Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

The Founder of Inspire Leadership & focuses on unlocking people’s potential by providing them with programs; mentorship and coaching into high performance

Jeff Sutherland and J.J. Sutherland

This week’s book is Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland and his son J.J. Sutherland. Before we go any further, there are three things I would like to disclose. One, Jeff has been a friend since 2016; Two, this is probably the fourth time I am reading this book and thirdly I am scrum Master. I teach scrum to organizations at a fee. If you are interested in having Scrum in your organization, you can contact me to offer you a few pro bono hours to guide you on how to get started. 

In this uncertain time of COVID-19 pandemic, I needed to sharpen my organizational skills as well as my personal productivity. At my workplace - Kenya Climate and Innovation Center, we have been using Scrum for non-IT tasks as a way of delivering projects and indeed the productivity of the team has grown fivefold. 

Scrum is a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value. This is socially needed during this uncertain time and the book by Jeff will help you have some ideas on how Scrum works.

The book uses illustration to explain the concepts involved in Scrum. If you are new to Scrum, the book will be an an epiphany and will help you shape your thinking even before you decide to undertake a Scrum Course. This will be necessary for successful entrenchment of Scrum in your organization.  The book covers topics such as the origins of Scrum, Scrum events, Scrum artifacts, team principles etc. It also covers the importance of priorities and time management and how this fit with 'estimation'. It further covers how to begin implementing Scrum in your organization.

Key takeaways from this book:

  1. For you to achieve great teamwork there is a need for the team to have between five to nine members and to be aligned to a higher purpose. In addition, the team needs to have all skills to complete the project and must be autonomous. 
  2. Iteration (sprint) is the way to deliver products or projects. In this case, Jeff suggest a cycle where teams should Plan => Do => Check => Act. These sprints should be done within a week or two for each iteration and at the end of the iteration, have some version of the product that you can give to your customers to play and interact with. 
  3. Multitasking will make you slower. The book emphasizes that half-done things leads to time wastage, and that you need focus to make your project succeed. 
  4. The book advocates for not planning a lot, you just need a picture of where you are heading, then, create the list of everything that needs to be done on the project. Prioritize it meaning that you start with the highest value and the lowest effort tasks. 

I highly recommend this book for those planning to achieve double work at half the time

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