scrum books

10 Best Scrum Books for Project Managers and Scrum Masters

Agile users swear by Scrum as the most efficient Agile project management framework. 

But project management is more challenging than you might think. You need technical knowledge and proficiency in Scrum for your project to succeed.

There’s no alternative to real-world experience to gain the requisite skill set. However, a blind plunge into managing projects in the real world without specific Scrum skills will likely lead to failure. 

The question: how do you develop the required skills? Reading high-quality books by real practitioners who’ve been there and done that can give you a headstart.

We’ve got the best Scrum books for you to sink your teeth into and become a subject matter expert on Scrum. Let’s dive into the top 10 Scrum books for project managers and Scrum masters in 2023. 

At the end, we will drop a little industry secret to help you apply all these tips to become the ultimate Scrum master. 

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10 Best Scrum Books to Add to Your List 

1. Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn

Agile Estimating and Planning
via Amazon

About the book

  • Author(s): Mike Cohn
  • Year published: 2005
  • Estimated reading time: 9 hours
  • Recommended level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • No. of pages: 330 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.5/5 (Amazon)
    • 4.1/5 (Goodreads)

In this book, Agile Alliance co-founder Mike Cohn presents a definitive and practical guide to project management using Scrum. The clearly illustrated concepts and step-by-step guides help answer questions such as:

  • What will be built? 
  • How big will it be? 
  • When must it be done? 
  • How much can I complete by then?

Cohn answers these questions with coherent guidelines.  He equips readers with the tools needed for Agile estimating and planning, which are leagues ahead of the obsolete estimating techniques that do not work in today’s dynamic, change-driven projects. 

Couple that with real-life use cases, and you have a comprehensive guide to estimate your plans and achieve your project management objectives.

“If the team’s throughput is increased by my helping someone else, that’s what I should do. Team velocity matters; individual velocity doesn’t.”

Mike Cohn

Key takeaways:

  • Provides clear planning guidelines so you never overshoot your estimates
  • Gives users real-world experience with practical tools and use cases

What readers say: 

“Very important to understand the various aspects involved in agile planning. Really helpful when you’re transitioning from traditional to agile framework.”

2. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
via Amazon

About the book

  • Author(s): Jeff Sutherland
  • Year published: 2014
  • Estimated reading time: 7 hours
  • Recommended level: Beginner 
  • No. of pages: 256 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.6/5 (Amazon)
    • 4.2/5 (Goodreads)

Straight from the co-creator of the methodology and the CEO of Scrum, Inc., the book provides readers with a definitive look into the workings of Scrum. This is the first step in your journey to scrum mastery.

Sutherland establishes a solid theoretical foundation and then showcases how it works. 

A primary characteristic of the book is its simple language. Unlike other Scrum books, the narrative is intriguing and dynamic. You don’t need software knowledge to understand the principles applied to this book. All these factors contribute to the book’s widespread popularity. 

“The Scrum Master, the person in charge of running the process, asks each team member three questions: 1. What did you do yesterday to help the team finish the Sprint? 2. What will you do today to help the team finish the Sprint? 3. What obstacles are getting in the team’s way? That’s it.”

Jeff Sutherland

Key takeaways:

  • Quick, easy, and in-depth understanding of Scrum
  • Easy-to-understand, no-nonsense, and jargon-free style

What readers say: 

“If you want to know in detail about the inception of Scrum, you are landing on the right book. Highly recommended for SMs, if they truly want to know what and why of Scrum.”

Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process
via Amazon

About the book

  • Author(s): Kenneth S. Rubin
  • Year published: 2012
  • Estimated reading time: Around 13 to 14 hours
  • Recommended level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • No. of pages: 496 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.6/5 (Amazon)
    • 4.7/5 (Flipkart)

If you are looking for one book to rule ‘em all, there is nothing better than Rubin’s complete in-depth guide on Scrum. 

From a 17-page definition of ‘the Sprint’ to a two-chapter spread on estimation, velocity, and technical debt, this book covers every aspect of Scrum values to the finest detail. 

The book is a long but fruitful read. It is meant for Scrum masters who want to elevate their project management skills to the next level. The shorter guides on this list differ from the knowledge this work would provide, given that you invest the time needed to peruse through it. 

“Scrum makes visible the dysfunctions and waste that prevent organizations from reaching their true potential.”

Kenneth S. Rubin

Key takeaways:

  • In-depth guides to every aspect of the Scrum methodology
  • Practical tidbits to help with the day-to-day issues that Scrum masters face

What readers say: 

“Very in-depth and practical guide. Using it to prep for my exams.”

4. Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great by Esther Derby & Diana Larsen

Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great
via Amazon

About the book

  • Author(s): Esther Derby & Diana Larsen
  • Year published: 2006
  • Estimated reading time: Around 5 hours
  • Recommended level: Intermediate
  • No. of pages: 186 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.5/5 (Amazon)
    • 3.9/5 (Goodreads)

Despite its age, this work remains relevant today. 

The Agile Retrospective is a critical Scrum ritual that involves meetings to recap each iteration of an ongoing project. They’re a great window to take a step back and assess what’s working for you and what’s being a hindrance. 

Esther and Diana, through this work, provide you with tools and tips to fix the myriad everyday issues you face during a software development project or process. Note, however, that the book is not confined to software development teams.

It teaches you how to organize and execute retrospectives in general, adapt them to your Scrum team size and organizational needs, and adapt to changes and scale up these strategies. 

“Then, ask everyone in the room to speak. When someone doesn’t speak at the beginning of the retrospective, that person has tacit permission to remain silent for the rest of the session.”

Esther Derby 

Key takeaways:

  • Lessons on architecting and executing Agile retrospectives
  • Guide on dealing with day-to-day issues that arise in software development 
  • A personal agile coach for you that guides you through your journey

What readers say: 

“I liked the simple layout of the book and it articulated with examples where appropriate. It’s a good starting point but not an exhaustive one.”

5. Sprint Your Way to Scrum: 50 Practical Tips to Accelerate Your Scrum by Bonsy Yelsangi

Sprint Your Way to Scrum: 50 Practical Tips to Accelerate Your Scrum
via Amazon

About the book

  • Author(s): Bonsy Yelsangi & Valerio Zanini
  • Year published: 2021
  • Estimated reading time: Around 5 hours
  • Recommended level: Advanced
  • No. of pages: 190 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.7/5 (Amazon)
    • 5/5 (Sandman Books)

Through this easy read, the authors provide practical, clear, and compelling answers to 50 of the most asked questions regarding Scrum. 

Fueled by their experience training thousands of professionals worldwide, the author duo crafted a book.  The book is meant for scrum teams, Scrum practitioners, Scrum Masters, Product Owners, and Agile Coaches who want to polish their expertise and take Scrum to the next level.

You will find zero fluff, making the work an enjoyable read. By the end of it, you will come up with a handy toolbox of real-world tips and project management techniques required for the most effective utilization of Scrum. 

“There is not a right way or the only way to implement Scrum.”

Bonsy Yelsangi

Key takeaways:

  • Answers the top 50 questions that trainees have related to Scrum
  • Zero-fluff, a no-nonsense delivery style that only gives you the most necessary of details

What readers say: 

“This is a perfect book for scrum master I have read recently. Bonsy has done an excellent job in making this thing possible and detailing every expectation of the scrum master very meticulously. Wish you all the very best Bonsy and we will be looking forward to many more books 📚 in the future …..Keep up the good work 👍🏻”

6. The Scrum Guide by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland

This book takes you back to the basics. But don’t underestimate this seminal work. While it is an excellent threshold for beginners, it is also great for experts who want to brush up their knowledge and contrast their personal experience with the theoretical framework. 

Written and constantly updated by the creators of Scrum, it is a brief guide highlighting the most critical parts of the methodology. Much like the book itself, it promotes continuous improvement. It will give you the values, roles, events, and artifacts used in Scrum in a compact, concise, and jargon-free manner. 

“A manager’s most important work is helping the people doing the work. Give them a goal and let them work. ”

Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland

Key Takeaways:

  • A short yet practical crash course to Scrum
  • Good for complete beginners and PMs who want to get back to the basics

What readers say: 

“It’s a short but perfect guide. Nothing extra.”

7. Large-Scale Scrum: More with LeSS by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde

Large-Scale Scrum: More with LeSS
via Amazon

About the book

  • Author(s): Craig Larman & Bas Vodde
  • Year published: 2016
  • Estimated reading time: Around 10 hours
  • Recommended level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • No. of pages: 368 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.4/5 (Amazon)

Do you want a framework that helps you manage large-scale or multiple projects? Larman and Vodde have your back. 

While Scrum was initially meant for small development teams, with time, the addition of new ideas and variants made it possible for it to be implemented in a large team setting. This is great for coaching agile teams because team success is everything.

One of the pioneering and most effective variants is LeSS (Large Scale Scrum), designed by Larman and Vodde. It is a Scrum-based framework that works in complex scenarios. 

This book is a must-read if you are in the position to manage or be part of a multi-team setup. The book equips you with the necessary tools to understand the role of a Scrum master and structure a large organization for customer value. 

