5 Books for a New Scrum Master to Read


Kanban and Scrum – Making the Most of Both – Henrik Kniberg & Mattias Skarin

Any budding Scrum Master will benefit from the tools and techniques described in this book. It’s also free as an e-book, which is nice.
Henrik and Mattias have been Agile coaches for many years. Their shared experience has helped them write a brilliant practical guide to two popular frameworks, Scrum and Kanban. The first half is a fantastic summary of the differences and similarities of the two. It will also challenge you to evaluate the limitations of both. The second half of the book is a case study where the authors walk you through a real life example. They demonstrate how each framework can be used independently and as well as together to help a team deliver more effectively.

50 Quick Ideas to Improve your Retrospectives – Tom Roden & Ben Williams

Many new Scrum Masters quickly run out of fresh ideas for retrospectives. As a result teams can become disengaged and the overall effectiveness of the meeting can drop. This book is part of a series of three “50 Quick Ideas…” books that cover key aspects of Agile processes. Here Tom and Ben give great practical tips for retrospectives for new and experienced Scrum Masters alike. The format makes it easy to dive in and pick up a couple of new ideas as you need but it’s also a well structured read. This follows various aspects of a retro, from preparation to impactful outcomes in a way that would help when you have a specific challenge in your retros.


Scrum Mastery – Geoff Watts

Based on many years of experience, Geoff has created a book that uses real examples to build learnings for both old and new Scrum Masters. Rather than retread the standard Scrum processes Geoff explores the challenges that he as overcome and pulls together some powerful lessons in a number of areas including team engagement, improving the Scrum ceremonies and collaboration. For a new Scrum Master looking to expand their horizons this book will demonstrate some patterns that they will be able to identify in themselves and build upon.

The People’s Scrum – Tobias Mayer

Adventures with Agile are fortunate enough to have Tobias as our trainer for our CSM courses, he also frequently speaks at conferences and events. This book demonstrates that he is an engaging author as he is a trainer and speaker. The People’s Scrum is a collection of blog posts collated over a number of years working with teams around the world. As with Geoff Watts’ book above, this isn’t a by the books example of how to do Scrum. Instead it encourages the reader to be reflective and challenge the status quo of their organisations. Don’t come to this book expecting to learn Scrum, there is a degree of assumed knowledge. If you are looking to go beyond what the guide tells you, to bring about a mindset shift in yourself and your organisation, then you cannot go wrong with this book.


Coaching Agile Teams – Lyssa Adkins

For anyone looking to continue their journey as a Scrum Master this book by Lyssa Adkins has become one of the goto resources. Based on the notion that a Scrum Master role is very much a coaching role. The book is not concerned with the mechanics of Scrum or other Agile practices, instead it explores what it means to be a coach. You will be challenged by reading this to reflect on your own strengths and weaknesses a Scrum Master and Coach. Ultimately the reader will understand that to build a strong Agile team and to be a successful coach they have to focus on the people.

These are just a few books that have helped me along my way. We would love to hear your suggestions, tweet @agileadventures with your favourites.

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