The one sentence summary

Small multi-disciplinary teams get things done faster and more effectively than conventional larger structures.


  • This is all about doing twice the work in half the time.
  • The Scrum approach reduces team sizes and breaks down projects into short-term goals, allowing constant assessment of progress and an agile, adaptive approach to problem solving.
  • Improvements in speed and quality of work can be seen almost immediately.
  • Gantt charts, or waterfall process charts, always look pretty but they are always wrong. So don’t waste time designing them.
  • The main ingredients of Scrum are:
  1. Pick a Product Owner – they set priorities about what needs to be done.
  2. Pick a team – 3 to 9 people with a wide range of skills. 7 is ideal.
  3. Pick a scrum master – to coach everyone through the process and remove obstacles.
  4. Create and prioritise a product backlog – a list of everything that needs to be done or made.
  5. Plan sprints – fixed amounts of time less than a month.
  6. Make work visible on a scrum board – To Do, Doing, Done.
  7. Have a daily stand up meeting or scrum – each day, same time, 15 minutes maximum.
  8. Sprint Demo – the team must demonstrate a working version of what has been done (no work in progress, and anyone can come).
  9. Sprint retrospective – what went well and what could be done better next time?


  • Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.
  • Plan, Do, Check, Act.
  • Multitasking doesn’t work.
  • Half done is not done.
  • Working long hours gets less done.
  • The map is not the terrain.
  • Only plan what you need to do.
  • Get better every day and measure it (the Kaizen principle).
  • Happiness is autonomy, mastery and purpose.


  • The author is an ex-Vietnam pilot, so there is a lot of macho phraseology here, such as Hesitation is death, Change or die, and Demo or die.