Scrum Mastership: Patterns and Practices vs. Principles

Podcast Ep. 115: Scrum Mastership: Patterns and Practices vs. Principles

Scrum Mastership: Patterns and Practices vs. Principles
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Episode Description:

In this episode of the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast, co-hosts Dan Neumann and Sam Falco discuss the topic of filling the role of a Scrum Master. In particular, whether you should follow Scrum practices and patterns as opposed to using the Scrum principles, or vice-versa. They talk about what they see most Scrum Masters doing, some of the common mistakes they may make, how to take an effective approach as Scrum Master, and share some of the lessons they have learned throughout their careers as Scrum Masters themselves.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Key Takeaways

  • Advice for new Scrum Masters/What Scrum Masters should be aware of:
    • Get feedback and act on it — especially when it’s interpersonal feedback
    • Ask: “How can I be serving my team better?”
    • Build support for your team around Scrum (which may be new and uncomfortable to them)
    • The impulse may be to say, “I’m doing this because that is what it says to do in the book,” but that’s not a satisfying answer for anybody
    • If somebody asks, “Why do we have to have a daily Scrum?” Don’t just say it is because “daily” is in the title — instead, ask, “What value are you not getting out of the daily Scrum?”
    • Whenever your team is unsure about why they are doing a particular practice, ask, “Why wasn’t this valuable?” and “How can we get more value out of it?”
    • Getting a Scrum certification from 2006 or 2008 isn’t sufficient; you have to continuously learn and improve as a Scrum Master — new practices are constantly emerging and you have to adapt
    • “Let them fail” can be misconstrued as not giving someone enough support in their role and letting them fail (what it actually means is putting someone in the place to win and giving them the chance to fail)
    • The new Scrum Guide is an amazing resource because it strips away all of the prescriptive practices and is easier for new Scrum Masters to follow
    • Ask: “Is your daily scrum effective at helping you plan so that this won’t happen again?”
    • The Scrum Master has to guide the team in a way that’s not telling them what to do
    • Sometimes as a Scrum Master the best thing you can do is say nothing (which doesn’t mean sitting back and doing nothing; but actively observing, considering, and when your team asks a question, follow it up with another question [i.e. “What do you think you can do?” or “What are some options?” and allow them to figure things out])
    • Don’t give your team answers, this disempowers them; instead, allow them to try something on their own (they may solve the problem in a better way)
    • Even if a team member fails when you allow them to try something their own way, remember: you’re only one sprint away from recovering in Scrum
    • As a Scrum Master, there are times where you may need to step in (i.e. when you know something is going to result in something bad that will cause strife)
    • Upholding Scrum is a part of the Scrum Master’s accountability
    • The one situation in which a Scrum Master absolutely needs to step in is if there is abuse
    • If you feel things have gotten stale as a Scrum Master it is time to broaden your horizons and think about the different ways you can serve your team
    • Continue to learn and explore different options for how to build some excitement and make Agile principles and Scrum values more present
  • Patterns and Practices vs. Principles
    • Doing the practices in an inappropriate way can be harmful and the principles can really illuminate effective ways to do that
    • Patterns and practices are important (but equally as important is building the principles so that you’re doing them effectively at the right times)
    • The pattern is important but you need to understand the principle behind it and why you’re doing it so you can then adapt it
    • As a beginning Scrum Master, it is helpful to follow the practices but if you’re only following the rule because “it says so” or “I say so” it is not a good strategy to push forward with
    • As a Scrum Master, it is your job to help people become effective and figure out what patterns and practices work for them

Mentioned in this Episode:

Transcript [This is an auto-generated transcript and may not be completely accurate in its depiction of the English language or rules of grammar.]

Intro: [00:03] Welcome to Agile Coaches’ Corner by AgileThought. The podcast for practitioners and leaders seeking advice to refine the way they work and pave the path to better outcomes. Now here’s your host, coach, and agile expert, Dan Neumann.

