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Book Review: Software in 30 Days

Title: Software in 30 Days: How Agile Managers Beat the Odds, Delight Their Customers, and Leave Competitors in the Dust
Author(s): Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland

Rating: 3 Stars  (more info)

“Software in 30 Days” that talks about Scrum, empiricism, and how to implement Scrum in your organization. The focus is really about starting at ground zero and introducing Scrum via a pilot project, but there is some discussion about expanding to a software studio and enterprise transformation. The main audience of the book is CEOs, executives, and senior managers, so the view is more big picture and benefits of adopting Scrum.

The book is a smooth read and does have some great material. I am giving it three stars because Sutherland’s 2014 book “Scrum: Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time” does a better job covering the material, and in more depth.

What I Liked:

  • It’s nice to hear more about Scrum from the people who created the framework
  • There are some wonderful stories and examples of how Scrum has been implemented at various companies, and the challenges they faces.
  • The section on technical debt (chapter 7) is well written.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The signed agreement (terms of use) for people participating software studio feels heavy-handed and non-Agile. There may be good reasons for this, but it seems unnecessary and out-of-place, in my opinion.


  • “When you employ 30-day development cycles, everything that didn’t work under waterfall and that was wasteful becomes transparent.” (page 45)
  • “When a manager plans the work and ensures that people do what is planned, those people are constrained by the manager’s intelligence, vision, organizational skills, and so forth. When they run into problems or unanticipated situations, they are not empowered to think on their own.” (page 45)
  • “Reality is firmer ground than expectations.” (page 69)
  • “True change must be achieved the old-fashioned way: with sweat equity.” (page 103)
  • “If people do not understand the vision for the future and where they fit into it, no matter how good it is, they will resist it.” (page 113)
  • “If what they were doing worked, the wouldn’t change. Change is difficult, traumatic, and risky.” (page 120)
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