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The 3 Scrum Master Delivery "rules"

The people who hire us, don't really care about Scrum or Agile.


The people who are hire us do care about making an impact.


I have learned this the hard way as a veteran contractor who has had over 50+ roles since 2005 in the Scrum & Agile space.


In this short blog I want to share with you my 3 delivery "rules" which have kept me employed for over 20 years across multiple industries.


(by the way I used the term "rules" lightly, as these are the things I hold myself accountable to - you could also label these as "aims")



My Scrum Master Delivery "rules":


  1. I want the business to know when we will deliver on our commitment

  2. I want to help developers estimate without making their life hell

  3. I want to feel confident that I can tangibly demonstrate value as a Scrum Master

(not just the person who runs meetings) who helps delivery improve



Let's quickly explore each of the points above with more detail.


  1. I want the business to know when we will deliver on our commitment


One of the greatest challenges in software delivery is accurately predicting when we will deliver what we've committed to. There are two extremes to this dilemma: one approach is to say 'it will be ready when it's ready,' while the other claims we can perfectly predict the future. Both extremes are risky and inherently flawed when dealing with complex work.


However, there is a middle ground. By leveraging data, we can gain insights into our sprint goals and even project further into the future to anticipate what's possible. The key is understanding which data to capture, how to interpret that data, and then effectively communicate that information back to the business


2. I want to help developers estimate without making their life hell


Many of us come from a time when estimating software projects was based on hours and time. Then, we transitioned to relative sizing and story points, which became the norm for many of us. I, too, advocated for this approach for years. However, ultimately, the business doesn't care about points, and many developers find using and estimating with points to be painful. It can feel like a drag during the planning process.

But there is another way! We can explore different metrics that have less overhead and are grounded in actual science. This boils down to understanding what data to capture and how to leverage it effectively. It's widely acknowledged that the work of Don Reinertsen is game-changing, but it can be quite complex for the average person to grasp."


3. I want to feel confident that I can tangibly demonstrate value as a Scrum Master

(not just the person who runs meetings) who helps delivery improve


Telling people at an interview that you'll be 'running the Scrum events' or 'supporting the team' simply won't cut it, especially in this competitive market! Now, don't get me wrong; Scrum Mastering is fundamentally about building relationships with your team. Behind every problem lies a people problem, so I'm not underplaying the importance of the human element—it truly lies at the core of the job: serving the needs of the people.

However, there's a big 'BUT' here! If we fail to help the team improve their delivery, have we truly succeeded in our role? This is where competency with data becomes crucial. The new Scrum Master isn't just someone who fosters relationships; they also understand how to conduct experiments with data to enhance the team's effectiveness in delivery.

Using techniques like velocity and burn downs, which once had their place, now feel outdated and often lead to more misuse than benefit. We need the right data skills to confidently identify what we aim to learn and change, thus making a significant impact on delivery."





Finding peace of mind in my job


The purpose of these "rules" is to give me clarity and focus on what it is i am trying to do. I hated the feeling of being overwhelmed with where to start as a Scrum Master! Do I help delivery? If so, how? What part of delivery? What data is involved in Delivery? How do I help the team improve on purpose with delivery?





So what can you do about learning how to do the above?


To understand how in greater detail with experienced practitioners leading you towards the techniques you'll need - why don't you join us this June 1st 2024?


Myself & Terrence Joe will be running our 5th data skills workshop for Scrum Masters where we will tackle the above questions. By the time you leave you will feel confident with :


  • Helping the business understand when we will deliver on our commitment

  • Helping developers estimate without making their life hell

  • Gaining self confidence on how to tangibly demonstrate value as a Scrum Master using data


The class will run from 1: 30 pm to 6:30 pm (UK TIME) Saturday June 1st.



For more details, please message me directly on coachjemjelly@gmail.com




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