Dan Neumann: [00:17]
I have an exciting opportunity I want to share with you. Coming up on February 25th, we will be hosting a Digital velocity summit. This thought leadership event focused on accelerating innovation is designed for anyone looking to build a state of continuous adaptation, empower their teams to accelerate how they work and deliver value to their organization. With sessions geared for people interested in AI, data analytics, agile, and cultivating innovation in their organization. Our guest panelists and agile thought leaders will share their perspectives. During dynamic discussions. Join us on Thursday, February 25th at 1:00 PM eastern standard time. For this virtual event, you can sign up and learn more at to RSVP today.

Dan Neumann: [01:07]
Welcome to this episode of the Agile Coaches’ Corner. I am a host Dan Neumann here with fellow host, Sam Falco. I always feel a little weird when I’m like, Oh, I’m the host when we’ve obviously gone through this adventure together. So people get stuck with both of us again today.

Sam Falco: [01:23] Yes they do.

Dan Neumann: [01:27]
We had some, some tweeting this week in our general direction.

Sam Falco: [01:30] We had, um, someone who had, was listening to our very first episode from two years ago, tweet about it. And that was, that was pretty cool. Cause I got to jump in and say, Hey, I’d love to hear what you have to say about the subject. And he responded so love getting that reader engagement reader, a reader. What century are you like?

Dan Neumann: [01:54] Like paper reader.

Sam Falco: [01:56] Apparently people don’t do that anymore in the 19th century. Um, wow. Could we start there listeners?

Dan Neumann: [02:08]
We’ll just cut. Well, no, no, we’re just going to keep rolling because it’s that kind of day it early is going to get better, which is awesome. And also would, uh, I have no idea how somebody found the first episode from two years ago, but I do know that reviews on things like Apple podcasts, Google, whatever, um, are helpful when people are looking for podcasts. So I would invite listeners. If you’re still listening after this intro to please leave us, leave us a comment. A positive review would be appreciated at negative reviews, email You know, don’t make it public. Please find, um.

Sam Falco: [02:52] Just an admin, someone coming. This is the first episode they’ve listened to.

Dan Neumann: [02:56] Well, it’s going to be fun that way.

Sam Falco: [02:58] It will get better.

Dan Neumann: [02:59] It will, especially when we get focused on the topic of the day, which is about Scrum masters and kind of filling that role, following practices and patterns, as opposed to really using principles of Scrum as they do their work. Right?

Sam Falco: [03:14] And this is pretty common, especially for brand new Scrum Masters. I know that my initial foray into Scrum Mastership was not great. I, I knew some patterns. I knew some practices and by God we were going to follow them because I didn’t know anything else. And it was a long time before I started discovering while there are other practices, there are reasons for these and they may not apply. And so over time I started looking into, well, why are we doing these things? And I think that’s one of the things I want to talk to talk about today.

Dan Neumann: [03:50] So as you were saying that, sorry, Sam just gave me a, what are you doing? Look, I’m talking about, I had a flashback to 2006 when the organization I was in said, we’re going Scrum two weeks Sprints, that’s your training. Right. And I went and got my agile project management with Scrum book, which if this was a video, you’d see that by Ken Schreiber’s. I don’t know, it’s 150 pages. That was my Scrum training for like the next three years. Yeah. Um, and I was terrible. Yeah.

Sam Falco: [04:22]
I didn’t really even get that. It was, My manager had gone to a Scrum Master training because that was the way the organization that I was working for at the time, did it, managers were going to be Scrum Masters and he came back and thought and said, Hey, I don’t think that a manager should be a Scrum Master. At least not this manager for this team, because we want to shift in the way of thinking. And he asked me to become the Scrum Master. So my training was, he handed me the workbook from his CSM class. And here you go read this. And then he, and I would talk about how I was doing as a Scrum Master based on what he saw, what the team said and that sort of thing. And of course, I very quickly learned that a, an excellent topic for a retrospective was, how am I doing? Am I actually doing you any good and getting some feedback that way? And that gets into one of the primary principles that we need to be aware of, that this is all about getting feedback and acting on it. That especially when it’s interpersonal feedback, it’s not, doesn’t have to be seen as negative just because it’s criticism, criticism can be positive. How could I be serving my team better?

Dan Neumann: [05:40] Yeah. And yes, getting the feedback and acting. And at the same time, some of that feedback, especially to new Scrum teams is time boxes are stupid. Time boxes are wasteful, they suck. Right. And so it’s not necessarily acting on that to remove the time boxes and still call it quote Scrum, because it’s not at that point, but really to think back to the why of the timebox, what is it for? What does it enable? And, um, in helping to teach and educate and, and build support for that thing that is new and uncomfortable.

