (sost. f. / m.): persona esterna allo Scrum Team 1) portatrice di specifiche conoscenza e/o 2) rappresentante di un interesse per un prodotto, necessari per l’ulteriore evoluzione del prodotto.
  • Standard di sviluppo: l’insieme di standard e pratiche che un Development Team identifica come necessarie per creare Incrementi di prodotto potenzialmente rilasciabili non oltre il termine dello Sprint.
  • Time-box (sost. f.): contenitore temporale limitato, caratterizzato da una durata massima e potenzialmente fissa. In Scrum tutti gli eventi sono caratterizzati da una durata massima, ad eccezione dello Sprint, che ha una durata fissa.
  • Valori di Scrum: set di 5 valori e qualità fondamentali il framework Scrum: impegno, focalizzazione, apertura, rispetto e coraggio.
  • Velocity (sost. f.): indicatore molto diffuso che misura l’ammontare medio di Product Backlog trasformato in un Incremento, potenzialmente rilasciabile durante uno Sprint da parte di uno specifico (o dalla composizione di uno) Scrum Team. La Velocity rappresenta essenzialmente un utile supporto alla previsione del lavoro rilasciabile (forecast) a disposizione del Development Team, parte di uno Scrum Team.

On a personal note I want to share that I regularly get requests or suggestions for translations. Few get to the point of actually starting. I thank Michael for his commitment and wish him the persistence it takes for such a hard and complex endeavor. Rather than making a simple word-by-word translation, it involves adaptations, interpretations and redirections requiring affinities in English, Italian and Scrum​.​ This is far from trivial.

Scrum Vocabulary (updated)

Driven by the prospect of an Italian translation of my book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide” I decided to revise it slightly; minor tweaks of words and terms, although a lot of them.

As part of my revision, I also updated the Scrum Vocabulary of my book:

  • Burn-down Chart: a chart showing the decrease of remaining work against time.
  • Burn-up Chart: a chart showing the increase of a parameter, e.g. value, against time.
  • Daily Scrum: a daily event, time-boxed to 15 minutes or less, to re-plan the development work during a Sprint. The event serves for the Development Team to share the daily progress, plan the work for the next 24 hours and update Sprint Backlog accordingly.
  • Definition of Done: a set of expectations and qualities that a product must exhibit to make it fit for a release in production.
  • Development standards: the set of standards and practices that a Development Team identifies as needed to create releasable Increments of product no later than by the end of a Sprint.
  • Development Team: the group of people accountable for all incremental development work needed to create a releasable Increment no later than by the end of a Sprint.
  • Emergence: the process of the coming into existence or prominence of unforeseen facts or knowledge of a fact, a previously unknown fact, or knowledge of a fact becoming visible unexpectedly.
  • Empiricism: the process control type in which decisions are based on observed results, experience and experimentation. Empiricism implements regular inspections and adaptations requiring and creating transparency. Also referred to as ’empirical process control’.
  • Forecast: the anticipation of a future trend based on observations of the past, like the selection of Product Backlog people believe they can deliver in a Sprint or in future Sprints for future Product Backlog.
  • Increment: a candidate of releasable work that adds to previously created Increments, and – as a whole – forms a product.
  • Product Backlog: an ordered, evolving list of all work deemed necessary by the Product Owner to create, maintain and sustain a product.
  • Product Backlog refinement: the activity in a Sprint through which the Product Owner and the Development Team add granularity to future Product Backlog.
  • Product Owner: the person accountable for optimising the value a product delivers by incrementally managing and expressing all product expectations and ideas in a Product Backlog; the single representative of all stakeholders.
  • Scrum (n): a simple framework for complex product delivery (1); a simple framework for complex problem management (2).
  • Scrum Master: the person accountable for fostering an environment of Scrum by guiding, coaching, teaching and facilitating one or more Scrum Teams and their environment in understanding and employing Scrum.
  • Scrum Team: the combined roles of Product Owner, Development Team and Scrum Master.
  • Scrum Values: a set of 5 fundamental values and qualities underpinning the Scrum framework; commitment, focus, openness, respect and courage.
  • Sprint: an event that serves as a container for the other Scrum events, time-boxed to 4 weeks or less. The event serves getting a sufficient amount of work done, while ensuring timely inspection, reflection and adaptation at a product and strategic level. The other Scrum events are Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective.
  • Sprint Backlog: an evolving overview of the development deemed necessary to realize a Sprint’s goal.
  • Sprint Goal: a concise statement expressing the overarching purpose of a Sprint.
  • Sprint Planning: an event marking the start of a Sprint, time-boxed to 8 hours or less. The event serves for the Scrum Team to inspect the Product Backlog considered most valuable and design that forecast into an initial Sprint backlog against an overarching Sprint Goal.
  • Sprint Retrospective: an event marking the closing of a Sprint, time-boxed to 3 hours or less. The event serves for the Scrum Team to inspect the past Sprint and establish the way of working for the next Sprint.
  • Sprint Review: an event marking the closing of the development of a Sprint, time-boxed to 4 hours or less. The event serves for the Scrum Team and the stakeholders to inspect the Increment, the overall progress and strategic changes in order to allow the Product Owner to update the Product Backlog.
  • Stakeholder: a person external to the Scrum Team with a specific interest in or knowledge of a product that is required for the further incremental evolution of the product.
  • Time-box: a container in time of a maximum duration, potentially a fixed duration. In Scrum all events have a maximum duration only, except for the Sprint itself which has a fixed duration.
  • Velocity: popular indication of the average amount of Product Backlog turned into an Increment of releasable product during a Sprint by a specific (composition of a) Scrum Team. Serves as an aid for the Development Team of the Scrum Team to forecast future Sprints.

