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Top 10 Tips for New Scrum Masters


Top 10 Tips for New Scrum Masters

Congratulations! You have just named as Scrum Master for your team. It is exciting yet a bit scary, so to help you better cope with the changes, we’ve prepared some tips for you.

1. Stop Worrying

The first step is to stop worrying. You are going to make mistakes. You are not going to be perfect, and that is ok. None of the seasoned Scrum Masters or Agile Coaches have a perfect record of helping their teams or clients. In fact, they all have made tons of mistakes, and it is those mistakes that helped them grow. So don’t worry about those mistakes; just experiment and continue to learn and improve from your mistakes.

2. Start with Basic: Events

When you first start out as Scrum Master, if you are new, it is likely that your team will be new as well, so your first job could be to facilitate the Scrum events.

3. Seek Help

During your journey, if you encounter problems, seek help by joining local community events and asking questions. Consider asking fellow Scrum Masters or Agile Coaches for advice. Last but not least, read books or ask online in Scrum.org forums or Linkedin groups.

Scrum: a pocket guide by Gunther Verheyen  https://www.amazon.com/Scrum-Pocket-Guide-Practice-Publishing-ebook/dp/B00GY6WRTG

Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins https://www.amazon.com/Coaching-Agile-Teams-ScrumMasters-Addison-Wesley/dp/0321637704

4. Agile Tools & Techniques

At the beginning, quite unavoidably, you may need to help the team with basic agile techniques like story points or planning poker. Sometimes these techniques can be helpful, but use them with care.






5. Agile Principles & Values

While at the same time it is more important to remember the Agile Principles and Values, when you are not sure whether you are helping the team, or the team is heading the right direction, revisit the Agile Manifesto.

  • Individuals and interactions > processes and tools

  • Working software > comprehensive documentation

  • Customer collaboration > contract negotiation

  • Responding to change > following a plan

If you feel the team is focusing on the left side, that’s usually a good sign.

Feel free to re-visit the principles at http://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html

6. Engineering Practice

Once the team is able to do basic Scrum and to create at least one working increment per sprint, then coach the Development Team to focus on quality by expanding the definition of done. These are some of the candidates the Development team can consider to add to their Definition of Done:

7. Product management

Once the Development Team is building the product right, the next area to focus on is whether we are building the right product or not. Help your Product Owner with techniques to manage the product backlog, such as introducing different ways of ordering, different ways of managing stakeholders, coming up with Product Vision and Strategy, quantifying the value, and using story mapping or impact mapping.

8. Organizational Impediments

Once you have done all the above, also remember you are not just serving the Scrum team; you are serving the whole organization, as well. Teach the whole organization what business agility is and what Scrum basics are. Help different teams to work on issues hitting multiple teams, including process, tools, cross-team coordination, code merging, headcount, multi-tasking, etc.

9. Continuous Learning and Improvement

While you as Scrum Master are helping the team, you may need to help yourself to continue to learn more about coaching and facilitation or to learn more about using other Agile techniques to help the Scrum Team. For example, you may want to learn how to use Scrum with Kanban to improve the workflow. As Scrum Master, you need to learn continuously to help the Scrum Team to continue to improve.



10. Have Fun

Lastly, have fun! You should be quite happy with what you have learned and achieved, as well as how much you have helped the team.

Lorenz Cheung