Sam Falco: [06:14] Right. Because the, the impulse for someone who’s new is to say, that’s what it says in the book. I call it, the Scrum guide says, and that’s not a satisfying, we’ve talked about that before on the show. It’s not a satisfying answer for anybody really. And so things like, why do we have to do a daily Scrum? Why can’t we just do it every other day? And well, an easy answer is because the name of the meeting is daily Scrum. Right? You don’t want to take it a step beyond that, in the name because it’s important to have one time a day when we know we’re going to check in, but maybe even more to that to say, what value are you not getting out of the daily Scrum? And then talk through that. I had an example of that where the team really just did not want to do a daily Scrum and they wanted to check in through Slack. And that way we could do it throughout the day. Was that okay? Well, what happens if someone misses one of those messages? Well, they won’t. Really? And I said, well, go ahead and give that a shot. Let’s see how it goes. And I mean, it was, it wasn’t even two days before someone was completely out of the loop and then aha. So in that case, I actually let go of the practice and part of teaching the team to understand the value of that was to let them not do it for a day or two and watch that there was a, yes, you are getting a benefit out of this and now ask them, how can we get more benefit out of it now that we’ve decided, yes, we do want to do this. What would be valuable about it? Why wasn’t it valuable before? So by not relying specifically on this is the practice. So therefore we have to do it. You get a little more engagement, you get better understanding from people who are being asked to do this, as you said, new thing, that that feels uncomfortable.

Dan Neumann: [08:18] And actually thinking back to the agile project management of the Scrum book, I have a little horrified. It actually, what Scrum was back in 2006, cause I, I went to the daily Scrum part and it’s talking about the chickens stand on the outside and they are not allowed to talk. And I’m like, Oh my God, I was doing it right for the time.

Sam Falco: [08:41] The other thing I hear people say, well, I have a certification and you find out where they got it in 2006 or 2008. And, and there’s nothing wrong with that. My first certification came in 2011 after I’d already been Scrum Mastering for a few years, but you have to keep learning because what you learn today is going to be outdated tomorrow, new additions of the Scrum guide, new practices, new patterns of behavior emerge. And we learn more. I mean, if you learn Scrum in 2008, as I did from reading someone’s workbook, it wasn’t even a guide at that point. And, and that’s all, you know, and someone comes along and says, Hey, we want to do this thing called pair programming or God forbid, mob programming. Well, no, that’s not the way we do things you have to, you have to learn to adapt.

Dan Neumann: [09:35] Yeah. So there’s, um, there’s the continuous learning part. And I love that. I’ve, I’ve had the experience of working with people exactly. In that scenario where you said, Hey, they, they got the CSM some time ago, but they’re using, you know, terms like Ken Schwaber. Right. Pretty smart guy knows a lot about Scrum. That’s what he was saying 15 years ago. Right. Scrum and it’s, I don’t believe Ken Schwaber would have the same perspective today. If you kind of look at the new Scrum guide for 2020.

Sam Falco: [10:03] Right. Right. I mean, even before 2020, there was, I’m trying to think if, if any of the guides, since 2011 had other people even attending the daily Scrum, it’s been four developers. I mean maybe, maybe the earliest one, but certainly in the last couple of cycles, the daily Scrum is just for developers to discuss it is not for other people to attend. And one of the things that we coach for sure is, you know, keep people out of that meeting because they’re just, even if they’re standing on the outside and saying nothing, they’re influencing events where they really don’t need to be.

Dan Neumann: [10:46] I can see how doing the patterns and the practices in a, in an inappropriate way can be harmful and, and where the principals can really illuminate effective ways to do that. Um, one of the things that I’ve been thinking about a little bit more, especially over this last week is that whole concept of, um, you know, let them, let them fail or concepts like that, where somebody isn’t, it can be misconstrued to not give enough support to somebody in the role. Right. So I’ve been watching American football, it’s the playoffs football teams don’t start with, you know, why don’t you, 11 folks go run out on the field. Um, and like you do some stuff and Oh crap, the opponent’s scored. Well, let me teach you something about that. Like, no, like the coach’s job is to put people in a place to win, to show the lineman, how to do the stuff with their hands to hold the guy without getting caught, right. How to throw the ball properly for the quarterback. Um, I don’t know what soccer people learn, just kicking the ball. So it’s not that hard.

