Category Archives: The Elements of Scrum

Hear Chris Sims on the Agile Weekly Podcast

In Integrum, Chris talks to Roy van de Water and Drew LeSeur of Integrum about running Agile Learning Labs as a transparent company with a radical compensation plan, writing The Elements of Scrum using scrum, and how our new book, Scrum: A Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction is an iteration of our first one.

Roy and Drew ask some excellent and hard questions, so tune in and give a listen!

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Chris Sims is signing copies of The Elements of Scrum at the Atlanta Scrum Gathering on Tuesday

If you are at the 2012 Atlanta Scrum Gathering, you got a copy of The Elements of Scrum by Chris Sims and yours truly in your conference goody bag, as we are proud sponsors of this year’s event. If you’d like Chris to sign your copy, he’ll be doing so at 12:30 pm on Tuesday in the Heritage Room. And I promise: if you bring along three rubber chickens, he will juggle them!

What, you say you don’t yet have a copy of The Elements of Scrum and are consumed with envy? Easily solved! Take one of our CSM or CSPO classes and you’ll get one, or if you just can’t wait, buy yourself a copy here on Amazon. Makes a great Mother’s Day gift! Just kidding. That would be, like, the worst Mother’s Day gift of all time. If you need a Mother’s Day gift, buy her a copy of my mom Ricki Grady’s book, BeBop Garden instead.

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Introducing our new book…Scrum, a Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction

We published this little book very quietly last week, and without so much as a tweet, it has already become the #2 bestselling Kindle book on software project management, right behind our other book, The Elements of Scrum. The response to Elements has been tremendous over the past year, and a lot of people have singled it out as a refreshingly brief and readable way to get the goods on scrum. But at 180 pages, you could say it’s only relatively brief.

What if you are sending a team off to scrum training next week and want to give them a taste to fire them up? Or let’s say you are a scrum evangelist at your company and can only count on 15 minutes of your CEO’s attention to spark her interest? Or maybe you’re a scrum master and you just want your husband to learn enough about what you do that he doesn’t glaze over at the dinner table…

In those cases, you’ll need something not just refreshingly brief, but breathtakingly brief. Which is why we took some of the most salient material from The Elements of Scrum and retooled and repurposed it into a pocket-sized, highly consumable little volume that is cute enough to send to your granny as a birthday card, but smart and sophisticated enough to slip to your CEO or HR director. Meet Scrum: A Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction by Chris Sims & Hillary Louise Johnson. You can buy it on Amazon in paperback for $9.95, or get the Kindle version this very minute for a mere 99 cents.

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Agile Learning Labs is having a book party! Come find out what agile publishing is all about

Late last year, Agile Learning Labs began incubating a new venture, Dymaxicon, to explore the publishing space for agile-themed books, and beyond. This Saturday, August 20th, we’ll be celebrating the success of our first two titles, The Elements of Scrum by Chris Sims and Hillary Louise Johnson, and The Bad Mother, a novel by Nancy Rommelmann. We’ll also be introducing a rash of new titles.
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Agile Learning Labs is having a party

Come help us celebrate the launch of Dymaxicon –- a new kind of publishing house brought to you by Agile Learning Labs.

Saturday, August 20, 2011, 6 to 8 pm
Internos Wine Bar
3240 Geary Street, San Francisco

Raise a glass and toast a new, agile way of producing books, videos and media. Join Chris Sims and Hillary Louise Johnson to celebrate the success of their book, The Elements of Scrum. Come meet some of our dynamic authors whose books and videos have recently gone to press:
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The Elements of Scrum: User Stories and Beyond

Chris is at Agile 2011 in Salt Lake City today, and part of prepping for his Tuesday session on Agile Requirements: User Stories and Beyond included reviewing the following chapter from The Elements of Scrum, by Chris Sims & Hillary Louise Johnson (c’est moi). Here is the text of that chapter in its entirety:
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Video of “The Elements of Scrum” Book Release Party

An extraordinary agilist and friend, Harold Shinsato, captured this video at the release party for our new book “The Elements of Scrum.” My favorite moment is when Hillary explains why they chose not to capitalize scrum and how agile is not a noun. Enjoy!

The Elements of Scrum – Book Release Party from Harold Shinsato on Vimeo.

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ScrumMaster vs scrum master: What do you think?

Chris and I just finished the first draft of our book, The Elements of Scrum, and will be publishing a “beta” paperback by February, just in time for Agile Open Northwest, of which we are a proud sponsor.

One of the biggest remaining debates we’re having is over capitalization. After great deliberation, we’ve chosen not to use agile as a noun in the book (e.g., “In Agile we do it this way…” or “Agile is about…”). In my humble writer’s opinion, when we “thingify” agile by hardening it into a proper noun, the term loses a little bit of it of its transformational power. We want help the word to remain an adjective, a powerful, dynamic descriptor, so we’ve chosen not to nounify it. We’ve also decided not to capitalize it.

But what about scrum? Or Scrum? Scrum is already a noun, but is it a proper noun requiring capitalization? And how about “ScrumMaster” vs “scrum master”? Is it ever kosher to un-couple the camel?

Chris has argued in favor of capitalizing Scrum, saying that “Scrum” is to “agile” as “Chevrolet” is to “car.” I’m not so sure. Chevrolet is a proper noun because it is the name of a brand, and thus a proper noun. I think “scrum” is to “agile” as “existentialism” is to “philosophy.” So I vote for not capitalizing it. The jury is still out, and I’m willing to be persuaded.

And then, what to do with ScrumMaster? I am inclined to leave “ScrumMaster” to the Scrum Alliance, which owns the trademark for Certified ScrumMaster. Ken Schwaber used to hold a trademark for the word “Scrum,” but that application is now listed as “dead” according to the USPTO, and I have to credit Schwaber for thinking twice about that one—it seems the generic term ought not to be owned outright by him or anyone else. Besides, think about how much laugher there was when Donald Trump trademarking the phrase “You’re fired!”

Personally, I’d prefer to promote the use of the more modest “scrum master” when talking about someone who performs that role for a scrum team, certified or not. I’m not by any means anti-certification, by the way—in fact I’m one of those dorks who has their ScrumMaster certificate on their office wall because I think it’s kinda cool.

But–and this is key–while I am a Certified ScrumMaster, I am not a scrum master, because I have never served in that capacity on a scrum team, nor would I feel qualified to do so.

I think it very possible that there are lots of people out there who, conversely, consider themselves scrum masters, and not ScrumMasters. We had a student in our last Certified ScrumMaster class who was actually a member of the first scrum team—he found that he needed to be certified for his consulting business, even though no one could possibly dispute his standing as not only a scrum master, but a master of scrum. (He wasn’t at all bitter about it, by the way, but viewed the irony as merely a side effect of scrum’s evolution.)

Wikipedia’s style guide appears to agree with my approach, as does Grammar Girl, who expresses some disdain for what she calls “pride capitals.” I’ll be curious to see what the new edition of the Chicago Manual of Style says once I get my hands on a copy!

What do you think? Is there room in the young discipline of scrum (or Scrum) for the designation scrum master?

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