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This Book Captures 'The Essence' Of Scrum

Book cover for The Essentials of Modern Software EngineeringScrum practice can become plagued with dysfunction. Some teams focus on the ritual instead of the purpose and value of Scrum Events. In a time when so many are working remotely, doing good Scrum is more important than ever.

There is a solution, one outlined by someone whom I have partnered with for a very long time. Ivar Jacobson is a pioneer in software development. He created the concept of Use Cases frequently used in Scrum to define backlog stories. The very first Scrum team put some of these ideas to use.

In his latest book, The Essentials of Modern Software Engineering: Free the Practices from the Method Prisons!, Ivar expands on one of the most effective Scrum tools I have seen in recent years, Scrum Essential Cards

I partnered with Ivar and his company to develop these cards, which describe Scrum by using Essence, the international standard for defining methods and practices. 

These cards identify and track the use of 21 components of Scrum. Work with these cards shows that the average Scrum team implements:

  • 1/3 of the 21 components well
  • 1/3 of the components poorly
  • And 1/3 of Scrum components aren’t implemented at all

That is where dysfunction comes from. Daily practice with only a third of components working well is like driving a car with one good tire. 

Scrum Essential Cards can result in a better retrospective, improved selection of process improvements for each sprint, a more clarifying Daily Scrum, and a more valuable shippable increment of product at every Sprint Review.

Exercises with these cards are dramatically revealing about how practices should work, how people on the same team may have different ideas about what practices are, and what a team needs to do next to improve their process. 

One participant in this exercise using the Scrum cards said he learned more about Scrum in one hour with the Essence cards than he did in the previous six years of being on a Scrum team. That is just one reason I use these cards in every class I teach. I also use two different sets of Scrum@Scale essence cards to further students understanding how to scale Scrum across an enterprise. One is for the executive level, the other is for the Scrum of Scrums

 

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