Sam Falco: [11:51] I loved that you have taken to saying American Football as you know your audience. Well, I think even beyond that, so speaking from a soccer perspective, the successful coaches I’ve watched, they’re, they’re actually not teaching the players how to do those practices. They are teaching them the principles. They’re looking at strategy. They’re looking at broader types of things. Sure. You might have a situation where, all right, I need to show you the way I want you to do a slide tackle. Uh, maybe at a lower level, but

Dan Neumann: [12:35]
But at some point they weren’t teaching. Sorry. I played against that team when I was, I swear, the coach taught people how to just cleat you. But at some point they were learning like, this is how you dribble. This is how you pass it, the inside of your foot and things like that for they were learning the principles of, uh, uh, uh, whatever the heck defense they play. Right. I don’t want to just knock it. So what’s, what’s the day on and off. So patterns and practices are important learning to do the steps are important and also building the principles so that you’re doing them effectively at the right times.

Sam Falco: [13:17] So another sport ballroom dance, which actually is a competitive sport. My wife and I are dancers. We don’t compete, but you learn patterns of steps when you’re first starting out. That’s you’re not always going to do a box step in the waltz. Exactly. That that way, because very quickly, what your instructor will explain to you is that the purpose of a box step is to move you along the line of dance and around the dance floor, not to stand in one spot and do steps in a square. So this is an example of, we learn the pattern, but we also need to learn the principle behind it. And why, why are we doing this so that we can then adapt it, learn to in this case, you learn to turn the steps so that you can move again, along the line of dance. In theory, I’m terrible at that. I’m terrible at waltz.

Dan Neumann: [14:05] One, two cha-cha-cha. That’s all I remember. My parents got my dance therapy hour. Uh, I had to attend a ballroom dancing class with my parents while I was in high school. How mortifying?

Sam Falco: [14:19] Well, I don’t know.

Dan Neumann: [14:21] It was all old people except for the instructor. So I guess there was there’s that part. Okay. Well, anyway, um, so I do know actually a little bit about dance. Um, no principals, I was just at the learning the practices. So it kind of that the past episode on Shu Ha Ri, right? All of the pattern. Do something else with the pattern. You have to break the rule. Yeah. Sorry. I just totally butchered that. This is, this is karma for me. Not letting you start over at the beginning.

Sam Falco: [14:47] I think it is.

Dan Neumann: [14:52]
But yeah. So, um, so beginning Scrum Masters, a lot of times do follow the practices. Sometimes I think it can be helpful. And other times when it’s the rule, because I read a blog post that said it was the rule, or because I said so, is not a good strategy to push forward with.

Sam Falco: [15:13] And it’s not just the beginning, Scrum Masters. Although I, to, to any beginning Scrum Masters who are listening, you’re going to stumble when you begin. I certainly did. Dan certainly did you get better at it? And uh, you’re always learning, but I think it’s worse when I see it in organizations where Scrum Masters are not given any sort of leeway where they are just, you know, project managers with another name, they are instructed to essentially herd cats. And so your role then becomes making people do the things rather than helping people become effective and figure out what patterns and practices work for them. It’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about the new Scrum guide, because by stripping away all of the prescriptive practices, we now have a situation. Someone coming fresh to this is not going to be, Oh, here’s how I’m supposed to make a daily Scrum happen. Instead okay, we’ve got to have a daily Scrum and the developers run it. So I guess I need to talk to them about the importance of this and let them figure out how to do it. There’s no, here’s how you’re going to do this. So I think there’s a little more freedom there, but that can be disconcerting for people who really need to be told. Here’s how you do it.

Dan Neumann: [16:41] So, so the daily Scrum, the immediately prior version of the Scrum guide had the three questions as an example of one way the daily Scrum be done. And now those three questions, example, which I think a lot of people went, Oh, daily Scrum. I’ll just do those three questions. They didn’t say, Oh, it’s an example I can improvise. Right. Um, and then I think there is still a duty responsibility of the Scrum Master to, uh, maybe help guide the team to what their effective daily Scrum might look like to reflect back or help coach or otherwise facilitate them to the point where they are effective.

