The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni

I am a big fan of Patrick Lencioni’s books, and The Advantage is no exception.

In The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business, Lencioni asserts that the health of an organization is a better indicator of success than its intelligence. A healthy organization has minimal politics and confusion, high morale and productivity, and low turnover. A smart organization will have the intelligence to brilliantly execute strategy, marketing, finance, and technology. But without organizational health, a smart organization will lack a competitive advantage over a smart organization that is also healthy. The healthy organization will always have “the advantage.”

Unlike Lencioni’s previous books, The Advantage is not a business fable but an accumulation of models from some of his most popular business fables with a new twist – combining them into an overall model for achieving a competitive advantage.

I’m not going to get into any of the details of the book except for this – if you’ve already read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, you can skip pages 27-70.

Scrum Product Ownership by Robert Galen

I purchased a copy of Scrum Product Ownership: Balancing Value from the Inside Out because much of my Scrum Mastering right now is focused on improving the Product Owner role. I was hoping the book would give some insights and specifics into the life of a Product Owner.

The content of the book did not live up to the hype of the high star rating it currently has on Amazon. I am fairly well read on Scrum literature, and I found few things in this book that were enlightening. Almost all of the knowledge in this book is covered in more depth in books like Essential Scrum and Agile Estimation and Planning.

The book reads like a series of blog posts and disconnected thoughts that have been strung together. That’s okay if you’re looking for a reference book, but I read the book cover-to-cover, and it did not flow well.

Galen begins the book by saying that he’s not a Scrum purist and considers himself a pragmatist. He holds true to that declaration throughout the book, and there are several instances where he suggests doing something contrary to Scrum best practices. Some of them make sense, and some of them don’t. His recommendations seem to be based solely on his experience, and any reader will definitely need to take that into account.

I might recommend Scrum Product Ownership to Product Owners that are very new to Scrum, but I would be a bit worried about them being led astray by some of the misleading advice. I wouldn’t suggest this book to more experienced Product Owners because it will contain information that they already know. So the only Product Owners I would suggest this book to is to those who are struggling with strategies for Product Ownership and know enough about the whys of Scrum to discern what are and are not good recommendations in the book.