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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Mar 6, 2020

This week on the podcast, Dan Neumann is joined by Ryan Ripley! Ryan is a Professional Scrum Trainer, the host of the Agile for Humans podcast, and the co-author of the new book, Fixing Your Scrum: Practical Solutions to Common Scrum Problems.


Together, Dan and Ryan dig into his new book to uncover some of these common Scrum problems that hold back teams and what a Scrum Master can do to find them and help their teams get back on the path to delivery. Fixing Your Scrum is all about the steps you can take as a Scrum Master to transform your Scrum practices, bring life back to your Scrum events, and use Scrum as a competitive advantage for your organization.


Tune into this episode to hear all of Ryan’s insights and highly practical (and actionable) tips regarding the Scrum framework!


Key Takeaways

What does Fixing Your Scrum set out to accomplish? What does it cover?

Helps Scrum teams inspect and adapt the way they’re working and to discover ways that they can improve

Aims to help Scrum teams solve common problems

Focuses on practicality and actionable steps; it’s not another theoretical tome

It’s not about defining agility but rather how to use the Scrum framework to position your teams to have a shot at agility

The book provides ideas and structures; it’s not super prescriptive (i.e. Ryan and Todd take a consulting approach rather than a “thou shalt do this…” approach)

Aims to provoke discovery with suggestions

It is aimed at the Scrum Master to hone their craft

What is the 15% solution approach?

The approach emphasizes not getting overwhelmed with the big things but rather to move the needle a little bit in the direction you want to go

It’s about discovering what your next step is (that could lead to something impactful) instead of trying to plan out the next thousand steps which are going to change as you get feedback, anyway


Diminishing the Scrum Master to an administrative role (they’re supposed to have an impact on the way that the teams are using Scrum and how the organization is using agility)

A commitment to deliver on a specific set of product backlog items in a sprint (there should be a sprint goal that you hold sacred rather than a commitment to a bunch of backlog items)

Change, change, change all at once (changes need time to bake in to ensure that they’re effective)

Teams that are a group of loosely associated people rather than a truly collaborative group working together

Important notes about the Product Owner role and the product backlog:

There’s a misconception about the product backlog that it just needs to be posted somewhere to be transparent, but transparency means whole-team understanding (which requires refinement, continual collaboration, and whole-team discussions)

Go beyond visibility by making sure the product backlog is fully understood by the whole team (by continually refining, enhancing, and sharing your understanding of the product)

The product backlog should represent the future vision of the product

Ruthlessly delete old/unnecessary product backlog items (product backlog items shouldn’t be treated like inventory so don’t be afraid to delete [if it’s a good idea it will come back])

Shift the language around the product backlog — it’s more of a forecast; not a commitment

The importance of implementing Scrum values:

Scrum values change behavior

Without them, every practice that Fixing Your Scrum recommends becomes rote

By bringing Scrum values in, you’re honoring the human side of the work

If you bring them forward correctly, it brings life to the framework

When the values are present, agility becomes possible


Mentioned in this Episode:

Ryan Ripley’s Website

Ryan Ripley’s LinkedIn

Ryan Ripley’s Twitter

Fixing Your Scrum: Practical Solutions to Common Scrum Problems, by Ryan Ripley
and Todd Miller

The Pragmatic Bookshelf

Woody Zuill Quote


Ryan Ripley’s Book Pick:

Only Joking: What’s So Funny About Making People Laugh? by Jimmy Carr and Lucy Greeves


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