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

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.

A simple framework for complex product delivery (in 100 pages)

From March to June 2013 I created the book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide (A Smart Travel Companion)” for Van Haren Publishing (Netherlands). Although I had already written much about Scrum, it was really, really hard work. I wanted the book to be about its subject, not its writer. I wanted the book to be concise, yet complete. I wanted the book to reflect the simplicity of Scrum, in its appearance, tone, language, expressions, sentences.

Since its initial publication (November 2013) my pocket guide to Scrum was re-printed 3 times (January 2014, June 2014, November 2015). In April 2016 my Dutch translation was published as “Scrum Wegwijzer (Een kompas voor de bewuste reiziger)”. And two friends of Scrum are currently going through the really, really hard work of creating a German version, which will probably be named “Scrum Taschenbuch” and be available in 2017. And somewhere along the road I experimented with setting up a Facebook page for my book.

This is beyond any expectation I might have had handing in the first manuscript half way through 2013. I am totally humbled, and sometimes overwhelmed, by the continual appreciation of the book’s buyers and readers.

verheyen-gunther-scrum-a-pocket-guide-2016I want to share that a 5th print of the English version is on its way (end November 2016), holding a NEW COVER. The content of the book hasn’t changed. I was fortunate to have described the Scrum Values already in my book. The only change was the update to my personal history, as is also reflected on my website.

Thank you, readers. Thank you, publisher. Thank you, fellow Scrum Caretakers!

To support the update of my book, my publisher asked me to do a 3-minutes introduction to Scrum, a simple framework for complex product delivery. The time constraint helped me to keep it simple, just like Scrum.