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Scrum Master Articles

Welcome to our Scrum Master articles library, check out our articles on Scrum & Agile to support you with your journey.

Would you recommend daily stand ups for all teams regardless of size or experience?

Would you recommend stand-ups for all teams regardless of their size or experience level? Let’s star…

As a facilitator, how does a scrum master prepare for a workshop?

As a facilitator, how does a scrum master prepare for a workshop? Welcome to part 27 of our scrum ma…

As a scrum master, when should you not act as a facilitator?

As a scrum master, when should you not act as a facilitator? Welcome to part 26 in our scrum master …

What are the 2 primary ways in which a scrum master ensures a high-performance team environment?

What are the 2 primary ways in which a scrum master ensures a high-performance team environment? Wel…

What are the most common reasons for a scrum master to attend the daily scrum?

What are the most common reasons for a scrum master to attend the daily scrum? Very often, when I gi…

During the daily scrum, what exactly is the scrum master’s role?

During the daily scrum, what exactly is the scrum master’s role? Welcome to our scrum master intervi…

What structure do you consider best for a user story?

What structure do you consider best for a user story? Welcome to part 25 of our scrum master intervi…

How do you choose the most valuable user story?

How do you choose the most valuable user story? Welcome to part 24 of our scrum master interview que…

Agile Top Tip – How to set personal goals that align with organisational goals

The start of the year feels like a natural point to set goals, both personally and at a team or orga…

Agile Top Tip – How to make goals specific

How do you make goals specific? In this video, John McFadyen shares his recommendation for making go…

Agile Top Tip – How to make sure goals are realistic

It can be easy to be over-optimistic when setting goals, leading to targets that aren’t attain…

Agile Top Tip – How to manage (and set) goals in a volatile world

Goals can be great to give us direction and keep us accountable. But in such a volatile world, you m…

Agile Top Tip – What do you do when a goal becomes obsolete?

What do you do when a goal becomes obsolete? The nature of today’s business climate means that…

Agile Top Tip – Conducting a Sprint Review when not all stakeholders can attend

The Sprint Review is an important event in Scrum, a chance for the Scrum Team to gain feedback on th…

Agile Top Tip – How to support your team after receiving negative feedback in a Sprint Review

How do you support your Scrum Team after receiving negative feedback in the Sprint Review? John McFa…

Agile Top Tip – Conducting a Sprint Review when the Product Owner is not present

This week’s top tip is how to conduct a Sprint Review when the Product Owner can’t make …

Agile Top Tip – How to give (and receive) constructive criticism in the Sprint Review

The purpose of the Sprint Review is to gain feedback. Sometimes it’s positive. Other times it&…

Agile Top Tip – How to foster openness from everyone in the Sprint Review

The Agile Top Tips theme for December 2022 is the Sprint Review, so we started by asking John his to…

Agile Top Tip – How to make continuous improvement items actionable

The Sprint Retrospective is often a great source of ideas, but how do you take these ideas and turn …

Agile Top Tip – How to facilitate a virtual Retrospective

This week’s top tip topic is how to facilitate a virtual Retrospective. Post-it notes on a wal…

Agile Top Tip – How to facilitate a Retrospective when the Sprint hasn’t gone to plan

Sprints won’t always go to plan, but how do you facilitate a Sprint Retrospective when this is…

Agile Top Tip – How to prioritise continuous improvement ideas

This week’s top tip topic is how to prioritise continuous improvement items. If, like our team…

Agile Top Tip – How to facilitate a Retrospective when the team lacks psychological safety

We’ll be sharing regular top tips around a different them for each month. The theme for Septem…

The product owner converts stakeholder requirement documents into tickets and asks the team to estimate them. Are you ok with that?

The product owner converts stakeholder requirement documents into tickets and asks the team to estim…

What is a good example of agile proving successful in an organisation you have worked with in the past?

What is a good example of agile proving successful in an organisation you have worked with in the pa…

How do you recommend a scrum master to follow up on action items?

How do you recommend a scrum master to follow up on action items? Welcome to part 21 in our scrum ma…

How would you influence or encourage product stakeholders to attend daily scrums?

