Key Information to Understand About Scrum and Agile
Bill Hoberecht - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Scrum.  Seemingly a simple concept, yet difficult to implement well. Probably millions of websites are available with their information about Scrum.  Even more pages have information on Agile.  Here's a great list of sites with authoritative information for those new to Scrum, as well as a good set of references for Scrum Masters and others with deep experience.

Introduction to This List and Your Implementation of Scrum

This list of reference materials is intended to help introduce Agile and Scrum to those who are largely unfamiliar with these terms.  If you are an expert on Agile or Scrum, perhaps this list can be used to find materials that will help you in talking with Scrum teams and organizations about a journey of implementing, refining and optimizing their operation.

Just a few words of clarification about Agile and Scrum.  Agile and Scrum are not identical. 

  • Agile is an overarching term to describe a family of software and management methods that are aligned with the values and principles of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Agile is not a specific methodology or framework. 
  • Scrum is a framework - it is not a methodology.  The originators of Scrum were quite clever in calling it a framework - which has no universally understood definition.  Basically, they wrote down the essentials and left all the rest to be determined by the Scrum team.  In some organizations, some of those decisions are made outside of the team as a business decision to have some uniformity among teams.

If you want to say that you've implemented Scrum, then that means your team lives the five Scrum Values and are executing all of the elements (roles, artifacts, events) described in the Scrum Guide.  More likely than not, your Scrum team has also determined your own implementation of several other elements that are not specified in the Scrum Guide (e.g., definition of Ready, definition of Done, duration of a Sprint, method of ordering the backlog).  Of course, the goal isn't to "implement Scrum," your goal certainly involves delivering value to your customers.

The information you'll find in books and on web sites to help you implement Scrum fall into these categories:

  • Descriptions of Scrum.  These are basically a rehash of the materials in the Scrum Guide.  If in doubt about what Scrum is, the Scrum Guide is the authoritative specification.
  • Patterns.  Examples of how Scrum elements can be implemented.  These sites are beneficial as they expose ideas about possibilities that your Scrum team might consider.  Recognize that these are recommendations and are not required implementation details for your team.
Here's my (intentionally short) reference list of relevant, important, and credible sources of information about Scrum and a few tidbits on Agile.  For each grouping if items, the first couple are probably the most important to read.  Collectively, these can round out your understanding of Scrum and help you implement, refine and optimize your Scrum implementation.

The Essentials

Scrum Practices

Organizations that Promote Agile

Scaling Agile

Metrics and KPIs

 Digging Deeper - Worthwhile Books

 Sites Worth Your Time


Closing Thoughts and Next Steps

You'll find many diverse opinions on Agile and how to implement Scrum.  My recommendations is this: take the time to learn from the foundational documents and other materials listed above as The Essentials.  The other materials here might possibly be of value as you start your implementation journey.

If you come across some particularly valuable information about Agile or Scrum that isn't already represented in this list, please let me know.  Thank you!