TL:DR - This is an excellent book, it’s easy to read, and it will remind you what all this Agile/Scrum/XP stuff is all about. If you haven’t read it, I wish you would.

I received a copy of Jeff Sutherland’s book, Scrum, the Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time right when it came out. I don’t remember whether it’s a free copy or a paid one. Probably free, people send me things.

As of last week, I had not read it. Because of a discussion on the Scrum Trainers and Coaches list, regarding the 400% claims Jeff makes in the book and elsewhere, I read it this week. It’s a quick and enjoyable read. I recommend it without qualification.

Concerns, I have a few …

Now, I have a bad reaction to claims like “400% more productivity”, and “Twice the work”. Perhaps that’s a personal problem and I should see the chaplain, but I think it’s more than that. As I write about in the Dark Scrum series, too often, management uses promises like that to put pressure on the team, without ever making the changes to the system that allow Scrum to work.

I do think that Dark Scrum is a serious, pervasive, and pernicious problem. And I’d wager that for most of you who are trying to do Scrum/Agile/XP, you’re not seeing a 4x improvement in your productivity. I hope you are, but I’d put my money on the Don’t.

An additional concern that I have is that, to me, a great deal of the value of “Agile” ideas comes from showing stakeholders what has been built, driving them to decide more quickly what to do and what to defer, and inspiring them to show what we have to customers. And that, of course, requires us to build the Increment, which is … difficult.

You may have similar reactions to the book title, and to claims like it. You may have similar concerns to mine.

Set those concerns aside! Please!

Jeff’s book includes stories, examples, and explanations that show how Scrum, done right, can and will improve real productivty. If you read it, and just let it soak in, I think it will refresh your perhaps somewhat jaded view of the Scrum world and Scrum itself.

This is good stuff. Let it inspire you, please.


My colleague Mike Dwyer asked me what I found in the book. Here was my answer:

The main thing was this:

If you’ll actually create a cross-functional team,
Have them work to deliver working software every Sprint,
Have them show it to all stakeholders including management,
While meeting every day to manage themselves as a team,
And reflecting every Sprint to truly improve,
Given a Product Owner with true authority to decide … and to ship,
You should get four times the value of what you were doing before,

Without even breaking a sweat.

The only thing I wish is that they’d named it Twice the Value in Half the Time.