How would you influence or encourage product stakeholders to attend daily scrums? Welcome to part 18…

Who writes user stories and what would you advise them to write in those stories?

Who writes user stories and what would you advise them to write in those stories? Welcome to part 17…

Why aren’t user stories estimated in hours or days?

Why aren’t user stories estimated in hours or days? Because, in complex environments, it simply does…

How would you help the team identify and select the most valuable backlog items for the upcoming sprint?

How would you help the team identify and select the most valuable backlog items for the upcoming spr…

What kind of information would you ask the product owner for to give the scrum team an update on the product and market situation?

What kind of information would you ask the product owner for to give the scrum team an update on the…

Do scrum team members need to wait until the next daily stand up to ask for help in resolving impediments or obstacles?

Do scrum team members need to wait until the next daily stand up to ask for help in resolving impedi…

A member of the scrum team does not want to participate in planning. How do you deal with that?

A member of the scrum team does not want to participate in planning. How do you deal with that? Welc…

How do you help pick good user stories for the scrum team to include in sprint planning?

How do you help pick good user stories for the scrum team to include in sprint planning? Welcome to …

How would you determine the success of agile within your organization?

How would you determine the success of agile within your organization? Welcome to part 9 in our scru…

A product owner assigns specific user stories to specific team members. How do you react?

A product owner assigns specific user stories to specific team members. How do you react? Welcome to…

How much capacity would you consider to refactor, fix important bugs, explore new technologies and ideas?

How much capacity would you consider to refactor, fix important bugs, explore new technologies and i…

Your product owner has pushed to include a user story in the upcoming sprint, but the design is not yet finalised. How do you react?

Your product owner has pushed to include a user story in the upcoming sprint, but the design is not …

What is a definition of ready?

What is a definition of ready? Welcome to part 5 of our scrum master interview questions series wher…

The product backlog has over 200 items. Is this acceptable?

The product backlog has over 200 items. Is this acceptable? Welcome to part 3 in our scrum master in…

What are the most common reasons for a scrum team failing to meet their commitments?

What are the most common reasons for a scrum team failing to meet their commitments? Welcome to part…

The Definitive Guide to Scrum Training

Why take Scrum training? Scrum may appear simple at first, but it is deceptively difficult to do wel…

On-demand Scrum Master Preparation Exams

For many, the Certified ScrumMaster® or Professional Scrum Master™ exam is the most nerve-wracking a…

Agile getting stale Take the Mani fresh to Challenge
Is your Agile getting stale? Take the Mani-fresh-to Challenge!

TLDR; Everything changed in 2020, even the Scrum Guide got an update, but the Agile Manifesto didn’t…

On Agile Mastery
On Agile and Mastery

I’m lucky enough to find my job professionally satisfying. That’s because I think the line of work I…

Scaled Agile Framework
Introduction to SAFe

SAFe® is an acronym for Scaled Agile Framework® and was introduced in 2011 by co-creators Dean Leffi…

OKR Goal setting
Why OKRs aren’t enough on their own: Goals and Standards

Objectives and Key Results – OKRs – are a well known goal-setting technique; there&#8217…

Essential Skills – Critical Analysis

In a recent conversation with Tyrrell Basson from Manchester University, we explored the topic of ‘e…

I’m in a Theory X Team, Get Me Out Of Here!

For 20 years, ITV’s “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here” has been a staple of the UK pre-Christmas …

Technical Debt

Part of the Covid Hack series by John McFadyen We all experienced massive disruption, complexity and…

Facilitate rapid and effective decision-making

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a collaborative, coaching-style workshop that brings together the team…

Customers and Developers in the same room. WTF?

At the turn of the 20th Century, the father of modern Business Management – Frederick Winslow …

How do I get the senior leadership team to buy into Agile?

‘How do I get the senior leadership team to buy into Agile?’ is a question I’m often asked. It’s a g…

Stealth Agile

I recently connected with Tyrrell Basson from the University of Manchester in one of my ‘Ask me Anyt…

Coronavirus and The Corner Shop – A Portrait of Agility?

