If you are looking for the most straight forward, pragmatic book covering the most prevalent Agile software development approach, then “Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process” by Kenneth S. Rubin (Amazon link) is it. From beginning to end, the book walks you through all of the concepts and techniques that makes Agile Scrum software development as effective as the industry has recognized. My only regret is that this book wasn’t available a hand full of years ago when I was fumbling my way through implementing Agile methodologies when I was leading development teams.
Disclaimer: I was privileged to assist the author, Kenny, with reviewing sections of the book prior publication. Kenny was gracious enough to mention my contribution in the Acknowledgements section of the book.
Kenny has structured the book to be a classic chapter by chapter read. Chapter 2 provides an excellent end-to-send Scrum primer with chapters 3 through 8 addressing the core concepts. Chapters 9 through 13 cover the roles of product owner, ScrumMaster, etc. Chapters 14 through 18 address planning including more complicated topics such as multi-level and portfolio planning. Chapters 19 through 22 cover the sprint in depth. Chapter 23 ends the book with the send off: “There is No End State” and re-iterates the lack of a one-size-fits-all mandate with Scrum. The chapter sequencing serves as both a comprehensive education on Scrum as well as an excellent concept reference when your team is struggling and a specific Scrum technique needs to be re-evaluated.
To all of those looking for a single text to provide the most breath and depth of coverage on the Agile Scrum methodology, I strongly recommend Kenny’s book. After only being published a few weeks, Jurgen Appelo listed it at 76 on his Top 100 Agile Books (Edition 2012).