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Resources for new Scrum Masters

As part of my ongoing self-education, I am collecting a “library” of information, particularly suited to the non-developer Scrum Master. I add to this frequently, as I come across new information or something catches my eye.

The basics

Agile manifesto and 12 principles

A Modern Take on the Agile Manifesto (Jama Software white paper)

Comparing agile methodologies

Nine Attributes of Truly Agile Teams (Pfister,, 2013)


Talking about Agile

Agile self-assessments

Let’s Stop Discussing Post-Agile: We Still Can’t Agree on Agile (Rothman, 2015)

How is your organization doing? Check out Eliassen’s Enterprise Agility Maturity Matrix.


Team facilitation for scrum masters


12 Awesome Interactive Facilitation Techniques for Agile Teams

11 Ways to be Seen as a Leader at Work (Even if it’s not in Your Title)

Why you need equanimity

Check your empathy with this classic test: Reading the Mind in the Eyes.

The Way I Develop My Coaching Skills (Linders, 2013)

Letting go of Knowing (Cohn, 2015)


Effective team development

Seven Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started out as a ScrumMaster (Vaishnav, 2012)

Giving feedback – A worse than Useless Idea (Berglund, 2015)

Leading a Self-Organizing Team (Cohn, 2014)

Social Capital: The Secret Ingredient That Makes Some Teams Better Than Others (TED, 2015)


Suggested basic agenda:
  • Set the stage:
    • Remind people of the agile principle “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.”
    • Share the prime directive:
  • Gather data:
    • Use any of the formats suggested in the links above. Start-Stop-Continue is classic and a good place to start.
    • If you need to run a retro that includes remote participants, see the “remote retrospective tools” section below
  • Generate insights:
    • Group similar topics and vote on what to discuss (See
  • Decide what to do:
    • As a group, discuss the top-voted items and come up with improvements to try
    • Write these down and check for consensus (thumb vote or see “test for agreement” here:
  • Close the retro:
    • End with a round of appreciations
    • Ask for feedback on how you facilitated (you could suggest categories like “helped, hindered, hypothesis”). Ask people to write this on stickies.
Other resources:
  • Remote Retrospective Tools:
    • Fun Retrospectives (
    • IdeaBoardz – Brainstorm, Retrospect, Collaborate (
    • Realtimeboard – (
    • ScatterSpoke – (
  • Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great by Esther Derby, Diana Larsen
  • Tips for retro leaders:
  • Retrospective Handbook by Patrick Kua
  • Better Retros (
  • Retrospective Wiki (
  • Retromat – Inspiration & plans for (agile) retrospectives (
  • Lean Coffee (
  • Tasty Cupcakes (
  • Gamestorming (
  • Innovation Games (
  • How we do large scale retrospectives (

Working with metrics

Visualizing Agile Projects (Kanban, Niko-niko, Project dashboards, and more)

Big Visible Charts (Ron Jeffries)

Tools of the trade

There are many complete and pricey tools for Agile project management, such as Rally and Version 1 (See this comparison of the top ones). For a small team on a budget, you can sometimes effectively piece together a solution with free online team tools.


Talking about estimation

The Estimation Net (Klimov, 2013)

Your Agile Project Needs a Budget, Not an Estimate (HBR; Madden, 2014)


Understanding and supporting other Agile roles

The DNA of an Innovative Product Owner (Anu Smalley, 2015)

Risk Management in an Agile Context

Active Stakeholder Participation: An Agile Best Practice (Ambler, 2012)

Creating Program Alignment: The Product Wall Release Planning Workshop (Alan Dayley, 2015)

Understanding the Definition of Done (D0D)

Techniques for splitting stories

Batch size does matter (a throughput experiment by Wunderlich, 2015)

What’s an Agile Business Analyst?

Explaining MVPs, MVFs, MMFs via the Lean/Agile Requirements Dinosaur


 The technical side of Agile

Teams starting with Agile usually begin focusing on the processes of Scrum, Kanban, or a similar Agile methodology. Most organizations get good results, but after a while it starts to feel like something is missing. A good next step is to start looking into the technical practices.

When layered into an existing Agile methodology, these technical practices make the overall process easier to follow and can increase the benefits of Agile.


What is DevOps?


Agile testing

How Agile Testing Has Evolved (Agile testing coach and practitioner)

Continuous Delivery

The Quest for Continuous Delivery at Pluralsight (Mike Clement, 2015)


Fun stuff