Save Our Scrum
Minimum price
Suggested price

Save Our Scrum

About the Book

Scrum may have won the brand-war as the most popular of Agile Methods – but is it working? Or, at least, could it work better?

An opportunity to improve is one way to put it, and that is what Matt Heusser and Markus Gärtner typically see with thier clients.

It's common to see a world where standups become boring status meetings, planning and commitments become command-and-control wishing followed by overtime. Testing stretches past the sprint boundary … and that’s just the beginning.

So let's start over from the beginning - with the current state of Scrum in mind.

Matt and Markus begin with what Scrum is from their point of view, including the problems it tends to solve. They quickly pivot to talk about the forces that conspire to restrict, compromise, and challenge organizations moving toward Scrum, and some solutions.

After that, in part II, the two talk about specific situations they have seen and solutions, in context of real organizations. They call these "nuggets", hopefully gold, or at least coal - consistent, clear and useful. 

Part III explores real case studies of organizations trying to use something like Scrum to deliver working software. These are real case studies, not just fluff, talking about what went wrong, what went right, and why those things were a fit for those organizations.

At least, that's the idea. Right now Part I and Part II are all that is ready - and the graphics need a lot of work. Instead of trying to plan everything up front, the two decided to release this to the world and gather feedback. So please, get the book, then pressure Matt and Markus to finish it.

You'd be doing them a favor.

About the Authors

Matt Heusser
Matt Heusser

The principal consultant at Excelon Development, Matt Heusser consults, trains, does, and manages accounts focused on quality in software delivery. Matt was the lead organizer of the Workshop on Technical Debt, the Software Testing World Cup, and a former board member of the Association for Software Testing.  His more recent work is on quality delivery, including improving flow, as well as creating the Lean Software Delivery Series of courses. A certified Scrum Professional, Matt is probably best known as a prolific writer. Learn more about Matt at or follow him on twitter @mheusser.

Markus Gärtner
Markus Gärtner

Markus Gärtner works as Organizational Design Consultant, Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) and Agile Coach for it-agile GmbH, Hamburg, Germany. Markus, author of ATDD by Example - A Practical Guide to Acceptance Test-Driven Development, a student of the work of Jerry Weinberg, received the Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person Award in 2013, and contributes to the Softwerkskammer, the German Software Craftsmanship movement. Markus regularly presents at Agile and testing conferences all over the globe, as well as dedicating himself to writing about agile software development, software craftsmanship, and software testing, foremost in an Agile context. He maintains a personal blog at

