Johan Åhlgren

Book review: Scrum and XP from the trenches

Once in a while, a gem of a book appears on my desk. “Scrum and XP from the trenches” by Henrik Kniberg is such a book. At least I think it is – having never worked in a team that uses agile methods, it is not easy to determine the exact value of what is written. However, I think the book contains a ton of valuable information for everyone working with software development, regardless of whether you use agile methods or not.

The book is short, so wou will easily get through it in a couple of evenings. Considering how much information that has been squeezed into it, this is very impressive.

I find the book is logically separated into two parts. After forewords and introduction, the author dives straight into the first part, in which he describes important concepts of the Scrum process, such as product backlogs, sprint planning, sprint communication, sprint backlogs, the working environment, daily scrums, sprint demos and sprint retrospectives. All the time, I get the feeling that what he writes here really comes as a result from trying a number of different ways, and finally choosing the one that worked best.

As I read the book, I keep thinking things like “yeah, but we constantly run into problems like…” or “but we don’t work quite that way”. That is where the second part comes in. In the second half of the book, the author addresses a lot of problems that you have to deal with, such as how to deal with testing, release planning, bug fixes and working in separate teams.

Like I said at the beginning, I think this book is a good read for any software developer, regardless of whether you use agile methods or not. The book doesn’t really deal with any technical issues – you may use the methods described here regardless of what you are building, and what development tools you use – but focuses on “soft” issues such as how a team of programmers (and testers and domain experts etc.) can be used to achieve its goal in the most cost-effective way, while still making the job in itself as enjoyable as possible.

You can read more about the book here, and since you are allowed to download it for free as a PDF, why not give it a chance?

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