Book Review: Essential Scrum

Essential Scrum by Kenneth Rubin – As a Scrum Trainer and Coach, I often find myself navigating between the theory and practice of Scrum. The theory of Scrum is easy to grasp yet implementing Scrum is quite challenging. Putting Scrum to work effectively in an organizational context requires years of practice, experience, and trial-and-error. In reading the title of the book, I made the mistake of reading “Essential” as the bare essentials of the Scrum framework. In fact, this is a similar story that Ron Jeffries tells in the forward – dumbfounded that an “Essential” book on Scrum is over 400 pages! 

Upon reading Essential Scrum, I have redefined my interpretation of the title “Essential” as meaning everyone MUST READ this book before and during your implementation of Scrum. Ken has packaged decades of applied learning and teaching in this book and it will save you months (if not years) of Scrum thrashing, navigating between the theory and practice of Scrum.


Up until the publication of this book, the primary sources of Scrum reading have been the three books by Ken Schwaber – Agile Software Development with Scrum, Agile Project Management with Scrum and his latest The Enterprise and Scrum; and the excellent applied learning books by Mike Cohn – User Stories Applied, Agile Estimating and Planning, and Succeeding with Agile. (Yes, I know there are others) In Essential Scrum, Rubin has created a superset of all of these sources: it provides core Scrum definitions and explanations, nuanced implementations with applied learning, and scaled approaches for enterprise adoption. In addition, Rubin has created an entire new imagery to aid in visualizing the entire Scrum framework. Essential Scrum provides a comprehensiveness and cohesiveness that will enable me to recommend it as THE REFERENCE OF SCRUM.

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