Sam Falco: [17:30] Yeah. So questions you might ask after you notice perhaps that two or three sprints in a row, the team has gotten to 80% of the length of the Sprint and all of a sudden there’s a mad scramble to get things done. And maybe then ask is your daily Scrum effective at helping you plan. And so that this won’t happen again. Maybe that’s the problem because often teams will say, Oh, well, the problem is we’re taking too much stuff and we need to not take in so much stuff. And that may be true. Maybe the problem is you’re not coordinating as well as you might. Could you do that? So you want to ask questions that I don’t want to say lead them to an answer, but lead them to think deeply about what they’re doing. I don’t want to spend the whole episode on daily Scrum though.

Dan Neumann: [18:19]
No. Well, it was Sprint reviews, maybe another example. And I’ve found that list of agenda items again, that was in the previous version of the Scrum guide and is now lacking from the Scrum right to be very helpful. Hey, have we, have we talked about what the team was forecasting? Have we shown what the increment was or inspected the increment? It’s not even just the stuff you change. Another past episode on the increment. Um, have we gotten some feedback that’s allowed us to adjust the backlog. I found those questions to be very helpful in, in, especially with new people, let’s make the daily, uh, daily Scrum, let’s make the Sprint review effective. And this is what an effective, complete Sprint review might look like. Yeah, that’s gone now,

Sam Falco: [19:07] But the, the earlier versions are still available. You can always look at that. There’s tons of material out there on this. And I really think that at this point, I can’t imagine there’s a lot of organizations that are coming at this so cold that they’ve never heard anything about how Scrum should work. Well, it’s so ubiquitous that you’re going to pick up some of these things.

Dan Neumann: [19:32] I’ll pick on. There’s a lot of the 2006 Scrum going on. I think their ads. Yeah. Where it’s a demo. We do a demo. We do a demo. Well, there’s the thing that we hang up as fast as we can. Cause it might get awkward. Don’t do that. Like that’s not in line with the principles of an effective Sprint review where you inspect the increment and you respond to feedback.

Sam Falco: [19:55]
Yeah. Yep. I kind of want to circle back though to what we were talking about a little bit ago and you, you raised it, the idea that the Scrum Master has to guide the team, but we have to do this in a way that’s not telling them what to do and the various stances we can take. And this is something we talk about it in the professional Scrum Master class stances that a Scrum Master can take for people who don’t have the benefit of taking a class. They’ve either been handed the role as they walk into an organization, or the company has been doing it for a long time and they just promote somebody into it. May not understand all of the ways that we can coach that we can address a team’s success because sometimes it’s the best thing to do is say nothing. And that doesn’t mean we sit back and not engage, but, um, actively observe and consider. And when they ask a question step in, but even then maybe they’ve asked a question, followed up with another question. What do you think you could do? What are some options and allow them to figure things out. Um, one of the failings that I have had as a Scrum Master, and this was far along in my Scrum Master career, but it didn’t occur to me that I was, I was damaging the team’s ability to solve their own problems as they would come to me with a problem. And I would say, here’s how you solve that. Give them an answer. No, it might’ve been the right answer, but they didn’t have the experience of coming up with it on their own. So that was disempowering for the team. There might have been a better answer that they would have come up with on their own. They might have solved the problem in a different way that was better or better for them. Or even if it wasn’t the best way to solve it, then come at it again and get to a good way of handling something. So sometimes a Scrum Master, the stance is I’m going to just ask you a few questions. I’m gonna let you figure it out. You mentioned earlier, letting someone fail, that feels a little awkward, but in Scrum, we’re only one Sprint away from recovering. So the idea is that we let them take a risk, I think is a better way of saying it. Let them take a risk. Maybe they won’t fail. That’s another thing you see it. Oh, they’re going to fail. Well, maybe they won’t let them, let them try it because maybe they won’t fail.