Table of Contents

  • Preface
    • A Brief Timeline
    • Scrum In the Wild
    • Above My Pay Grade
  • How To Use This Book
    • Problem of Audience
    • Part One - Simply Scrum
    • Part Two - Scrum Nuggets
    • Part Three - Case Studies
    • Part Four - The Back Matter
  • Scrum as a Framework for improvement… and that’s it
    • Scrum Roles
    • Scrum Rituals
    • The Secret Sauce of Scrum
  • Why Scrum?
    • Limiting Work in Progress
    • Prioritizing Work
    • Restricting Changes in a Sprint
    • Building It and Communicate about It
    • Discussing about What Went Right and Wrong, and What to Change
    • What is the Value of Scrum?
  • Common Problems
    • The Whirlwind
    • The Compression Problem
    • The Tailoring Problem
    • The Assumptions Problem
    • From Problems to Solutions
    • A Few Solutions
    • Review: New Terms
  • Scrum Nuggets
    • The Nuggets Enumerated
  • Mechanics of Scrum Adoption (or failure to adopt Scrum)
    • Avoid Scrum As Waterfall
    • Avoid Scrum As Mini-Waterfall
    • What about done criteria? Team has done criteria but does not stick to nor change them.
    • Daily Standup: It’s not about status
    • Command and Control, Go Away. Come back to our competitors on another day.
    • Changes in Priority Even During a Sprint
    • Everything is urgent - not time to learn. Or even think.
    • Dealing with True Scrum Impediments
    • Beware Shallow Agreement
    • The value, and need, for a Scrum Master
    • The Scrum Master Course
  • Attitude
    • “We can’t do that”
    • Notice and Overcome Work Avoidance
    • Don’t Say “Demotivated”
    • “That’s not my job”
    • Don’t be a Victim
    • Everything is negotiable
    • There is no ‘They’
  • Scrum Master
  • Product Owner
    • Stories are too big
    • Slice Stories More Thinley To Create Predictability
    • Stories are not well defined
    • Stories with acceptance criteria that are technical = describing how the team has to implement
    • Stories with no big picture = stories are not grouped in epics, no context
    • Too many stories stuck in “waiting”, blocked outside the team
    • The Product Owner as Team Member
    • The product owner as architect
    • Product Ownership can be lonely
  • Code and Design
    • Developing a prototype
    • The risks of prototyping
    • Spikes and Prototypes
    • Technical Spikes
    • Use Tracer Bullets through your system
    • Dev/Tester Programming
    • Mobbing as a coaching method
    • One more call for Pair Programming
  • Testing
    • No Test Team
    • No Test Role
    • Testers Embedded on the Team
    • Whole Team Testing
    • Test Tooling as a Product Requirement
    • Test Tooling Below The GUI
    • System Integration Test Environment: It’s a Trap!
  • Engineering and Process (in the TPS sense)
    • Developing time to go faster
    • Limit Work In Progress (WIP)
    • Consider Touch Time
    • Multitasking
    • Find and Elevate the Bottleneck
    • Silos in teams get their own stories each sprint.
  • Environment
    • What Are Sprints For?
    • When The Official Process Process Gets In Your Way
    • Try Having a Physical Scrum Board
    • One Backlog of Work
    • Tasks Are Harmful
    • No, Seriously, Tasks are Bad, Don’t Do Them
  • Management Science
    • Things, Process, and Money
    • Big Teams Hurt. So Why Do That?
    • We need coordination between teams — no really.
    • Standardize Communication Interfaces, Not the How Of The Work
    • Streams of Work Teams, Not Portfolios of Projects
    • The Entire Role of Line Management Is Different
    • The line manager as Product Owner
    • Even better the line manager as Product Owner and team member
    • Impediment Remover or enabler of victim-mentality?
  • Change Management
    • “Process” is Superficial
    • Are you judged by feelings or results?
    • How is your transference rate?
    • Your Reality Bubble
    • Understand the risks involved in a change
    • Priority Whiplash
    • The Tailoring Problem
    • Communities of Practice, Not Centers of Excellence
    • Many people are faking it
    • People Hate Change
  • Notes

The Leanpub 60 Day 100% Happiness Guarantee

Within 60 days of purchase you can get a 100% refund on any Leanpub purchase, in two clicks.

Now, this is technically risky for us, since you'll have the book or course files either way. But we're so confident in our products and services, and in our authors and readers, that we're happy to offer a full money back guarantee for everything we sell.

You can only find out how good something is by trying it, and because of our 100% money back guarantee there's literally no risk to do so!

So, there's no reason not to click the Add to Cart button, is there?

See full terms...

80% Royalties. Earn $16 on a $20 book.

We pay 80% royalties. That's not a typo: you earn $16 on a $20 sale. If we sell 5000 non-refunded copies of your book or course for $20, you'll earn $80,000.

(Yes, some authors have already earned much more than that on Leanpub.)

In fact, authors have earnedover $13 millionwriting, publishing and selling on Leanpub.

Learn more about writing on Leanpub

Free Updates. DRM Free.

If you buy a Leanpub book, you get free updates for as long as the author updates the book! Many authors use Leanpub to publish their books in-progress, while they are writing them. All readers get free updates, regardless of when they bought the book or how much they paid (including free).

Most Leanpub books are available in PDF (for computers) and EPUB (for phones, tablets and Kindle). The formats that a book includes are shown at the top right corner of this page.

Finally, Leanpub books don't have any DRM copy-protection nonsense, so you can easily read them on any supported device.

Learn more about Leanpub's ebook formats and where to read them

Write and Publish on Leanpub

You can use Leanpub to easily write, publish and sell in-progress and completed ebooks and online courses!

Leanpub is a powerful platform for serious authors, combining a simple, elegant writing and publishing workflow with a store focused on selling in-progress ebooks.

Leanpub is a magical typewriter for authors: just write in plain text, and to publish your ebook, just click a button. (Or, if you are producing your ebook your own way, you can even upload your own PDF and/or EPUB files and then publish with one click!) It really is that easy.

Learn more about writing on Leanpub