The Elements of Scrum Book Summary - The Elements of Scrum Book explained in key points
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The Elements of Scrum summary

Chris Sims and Hillary Louise Johnson

A guide to every aspect of Scrum

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16 mins
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    The Elements of Scrum
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    The traditional methods of software development are inefficient and lead to cost overruns.

    Tradition may have its charm, but it has few fans when it comes to technology development. Technology needs to be constantly updated to remain relevant; in fact, being current is essential not only to technology but also to the processes used to create it.

    One system of development is called the waterfall method, which is a finish-to-start process for producing software. In such a system, a software team would typically compile requirements, make a design, write code, test and then deliver a finished product.

    The “finish-to-start” aspect of the process is crucial. Activity A must be completed before work on activity B can start. For instance, you can’t begin testing a design until you’ve finished coding.

    Why do people and organizations like this method?

    By separating each development step, scheduling and planning is made easier. Managers often prefer a waterfall approach as they believe it allows them greater accuracy in scheduling and allocating budgets.

    But the waterfall method isn’t very reliable. Software is often too complicated a product to be fully designed before production starts. Therefore, if you demand a perfectly designed product, you’ll be left with little wiggle room for change during production.

    So while it’s possible for a perfect design to seamlessly transition to a perfect production process, this usually only occurs when you’re producing a static object, like a car. In this example, you’d design every element in the car, then follow those design directions to the letter during manufacturing.

    But software production, in contrast, is just too complex.

    So, while designers may come up with what they think is a perfect product, complications are sure to arise when designs are applied. The numbers tell the tale: only 16 percent of waterfall-method projects meet completion deadlines, while 31 percent are cancelled and 53 percent go over budget!

    How do you avoid such a pitfall in your own projects? Read on to learn more.

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    What is The Elements of Scrum about?

    The Elements of Scrum (2011) explains how outmoded software development processes are holding companies back in an ever-changing market. Today’s successful teams need to be agile and flexible; and the best companies do this by adopting a methodology called scrum. This book gives you everything you need to know to start a scrum-based process in your own organization.

    Best quote from The Elements of Scrum

    The main idea behind the agile approach is to deliver business value immediately.

    —Chris Sims and Hillary Louise Johnson
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    Who should read The Elements of Scrum?

    • Project managers
    • Software developers and designers
    • Anyone interested in agile organizational processes

    About the Author

    Chris Sims is a certified scrum trainer, agile coach and the founder of Agile Learning Labs.

    Hillary Louise Johnson is a writer and journalist. She has contributed to publications such as Inc. and the Los Angeles Times.

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