Dan Neumann: [22:37] And, and that’s um, yeah. And I, and I’m not advocating you put the, I don’t know, you put the baby in a bubble and like, you never let it out of the world or whatever, but it’s, um, I do think that let them fail can sometimes be used as an abdication of any responsibility to make sure the players are ready to play. Yes. So, um, but yeah, uh, I’ve found myself saying more, you know, try it, whatever the it is. What’s if it stinks, we’ll try something else. If it’s great, we’ll try and figure it out and make it greater. But as long as it’s not causing some irreparable harm or putting something at risk, um, in a, in an inappropriate way, I think it’s okay. And like you said, some of these things might work and it’s just, you know, maybe I’ve never tried it that way. There’s nothing wrong with it. Go try it. Right. Yeah.

Sam Falco: [23:32]
That said there are times, as you said, where we do want to step in, um, if we absolutely know, like this is going to be a bad thing because it will cause strife or okay, well maybe then you need to step in. Um, if the team is trying to, I used to hear there’s a lot of what if we want to self-organize away from Scrum. Well, if it’s an effective way that you’re self organizing away from Scrum, that’s fine. But the idea that you will just discard pieces of it without really thinking about it, that’s a time when a Scrum master is to say, let’s think about why you want to do away with the Sprint review for examples, which talking about that, or let’s talk about retrospective.

Dan Neumann: [24:14]
Well a retrospective is a waste of time. We’ve we’ve, you know, it used to be an hour. It was a waste of time. So we made it 30 minutes. Now it’s 15 and it stinks. We should get rid of the retro, but there’s all kinds of stuff to explore in that state. Absolutely.

Sam Falco: [24:28] So let’s, let’s talk about it. So upholding Scrum, I mean, that’s part of the Scrum Master’s accountability, um, in, in the new Scrum guide, we use the term accountability quite a bit to your accountable for your team’s effectiveness. And part of that is making sure they understand how to use Scrum. Well, the, the objective of doing Scrum is never because you want to do Scrum. Although sometimes I’ve seen that they put the objective of Scrum should be because you want to deliver good stuff and Scrum helps you get there if you use it well, but you can misuse a tool and that doesn’t get you where you want to go. Yeah. I dunno. You know, like, uh, 2006, when the big boss said, we’re doing Scrum go, my objective was to do Scrum because I knew that was going to be my performance review. Yes, yes. So that totally did start there. Yeah. I was at an organization where the CTO was a big fan of Scrum. Didn’t really end. He said to me, I don’t know why it works. I just know that it does make sure everybody’s doing it. And what he meant was at the end of a Sprint, he better walk in and see a retrospective that takes exactly 90 minutes. Yeah. Um, that kind of thing. And I was still young enough in my Scrum career that I was fine with that. Okay. I’m going to make them do Scrum. And when the inevitable revolts began to happen, I was like, go talk to the CTO. I, you, you have a problem with it. It’s not going to hurt my feelings. Um, not a great way to handle it.

Dan Neumann: [25:55] And so then exploring the retrospective on, you know, we do want to continue to inspect and adapt. We do wants to improve the retrospective is an important part of that inspection and adaptation. So yeah, if it’s not effective, let’s make it effective as opposed to let’s just skip it and kneecap our ability to improve. Right. Right.

Sam Falco: [26:23] And then another kind of approach or a stance that that’s Scrum Master’s might need to take is, um, well actually I want to say a word about having to step in, there’s only one situation where I would say Scrum Master absolutely has to do something. And that is, if there is abuse going on of some kind. Sad to say, I have been witnessed to some situations where I had to step in because this was psychologically damaging people and you have to do something to protect the people that you are there to serve. If that’s going on. That’s I think rare. I hope it’s rare. I’ve only had that one instance where I had to first go to the senior engineer on the team and say, I know this isn’t in the rule book, but there’s no touching in Scrum. And there was some touching of junior engineers going on and then had to go to HR with that and handle it. But yeah, I’ve been doing this for over 12 years and I’ve only had to handle that once.

Dan Neumann: [27:33]
So thank God that should be exceptionally rare.

Sam Falco: [27:36] Yeah. But I’m saying that’s, that’s a situation, uh, or if there is psychological abuse going on and we need to step in and say, Hey, this is not healthy.