I look forward to the Italian version seeing the light of day in 2018. I translated my book (2013) to Dutch in 2016 as “Scrum Wegwijzer“. It was published in German as “Scrum Taschenbuch” (translated by Peter Goetz and Uwe Schirmer) in 2017.

You can still find the Scrum Glossary of those editions on my blog.

Thank you, readers. (What do you want in my new book?)

Dear reader

Thank you for reading, sharing and promoting my pocket guide to Scrum, in its various guises (English, Dutch, paperback, digital).

I created the English version in May 2013. It was published in November 2013. I am grateful that over 10,000 (ten thousand!) copies have been sold so far. Who would have guessed back then? And the story continues. In March 2017 the German translation was published.

I would love to hear what makes my book special for you. What sticks out? What are your favourite parts? Do you have a quote to share? Share it as a comment. Share it on Twitter. Or join the Facebook page for my book.

And… take it a step further. Writing that first book was a pivotal experience. I am working on a new book, more on Scrum and the Agile way of working (what else?). Share any ideas, topics, subjects you feel are valuable for my second book.

Warm regards
Gunther (Ullizee)
Gratified writer, connector, speaker, humaniser
29 March 2017

 

Announcing the “Scrum Taschenbuch”

scrum-taschenbuchAfter attending my PSM class in June 2016, Uwe Schirmer asked me whether he and Peter Götz could translate my book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide” to German. Having felt the difficulties of producing a proper-quality translation of my book in Dutch (my mother tongue) in early 2016, I warned them. To no avail. Fortunately. I am glad they persisted. In March 2017 the translated work will be released as “Scrum Taschenbuch (Ein Wegweiser für den bewussten Entdecker)” by Van Haren Publishing. Find it at their webshop or at Amazon.de.

Uwe and Peter were so kind to create following introduction, in German and in English:

(Deutsch) Es gibt eine Frage, die wohl jeder Trainer unabhängig vom Thema schon oft in seinen Trainings gehört hat: “Welches Buch kannst Du mir zu dem Thema empfehlen?“ Die Frage ist nicht immer leicht zu beantworten. Für Scrum haben wir gerne Gunthers Buch empfohlen. Mitunter kam dann die Frage „Gibt es das Buch auch auf Deutsch?“ oder „Gibt es ein anderes gutes Buch auf Deutsch?“. Die Antwort auf beide Fragen war jeweils „Leider nein.“

Als Uwe in 2016 bei Gunther in einem Train the Trainer Kurs für den Scrum Master war, musste er ihn deswegen fragen, ob eine Übersetzung in Arbeit oder wenigstens geplant war. Gunther erzählte, dass es bereits Versuche einer Übersetzung gegeben hatte, dass diese aber immer im Sande verlaufen waren. Also fragte er Gunther, ob Peter und er die Übersetzung machen dürften.

Es war eine interessante Erfahrung. Wir haben im Juli 2016 mit der Arbeit begonnen. Natürlich organisiert in Sprints mit einem Taskboard – auch wenn die Sprintlänge nicht ganz der Empfehlung aus dem Guide entsprach. Nach einigen intensiven Iterationen und inhaltlichen Refinements haben wir im Februar 2017 vom Verleger die gesetzte Fassung erhalten. Es waren 8 intensive Monate. Die Arbeit am Buch hat uns großen Spaß gemacht. Wir mussten uns nie zum Weitermachen zwingen – der gesunde Gruppendruck in unserem Mini-Team hat gereicht. Es war im Gegenteil sehr lehrreich, sich einmal auf diesem Level mit dem Thema auseinanderzusetzen und den Inhalt und die Sprache ins Deutsche zu übertragen.

