Scrum Shortcuts Without Cutting Corners: A Review

May 6, 2014



Scrum Shortcuts Book Cover

I first discovered Ilan’s Goldstein’s Scrum shortcuts on his blog where I quickly became a fan of his practical advice and personal stories from his years of experience implementing Scrum. Plus, the Scrumtroopers were a lot of fun. So I was delighted to learn he was writing a book that would expand on the nuggets of wisdom on his blog.


In the forward, Goldstein suggests reading Scrum Shortcuts without Cutting Corners: Agile Tactics, Tools, & Tips like a recipe book – simply flip to the shortcut you are looking for and decide which ingredients work for you. If you are fairly experienced with Scrum, then I would recommend using the book this way. Each chapter focuses on a specific challenge most ScrumMasters face and provides practical advice and real-world anecdotes to illustrate the shortcut. Since ideas and practices are often interconnected, simple cross-references to the relevant shortcuts make the answers you need easy to find. In addition to covering the usual challenges ScrumMasters encounter,  Scrum Shortcuts also covers topics not typically addressed by other books, such as:

    • selling Scrum to your teams and organizations, 
    • choosing your team, 
    • managing risks, 
    • reviewing the entire product,
    • using metrics that matter, 
    • managing managers, and
    • determining whether Scrum really is working.

Although you can read it like a recipe book, Scrum Shortcuts should not be used as a recipe on how to apply Scrum to all projects in any organization. Throughout the book, Goldstein acknowledges that implementing Scrum is tough and the shortcuts are the various things he has learned the hard way. The shortcuts are more food for thought, giving ScrumMasters simple ideas to adapt and implement in a way that makes the most sense for their teams. 

While not recommended as a first book to explain principles and practices, Scrum Shortcuts is accessible for the beginner ScrumMaster who has done some reading or training and is looking for more real world applications. Goldstein uses humour, trivia and many stories from his personal experience to which any budding ScrumMaster can relate. His open, conversational writing style also makes the book fun to read.

If you are a ScrumMaster, Product Owner or Agile Project Manager looking for real world insight on how to get beyond the basics of Scrum, then I recommend reading Scrum Shortcuts without Cutting Corners: Agile Tactics, Tools, & Tips.

Note: Sockets and Lightbulbs is an advertising affiliate with Amazon; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.


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About Liza Wood

After a dozen years leading video game development projects in a variety of roles, I decided to pursue a Master of Data Science at the University of British Columbia. Studying data science doesn’t mean I’m moving away from leading people. Growing data science teams need collaborative, pragmatic, Agile leadership to connect data to all areas of the business. I would like to share that point of view, along with my experiences, on this blog.

View all posts by Liza Wood

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2 Comments on “Scrum Shortcuts Without Cutting Corners: A Review”

  1. Rajeev Kumar Gupta Says:

    Interesting. I too have some shortcuts while migrating my team into SCRUM. However, i had impression that its only applicable during transition period. As team matures and get more familiarty of scrum in day to day work life, these short cuts goes away.


    • Liza Wood Says:

      The book is more about tips and tricks on Scrum, rather than shortcuts in the process. Some of the tips are like you said – shortcuts to help the team get started. On the most part, though, the tips are things that typical books do not cover and many ScrumMasters learn the hard way.


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