Jeff Sutherland, the co-creator of Scrum, has written a new book called ”Scrum” with the subtitle ”The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time”. The book was released in September 2014. First of all, this book is not a book for those of you currently using Scrum (or it could be, more about that later). This book is written to take Scrum beyond being used only for software development. Jeff Sutherland (and his son that has done the writing) is ”banging on the big drum” and sending a somewhat simplified message about Scrum, at least in my opinion.



I will not tell you one of my own stories under this paragraph, as I have done in other reviews. Why not? Because the book is full of stories as it is! You can even call it anecdotical. I don’t see this as a bad thing though, I like to read about, for example, Jeff’s life and how Scrum was born.


The book is divided into nine chapters and one appendix. The appendix is called ”Implementing Scrum – How to begin”, which is the only place ”how” is described (all other parts of the book focus on ”why”). Here are the chapters described in a little more detail.

Chapter One: The Way the World Works Is Broken
Jeff makes the obvious attack on Waterfall and tells the story about ”Fixing the FBI” with Scrum. References to Taiichi Ohno’s TPS (Toyota Production System).

Chapter Two: The Origins of Scrum
This chapter tells the story of the birth of Scrum and how robots (!) where involved. As many of the things in Lean and Agile the original ideas and concepts came from Japan.

Chapter Three: Teams
The ultimate size of a team is seven persons +/- two and it shall have the following fulfilled:

  • Transcendent (sense of purpose beyond the ordinary)
  • Autonomous (self-organizing and self-managing)
  • Cross-functional (have all the skills needed to complete the project).

”Adding more manpower to a late software project makes it later.” – Brooks’s Law

Chapter Four: Time
Here are some more stories, how sprint- and ”daily standup”-meetings were invented.

Chapter Five: Waste Is Crime
Starts off with a good sentence ”We’re pattern seekers, driven to seek out rhythm in all aspects of our lives”. What you shouldn’t multitask is also explained and the chapter ends with a very interesting story about judges and sandwiches :).

Chapter Six: Plan Reality, Not Fantasy
The ”Cone of Uncertainty” is shown in this chapter. There is a debate saying that the cone is not corroborated by actual data. The concepts of Fibonacci sequence, Planning Poker, Story and Velocity are explained.

Chapter Seven: Happiness
Jeff introduces the ”Happiness Metric”. A few simple questions that all team members answers after each sprint. What that data a graph can be drawn together with velocity to see how kaizen efforts (continuous improvements) are working out. What are the things that makes people happy? The same things that makes great teams: autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Chapter Eight: Priorities
The OODA loop is explained. It stands for: Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. It’s a variant of PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) that Jeff picked up in the army. The value curve and when to release are also described.

Chapter Nine: Change the World
This last chapter tells Jeff’s thoughts on how we will work in the future. The personal handbook of Valve is mentioned as an example.


I can recommend this book if you want to read the stories about Jeff’s life, the birth of Scrum, and how majors concepts in Scrum were created. If you want to learn Scrum from the beginning there are better books out there.

All the best,
 Tomas from TheAgileist



  1. I definitely don’t like the title, as many of the managers won’t go further than reading the title and remembering it. As it was with “Quality is free” 🙂


    1. Same here. I don’t like the title either. I’ve encountered many problems from managers who just want things to happen instantly after reading the cover of this book.


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