Wir haben eng mit Gunther zusammengearbeitet und einige Passagen und ihre Bedeutung mit ihm diskutiert. Unsere Reviewer Thomas Barber, Jean Pierre Berchez, Dominik Maximini und Anke Scheuber haben großartige Arbeit geleistet und uns sehr wertvolles Feedback gegeben. Auch unsere professionelle Lektorin Monika Dauer konnte die Qualität des Ergebnisses noch wesentlich verbessern. Vielen Dank noch mal für Eure Arbeit und Unterstützung. Ohne Euch hätten wir nicht diese Qualität erreicht.

Wir hoffen, dass wir mit unserer Übersetzung etwas zur weiteren Verbreitung und Festigung von Scrum in Projekten und den Köpfen der Leute beitragen können. In diesem Sinne (schamlos bei Gunther geklaut): (Start or) Keep Scrumming.

(English) There is one question almost every trainer – independent of the topic at hand – will have to answer in his trainings: “What book can you recommend for this topic?” The question is not always easy to answer. For Scrum we liked to recommend Gunther’s book, which sometimes lead to the question “Is there a German version?” or “Is there another good book in German?” The answer always was “Unfortunately not”.

So when Uwe was in one of Gunther’s Scrum Master Train the Trainer courses in 2016 he had to ask him if there was a translation in progress or at least planned. Gunther said that there have been some attempts of translating the book, which had never been finished. So he asked Gunther if we (Uwe and Peter) could translate it.

It was an interesting experience. We have started work in July 2016. Of course we worked in Sprints using a task board – even though the Sprint length did not follow the Scrum Guide recommendation. After a couple of intensive iterations and content-wise refinements we have received the typeset version from our publisher. These have been 8 intensive months. Working on the book was big fun for us. We never had to force ourselves to continue working – the peer pressure in our tiny team was enough. And we also learned a lot and had many insights while working on this topic in such an advanced way, translating content and language into German.

We collaborated tightly with Gunther and discussed passages from the book and their meaning with him. Our reviewers Thomas Barber, Jean Pierre Berchez, Dominik Maximini and Anke Scheuber also did great work and gave us very valuable feedback. So did our professional editor Monika Dauer, who was able to improve the end result’s quality a lot. Thank you very much for your hard work and support. Without you we would not have been able to achieve such quality.

We hope that we can help spread and strengthen Scrum in projects and people’s heads. On that note (stolen from Gunther): (Start or) Keep Scrumming.

A simple framework for complex product delivery (in 3 minutes)

verheyen-gunther-scrum-a-pocket-guide-2016By the end of November 2016 the 5th re-print of my book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide” will be available, with a re-designed cover.

I wanted my book to reflect the simplicity of Scrum, a simple framework for complex product delivery.

As part of this re-print my publisher Van Haren Publishing kindly asked me to create a short video introduction to Scrum, of preferably no more than 3 minutes. The time constraint helped me focus. It helped me keeping it simple, just like Scrum.

What I say in the video was based upon following prepared text:

Scrum is a simple framework for complex product delivery.

1/ Scrum has been around for a while. It was officially introduced to the general public in 1995. Since then, as more and more people, teams and organizations started using Scrum, Scrum became the most adopted method for agile product delivery. At the same time, Scrum grew lighter and lighter, thereby, in a way becoming less and less complete and ‘perfect’. Prescribed practices and techniques were gradually removed from the official definition of Scrum, The Scrum Guide. Scrum turned into the framework it was always designed to be, a framework upon which people devise their own solutions, create their own working process. A Product Owner brings product ideas to a Development Team. No later than by the end of a Sprint the team turns these ideas into releasable versions of product. Sprints take no more than 4 weeks, and are often shorter. The Scrum Master creates and fosters an environment for such self-organised and creative collaboration to happen.

Scrum is a simple framework for complex product delivery.

2/ Scrum not only restores simplicity, Scrum brings empirical process control. All elements of Scrum support the process of regular inspection and adaptation. Empiricism is the way for people, teams and organisations to deal with the complexity, uncertainty and unpredictability typical to product development. The Scrum events set the frequency of the inspection and adaptation process. The artefacts provide transparency to all information required. As all waste has already been removed from Scrum, the framework is highly cohesive. Every element has a clear ‘why’, a clear purpose. Omitting any core elements breaks the cohesion, and is likely to cover up existing problems and impede the transparency required to continuously adapt, to be agile.

3/ Scrum, when employed well, allows a continual discovery of what is possible, what is not, of what works, what doesn’t work. Throughout this journey of discovery, the value of the work done is incrementally optimised. Product is regularly delivered to the market. It is extremely helpful to have a simple, yet proficient, tool like Scrum in highly unstable circumstances.

4/ Employing Scrum is a journey in itself. Mastering Scrum takes practice and time.