August 03


What you could learn from Scrum 101 by Lowe, Wyllie and Vara (2017, 126 pages)

Scrum 101 is a refreshingly clear, helpful guide to Scrum.  The book starts by explaining the Agile manifesto and principles directly and thankfully will little interpretation.  The book then situates Scrum within Agile by describing it as a framework for achieving the values and goal of Agile (a great description).  The book also outlines the Scrum pillars and values (described briefly below).

Scrum pillars

  1. Transparency.  Everyone working towards a clear goal, with clear criteria (definition of done, user acceptance criteria) with work and progress visible to all
  2. Inspection.  Daily and regular reflection and analysis which will lead to things to keep or change so that the team and the product improves over time
  3. Adaption.  Find value and exploit or change to improve


Scrum values

  • Commitment.  Individuals and the team commit to the sprint goal, as well as to helping each other and the team improve
  • Focus.  Everyone works towards getting the Sprint goal achieved and is not distracted
  • Openness.  Be clear on blockers, progress and problems so that others can help
  • Respect.  People are different, respecting that everyone on the teams brings value and wants to help means more time solving the problem
  • Courage.  Speak up if there is something wrong, but also courage to get the work done


The book discusses each of the major components of Scum over 5 chapters (see below).  Each page is devoted to a key question on that topic.  For example, ‘What is a Sprint Review?’.  This format is helpful, as answers are limited to one page, keeping answers clear and concise.

  • Events p21
  • Roles p45
  • Artefacts p63
  • Estimation p89
  • General p115


What will I do differently after reading this book?

  1. Buy this book and give it to any team or person that is new to Agile and Scrum
  2. Ensure that any values or norms I create for/in teams, align with the Scrum values

Scrum 101 is a great book, which answers all the common questions about Scrum in a clear, simple and unpretentious way.  Get this book if your a Scrum novice, or work to support people who are new to Scrum.

You can buy Scrum 101 here on Amazon UK

(I get a small referral fee if you use this link, the money goes to buying books and maintaining the site, and extra goes to veteran charities)

There are several additional key points the book makes:

  • The Prime Directive.  ‘Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and their abilities, the resources available and the situation at hand’
  • Call Scrum meeting events and not ceremonies to make them less religious
  • There is no project manager in Scrum, the stuff they do (planning, scheduling, costing etc) is done by the rest of the team
  • Vertical slicing (create an MVP and launching it) is better than horizontal slicing (building the best database)