“One of the Scrum rules is that work cannot be pushed onto a team; the Product Owner offers items for the iteration, and the team pulls as many as they decide they can do at a sustainable pace with good quality.”

Craig Larman

Key takeaways:

  • Introduces you to the LeSS framework for large-scale or multi-team projects
  • Helps you understand how to implement the simplicity of Scrum in complex scenarios

What readers say: 

“If you are practicing Scrum and struggling how to scale then this book is perfect for you. If you are planning to adopt Scrum for large product development, then buy this book immediately.”

8. Scrum in AI: Artificial Intelligence Agile Development with Scrum and MLOps by Paolo Sammicheli

Scrum in AI: Artificial Intelligence Agile Development with Scrum and MLOps
via Amazon

About the book

  • Author(s): Paolo Sammicheli 
  • Year published: 2022
  • Estimated reading time: Around 6 to 7 hours
  • Recommended level: Niche 
  • No. of pages: 244 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.1/5 (Amazon)

The AI industry has been booming recently, and software teams are gearing up to create AI-powered applications. Sammicheli gives readers a comprehensive look into the project management necessary during AI development in this work. Agile teams working on AI? This is for you.

The book provides overarching details on Agile, Scrum, and MLOps methodologies to boost morale, gather feedback, exercise control, foster stakeholder inclusivity, and manage developers to yield high-quality results. 

It is apt for practical scenarios because it has a solid Agile foundation, engineering practices, and real-world examples. It also shows you how to implement them in your company.

“With Agile, Scrum, and MLOps, you will get team spirit, frequent feedback, empirical control, stakeholder involvement, and developers’ motivation for high-quality results.”

Paolo Sammicheli 

Key takeaways:

  • Dedicated guide for AI software development project management
  • Provides practical examples and guides on how to scale these strategies

What readers say: 

No reviews found

9. Learning Agile: Understanding Scrum, XP, Lean, and Kanban by Andrew Stellman & Jennifer Greene

Learning Agile: Understanding Scrum, XP, Lean, and Kanban
via Amazon

About the book

  • Author(s): Andrew Stellman & Jennifer Greene
  • Year published: 2014
  • Estimated reading time: Around 11 to 12 hours
  • Recommended level: Beginner 
  • No. of pages: 420 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.5/5 (Amazon)
    • 5/5 (Barnes and Noble)

If you want to go beyond Scrum and explore the most popular Agile methodologies, this book is the perfect fit for you. A light and engaging read, the work provides comprehensive details regarding Scrum, XP, Lean, and Kanban—perfect for scrum teams.

It explains how each method focuses on different areas of development and helps you understand which would work best for you and your Scrum team. Take up this book if you want to delve into Agile but need clarification on which methodology you should go for. 

“’s universally important to understand the people on the team, how they work together, and how each person’s work impacts everyone else.”

Andrew Stellman and Jennifer Greene

Key takeaways:

  • Gives a comprehensive analysis of the most popular Agile frameworks
  • Helps you decide which method would work best for your team’s size and needs

What readers say: 

“The book hits upon all the topics in detail that one should when trying to explain Agile. Love the way the book has been written, coverage, and content.”

10. The Great ScrumMaster: #ScrumMasterWay by Zuzana Šochová

The Great ScrumMaster:
via Amazon

About the book

  • Author(s): Zuzana Šochová
  • Year published: 2016
  • Estimated reading time: Around 7 to 8 hours
  • Recommended level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • No. of pages: 176 pages
  • Ratings
    • 4.2/5 (Amazon)
    • 3.8/5 (Goodreads) 

With its focus on Scrum Masters, this book is a comprehensive guide on molding yourself into the best leader your team and organization need. Reading this work gives you a comprehensive understanding of the crucial position. 

The author’s 15+ years of experience as a developer, manager, and Scrum Master shines through the detailed State of Mind model that showcases what a Scrum Master’s ideal day should look like. 

The work explores every facet of being and embodying a Scrum Master, from your responsibilities, competencies, and meta-skills to your team-building prowess, change adaptability, resource allocation, and much more. 

“To be a good guide, the ScrumMaster must stay only one step ahead of the team and organization, pulling them out of their habits, norms, and customs.“

Zuzana Šochová

Key takeaways:

  • Rigorously trains you to become the best Scrum Master you can be
  • Provides detailed descriptions of your overarching position and responsibilities fueled by years of practical experience

What readers say: 

“Best book to start with the scrum terminologies.”

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And that’s all we’ve got for you! These top 10 Scrum project management books will assist you regardless of your level—a fledgling project manager or a Scrum master. 

Experienced scrum masters know knowledge is the starting point. When you step into real-world project management, don’t you want top-notch software, perfect for Scrum and other methods, right by your side?


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