image: © Thanakrit Gu (CC BY-ND)

Scrum Mastery - cover

In Scrum Mastery, from Good to Great Servant Leadership, Geoff Watts shares stories and insights on what it means to truly embrace the principles of servant leadership and help your team to perform at their highest level possible. This book is a must-read for all Scrum Masters who want to contribute more to their teams than a “smoothly running Scrum process” and some impediment removal.

Geoff uses the RE-TRAINED acronym to identify the characteristics important to great Scrum Masters:

  • Resourceful
  • Enabling
  • Tactful
  • Respected
  • Alternative
  • Inspiring
  • Nurturing
  • Empathic
  • Disruptive

For each of these characteristics, Geoff describes why the characteristic is important, how it comes to play and how he has seen it come to play. For each of the RE-TRAINED characteristics, he comes up with several gems like this:

A good Scrum Master will be indispensable to a team.

A great Scrum Master will become both dispensable and wanted.

Geoff Watts, Scrum Mastery: From Good to Great Servant Leadership

The book contains some twenty or so comparisons. Reading all of them was really inspiring on where I can go as a Scrum Master. I’d like to be great … but at this stage I’m merely good. Very good but definitely not great :)

What does it take for me to be great? What makes a great Scrum Master? Is there a book on that subject?

My three take-aways:

What makes a great servant leader

[Great servant leaders] are highly ambitious, but not for themselves; instead they want their organizations to excel. They build successors rather than try to set people up to fail to make themselves look good.

Geoff Watts, Scrum Mastery: From Good to Great Servant Leadership

On sharing opinions as a Scrum Master

A good Scrum Master is wary of influencing the team. A great Scrum Master can act normally and knows that the team will still make their own decisions.

Geoff Watts, Scrum Mastery: From Good to Great Servant Leadership

I referred to this quote in my 2015 Scrum Master evaluation with respect to helping the team with technical practices; it really struck a chord with me.

From good to great

I’m thinking of writing a page on my journey to great Scrum Mastery; for instance by taking the good-great comparisons in this book and the Characteristics of a Great Scrum Master post by Barry Overeem and collecting evidence of my good and great Scrum Mastery. I’ll let this sink in a bit, will be continued.


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