Dan Neumann: [27:45]
I’ve seen, um, you know, I’ve, I’ve seen that. And again, several years and in very few instances, but, you know, managers who kinda, um, inappropriately pushed the team to do things or whatever, just all kinds of you know bad manager, right. The Dilbert boss, but an actual wicked bad Dilbert boss. Not the funny kind.

Sam Falco: [28:07] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So there’s a lot of different stances. A Scrum Master can take. And I think what I’m getting at here for new Scrum Masters, or even Scrum Masters, who’ve been doing it for a while. I feel like that’s gotten kind of stale or they don’t really know why is to broaden your horizons. Think about the different ways you can serve a team. It’s not just about running meetings, making sure that people do them, et cetera, but how can I help my team be effective? And you can always ask the team that question, how can I serve you better? Odds are the first thing they’re going to say is bring us donuts and coffee. Yeah. That’s always the joke spots. Oh yeah. Fetches coffee.

Dan Neumann: [28:58] But I mean all joking aside. Yeah. Um, you don’t have to, you know, take your personal income and feed the team every day or a week or, or month, but it’s not a bad idea to, you know, grab some donuts or maybe the team decides they want to rotate the donut and make the donuts and coffee happen. Yeah. Um, you were saying something and I’ll have to kind of get back into the, the machine at different ways to serve out. Do you have any favorite references on kind of different stances of a Scrum Master?

Sam Falco: [29:28] I can’t think of anything right off the top of my head. That’s like a volume of that. I think that it’s an old book and, but I found it quite valuable when I was beginning my Scrum career, even after Mitch Lacy’s Scrum field guide, I believe it’s the title. And I don’t know, there’s probably some old patterns in there that are not as effective as they could be anymore. But what Lacy does is really give you some things it’s a specifically designed for your first year as a Scrum Master. So I really got a lot out of that book. Um, coaching agile teams is also Ken’s book.

Dan Neumann: [30:10] I know now an audio book I’ve seen, I’ve seen much LinkedIn, um, noise, noise, not bad noise, but audio book now, for those who don’t read papers. Right. So good, there’s a couple of things. People can look out there and I had to just continuing to learn and explore different options for how to get, you know, how to build some excitement and how to better make Scrum values and agile principles more present, I think can go a really long way beyond following the rules.

Sam Falco: [30:43] Yeah. Yeah. I think so, too.

Dan Neumann: [30:45] So actually maybe an invitation circling back, um, if people maybe have some thoughts on patterns versus, you know, patterns only are practices only versus some principles that would be interesting to hear about they can contact us. And that brings us to the point where we go, Hey, what’s on your continuous learning journey these days, Sam.

Sam Falco: [31:09] Well, I have been rereading a book called discover to deliver agile product planning and analysis by Ellen goddess Steiner and Mary Gorman. And I hope I pronounced that right. Um, book was introduced to me a couple of years ago on how you can work with stakeholders to understand what it is they’re, they’re looking for instead of the generate, the big backlog upfront what’s useful to do right now. And it’s a, it’s almost a framework in and of itself for product discovery. And I highly recommend it. It’s it’s worth reading for anybody who’s in a product space. So if you’re a Product Owner, definitely, but if you’re a Scrum master, part of your accountability is to help your Product Owner be better at Product Owner-ing. I’m going to make that a verb now. Um, we, we verbal nouns now

Dan Neumann: [31:59]
How’s that English degree working for you?

Sam Falco: [32:03] It’s working great. But, if you’re a Scrum Master it’s worth reading because it can help you coaching your Product Owner when your Product Owner says, I just cannot figure out how to get the stakeholders to tell me what they want. Oh, well, here’s the discovery method that we might be able to use. So highly recommended

Dan Neumann: [32:21]
That’s that’s great. Yeah, because they might not be telling you because they actually don’t know how to verbalize it or they don’t know yet.

Sam Falco: [32:29] Yes, exactly. Yeah.

Dan Neumann: [32:31] Which is quite likely, well, wonderful. I will, uh, I will, uh, ride the coattails of your learning this week. Until next time.

Outro: [32:51] This has been the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast brought to you by AgileThought. The views, opinions and information expressed in this podcast are solely those of the hosts and the guests, and do not necessarily represent those of AgileThought. Get the show notes and other helpful tips for this episode and other episodes at

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