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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.

Jan 31, 2020

This week, Sam Falco is hosting the podcast once again! He’s invited on his colleague and friend, Adam Ulery, who is a Senior Agile Coach at AgileThought. Adam is a perpetually curious, continuous learner who is always willing to encourage others to try new things (as he very often does himself). He is very focused on helping organizations clarify and meet their business outcomes, and loves to help companies become resilient and rediscover their curiosity.


Today, they’re sharing their best tips for new Scrum Masters. When Sam and Adam were new Scrum Masters they found that there were not a lot of experienced Scrum Masters that were accessible to them. In fact, they didn’t even have access to many of the common resources that exist today! So today they want to share all that they’ve learned over the course of their careers and lend a hand to all of the new Scrum Masters out there!


Key Takeaways

  • Tips for the new Scrum Master:
    • Seek to understand where the team is in terms of their Scrum maturity level
    • Observe the team without immediately trying to make changes to the way the team does things to inform yourself about where they are
    • Ask yourself: ‘How well is what they’re doing working for them? Are they working well together as a team?’ If these things look good in-person even though they could look incorrect on-paper you may not want to change these things
    • Do some sort of an assessment with the team to establish a baseline for where they are and how they’re executing Scrum (then periodically reassess down the line)
    • Have the team self-assess
    • Create a shared team vision
    • Regardless of your experience level, educate yourself on the craft
    • Get involved with a community group to improve your area of practice (and if there isn’t one where you are, start one)
    • Indulge in books around your craft — they’re a great resource for taking you to the next level
    • Go to conferences, big or small
  • Tips for the new Scrum Master who is assigned to a pre-existing team:
    • Start by working with them on the areas that need improvement (based off of an assessment) by getting the team’s input and having the team decide what they’d like to work on (assuming they’re mature enough to want to do that)
    • Receive constant feedback by creating an open channel with the team to communicate
    • Have transparency with what you’re doing there and what you want for them
  • How to become a more effective Scrum Master:
    • Find a mentor
    • Be a mentor — just because you’re new doesn’t mean you have nothing to offer
    • Become a speaker — you’ll discover you know more than you thought you did


Mentioned in this Episode:

The Scrum Guide

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change,
by Stephen R. Covey

Tampa Bay ScrumMasters Guild

Ken Schwaber

Agile Project Management with Scrum, by Ken Schwaber

Software Estimation Without Guessing: Effective Planning in an Imperfect World,
by George Dinwiddie

The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates


Adam Ulery’s Book Picks:

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths That Are Destroying Your Prosperity,
by Garrett B. Gunderson and Stephen Palmer

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren

The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, and Security in Technology Organizations, by Gene Kim, Patrick Debois, John Willis, and Jez Humble


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