Book Review: “Agile and Scrum: Collaborative Software Devevelopment That Connects Customers, Engineers and Management”

ImageThis January, I have finally published a Japanese Agile book.

“Agile and Scrum: Collaborative Software Development That Connects Customers, Engineers and Management”

I humbly co-authored this book with Prof. Ikujiro Nonaka, the grandfather of Scrum who originally researched collaborative new product development projects in Japan and published an article “The New New Product Development Game“(1986) in Harvard Business Review and coined the word “Scrum” which is later referenced by Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber and Mike Beedle in the early context of Agile software development.

This book is the first book describing Scrum in Japan, written originally in Japanese(Although more than 10 have been translated from English so far). It was a big challenge to us for over an year, but Nonaka san and I discussed SECI-model in Scrum, one-team-ness of Scrum and also the leadership that enables Scrum in your organization.

Nonaka's Interview with me

Nonaka’s panel discussion with me at Scrum Regional Gathering Tokyo 2013(photo by @nobeans)

The highlight is in Part III. Nonaka sans original ideas in “his Scrum” (and other literature) which are not implemented in Agile Scrum are explored in the course of the interview and dialog.

Just a digest here…

He originally discussed this in his book “Knowledge Creating Company“, and now put in the context of Agile. How tacit and explicit knowledge transform each other into innovation, and why “Design Thinking” (or empathy to the users through experience, or in his word “socialization”) should be inserted to the first part of the PDCA loop. Scrum’s Sprint can be seen as an engine of the SECI spiral knowledge creation model that builds both the product and the team at the same time.

  • Fractal organization

He discussed this originally in his book “U.S. Marine”, and now put it into the Agile context. In U.S. Marine, land-air-sea soldiers are in one team(MAGTAF) from the top organization level to the smallest landing mission team level with only three soldiers. This is an example of the fractal(self-similar) structure of organization, where cross-functional teaming is essential at multiple levels. One Scrum team to Scrum-of-scrum organization can be seen as an instance of this fractal organization.

He discussed this in his book “Managing Flow“. Also he and I put this insight into Agile world. Phronesis is the third type of knowledge after science (explicit knowledge) and art(tacit). Phronetic Leadership(or Leader, i.e. person) conveys the knowledge without separating the two, and it is the key to a good scrum team personified as Product Owner.

This book also includes War Stories from three Japanese companies “Fujitsu”, “Rakuten”, and “Recruit”, and also includes an interview with Jeff Sutherland, and a long cross-talk of Nonaka san and me.

I definitely write an English version of the book. Any offerings from US or UK publishers? 🙂

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