If ever one wanted the ultimate portrait of a VUCA world – volatile, uncertain, complex, and a…

Agile Bootcamp #4 – Using Story Mapping to Teach Agile

User Story Mapping is a great technique to help teams explore their product scope and plan how they …

Agile Bootcamp #3 – Scrum Simulation with the Inception Deck

There are lots of ways to help introduce the concepts of Scrum to teams and to give them a chance to…

Agile Bootcamp #2 – Behind The Scenes at an Agile Bootcamp

The bootcamp is planned, the travel arrangements made and suitcases packed. Now, the hard work start…

Predict Success by Finding Problems

Agile was supposed to make things easier. It was supposed to fix the problems of large projects with…

Scrum Beyond Scrum

On my professionalisation journey to Scrum Alliance Certified Team Coach, I am collecting badges and…

Agile Project Management

To say the words ‘Agile Project Management’ in front of Agile purists falls somewhere in the spectru…

The Scrum Framework

The Scrum Framework is an Agile framework within which various Agile methodologies can be both emplo…

What is Project Management?

Project Management, as both a profession and specialised discipline, is relatively young. From the d…

Don’t look back in anger

Continuous improvement is a core agile principle. The retrospective is an important event in all agi…

Ways for a group to reach a decision

There are always moments in a project when decisions must be made. How those decisions are reached w…

Personality traits of an excellent Scrum Master

“Bring it to the team” should be the daily motto of an excellent Scrum Master. Nobody can truly fulf…

How Agile benefits Kanban and XP Development Frameworks

Above all, Agile is about focusing on the customer in the most streamlined way possible. Fundamental…

The Origins of Scrum and Agile

As leadership guru Steve Denning has written, Agile is “not about doing more work in less time:…

Scrum and the agile Manifesto
Scrum and the Agile Manifesto

The values and principles of the Agile manifesto are designed to remind you of one thing above all: …

Feedback: it’s not what you get, it’s what you do with it

When teaching Scrum a large part of the information is around feedback: product feedback, process fe…

The Art of the Post-It®

For years I have watched my husband, John, sticking post-its all over the place while working. I nev…

Show Confidence

We hear a lot about confidence in the contexts of business, personal relationships, and just about e…

A brief overview of Scrum

In this brief overview of Scrum, we introduce you to the Scrum Framework, roles within the Scrum met…

Sprint: the Heartbeat of Scrum

A Sprint, as described in the Scrum Guide, is a time-boxed period of one month or less during which …

What do Agile and Electricity have in Common?

In February, it will be 17 years since the writing of the Agile Manifesto. Much was, and still is, p…

The Responsibility Process® in Action

Recently I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days with Christopher Avery renewing my practice of…

Everyone can lead an exceptional life

You may not know who Rick Rubin is but you definitely would have heard of his music. He has been a m…

A Simple Method for Breaking down Product Backlog Items into Tasks

During Sprint Planning many teams resist breaking down Product Backlog items selected into task…

What Role do Team Members Play in the Scrum Team?

Let’s get to know the different roles and responsibilities of each person in an agile developm…

Acceptance Testing

Most Agile frameworks express customer requirements using simple and lightweight methods, such as Us…

The Scrum Master beyond Technical Lead

The Scrum Master seeks to ensure that the team respects and follows the values and practices of Scru…

Sprint burndown charts: Grapes of Progress or Watermelon Surprise?

In a recent discussion with an ‘Argument of Agile Coaches‘ (an apt collective noun for a…

No Framework Will Save You

It is often said, by those in the personal training industry, that you cannot out-train a bad diet. …

What’s in a Name

Over the last few years, Agile has acquired a lot of unwanted baggage. Some of that baggage is as a …

What’s in it for you?

When starting any team, I ask a question that often shocks people in the room: What do you want to g…

Setting the agenda

At a client the meetings tend to wander, a habit the developers try to break but drift back into wit…

A community of thinkers

Saw this in the twittersphere yesterday and it really resonates with what I believe the software dev…

Stop, reflect, resume

Yesterday, during sprint planning one of the team members said he didn’t see the point in sizi…

Beware planning poker

Planning poker is the most common sizing tool used within the Scrum community. Straightforward and f…

Understanding the mission

A very American phrase I know; but it hits right at the heart of many of the problems I’ve see…