“I’ve got my certification, but I can’t get a Scrum Master Role…”​ — here’s why…

Things an experienced Scrum Master may well know about. In no particular order, and by no means complete…

  • 10+ different retro formats. But, how, why and when and what for! Facilitation!.
  • Lean coffee
  • A whole bunch of analogies/stories that illustrate agile thinking
  • A whole bunch of games that illustrate agile thinking — usually involving lego… (Check out Agile Simulations for examples of online games)
  • The Coin Game and the marshmallow challenge
  • Techniques to get people engaged in meetings
  • Techniques to stop people dominating meetings
  • Psychoogical safety- what it means, how to recognise it, and how to acheive it in a team
  • Greatness guild
  • Retro warmups, e.g. improv games, truths and lies
  • Modern Agile
  • “Original” agile — manifesto and principles
  • The Agile Onion
  • Scrum values
  • My reading list, obv. :-)
  • Liberating structures
  • Coaching skills
  • Mentoring skills
  • Empathy and EQ
  • Negotiating and persuasion skills
  • XP practices and why they work
  • How to encourage/influence the wider organisation to be more agile
  • A good knowledge of CI/CD
  • What Technical Debt is, why it needs addressing, and when
  • Testing strategies (move testing left, ice cream cone of tests, BDD, TDD etc.)
  • New agile concepts such as #NoEstimates, #NoProjects, etc.
  • Value stream mapping
  • Story mapping
  • Stakeholder mapping
  • Eliminating waste — the 7 wastes of development and how to remove them
  • Why velocity is a dangerous anti-pattern (IMHO…)
  • Metrics and when and how they should be used
  • Kanban and the concepts of flow, WIP limits, swarming, etc.
  • Kaizen, and what that actually means in practice
  • Lean, including Lean UX, etc.
  • Outcomes over outputs
  • The Spotify Health Check (online version)
  • All the cool Spotify stuff — squads and guilds, BIDD bets, etc. (but don’t slavishly copy!)
  • Who the thought leaders etc. are in the field, and what they’ve said/written/posted
  • Corporate Rebels — what they do and the companies they research
  • Standup anti-patterns
  • Reasons why retros fail
  • Handling difficult conversations
  • Invigorating a non-engaged team
  • All the agile frameworks, when to use them, and when to not use any of them but still be agile
  • Gamestorming
  • The Covey matrix
  • The Stacey matrix
  • Cynefin
  • The fable of the roasted pigs (seriously!)
  • Hand luggage, Xmas and other prioritisation techniques
  • The role of a PO, anti-patterns and why they are not the same as PMs or BAs
  • Reasoned arguments for things like why smaller iterations reduce risk
  • Development best practices and what benefits they bring
  • How to recognise a high performing team
  • The stages of team formation, storming, norming, etc.
  • The difference between pigs and chickens
  • Estimation techniques, but also the reasoning behind #noestimates
  • (I’m very loath to say it but) Jira, JQL, etc.
  • Team mission/vision statements and why they are important
  • The other 9,999 thing not on this list that aren’t covered on a 2 day SM course.



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Steve Wells

Steve Wells


Building online versions of agile workshops such as the No Estimates game, to see how close we can get to the face-to-face experience for remote or hybrid teams