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Jul 22

10 Best Scrum Books for Ambitious Scrum Masters

Competent Scrum Masters provide immense value to their teams. But it takes a lot of work to become great in this role and to improve your skills, you need comprehensive and verified resources. That’s why we bring you the ten best Scrum books list.

This article contains a wide range of publications: some tackle many topics at once, while others focus on a specific issue, such as user story mapping, validating ideas, or estimating, to name a few. This list was curated with the help of experienced Scrum Masters, and hopefully, it will help you take your knowledge to the next level.

Essential Knowledge

Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum by Mike Cohn

Whether you’re a technical Scrum Master or not, your knowledge of the framework must be top-notch. Succeeding with Agile is one of the best Scrum books both for beginners and experienced Scrum Masters. It contains tips, case studies, and recommendations that Cohn has gathered over decades of experience in Agile.

Read it to find out how to get started in Scrum and overcome the resistance of team members and other people in the organization. Additionally, Succeeding with Agile dives into Scrum roles and technical practices related to individuals working in the framework.

The book discusses creating and leading a self-organizing team. It also provides advice regarding sprints, planning, and more. Cohn’s expertise shines through the pages, and it should help you illuminate a lot of topics.

The Scrum Guide by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland

You might think that The Scrum Guide is only for beginners, but that’s far from the truth. It’s always a good idea to go back to basics, jog your memory, and compare the theory with personal experience.

It’s a document that every Scrum Master has read at least once in their life, and rightfully so. Written and updated by the creators of Scrum, it discusses the most critical parts of the framework concisely.

Aside from the definition and purpose of the framework, it lays out the values, roles, events, and artifacts used in Scrum. It may not be the most exhaustive resource, but if you ever feel you’re getting farther away from Scrum, come back to The Scrum Guide.

Agile Coaching

Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition by Lyssa Adkins

The ability to coach a team is an important responsibility of a Scrum Master. It’s a good idea to have a point of reference to come back to when expanding your capabilities. If you want to get better in this particular area, you simply have to read Coaching Agile Teams.

It offers a broad look into coaching in an Agile environment. In her book, Lyssa Adkins touches on various coaching-related topics, such as:

Coaching Agile Teams main points

It’s a way for Scrum Masters to gain valuable competencies and understand the Agile mindset in a way that allows them to become successful Agile coaches. All of that will lead to empowering your team, which turns into better results for each member.

User Story Mapping

User Story Mapping: Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product by Jeff Patton and Peter Economy

It was Jeff Patton who coined the term user story mapping. His book on the subject is an extensive guide that thoroughly explains the concept and provides advice on mapping user stories correctly. On top of that, it challenges the evolution of user stories and offers a back-to-the-roots approach.

Readers will get to know the benefits of a user story, how to turn feedback into valuable features and prioritize the Backlog to better respond to users’ needs.

User Story Mapping is an incredibly valuable resource for Scrum Masters, but also Product Owners and other team members. Product Owners can revisit the creation of Product Backlog and prioritization techniques, while teams can learn how to present requirements and work on effective solutions. As a result, it should be on everyone’s list of the best Scrum books.

Communication

Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 12 Powerful Tools for Leadership, Coaching, and Life by Marilee Adams

Scrum Masters help facilitate processes and find solutions in the event of any issues. To do that efficiently, it’s essential to ask the right questions. That’s what this entry to the list of the best Scrum Books is all about.

Marilee Adams explores how questions impact the way we think. She also argues that organizational problems often stem from the type of questions being asked. In Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, she shows the readers why that is the case.

Another issue that the book focuses on is how to reframe the questions we ask to get better results. It contains detailed instructions on changing our approach to questions to communicate more clearly and collaborate more effectively.

Cooperation Improvement

The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures: Simple Rules to Unleash A Culture of Innovation by Henri Lipmanowicz and Keith McCandless

Scrum teams should be self-organizing. However, a Scrum Master might need to facilitate better cooperation between members from time to time. In the era of Work from Home, it’s even more important for teams to be engaged, but it’s that much more challenging.

Liberating Structures provides its readers with 33 facilitation techniques that improve engagement. This, in turn, incentivizes team members to cooperate more efficiently, contribute, and produce more. The book describes each technique in detail – how to use them and what pitfalls to avoid. Small teams and company-wide initiatives can apply the solutions found there.

Furthermore, Lipmanowicz and McCandless cite stories from industries worldwide: healthcare, academia, military, and R&D, to name a few. Just like the rest of the best Scrum books listed here, it’s a noteworthy addition to your personal library.

Project Planning and Estimating

Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn

Being able to properly estimate and plan is crucial in any project, regardless of the methodology. If your Scrum team struggles with this area, you might need to step in and offer a different approach.

Agile Estimating and Planning is the right place to look for answers. Cohn’s book focuses on setting the right goals, assessing the complexity, evaluating timeframes, and measuring progress. He explains these issues step-by-step, making it a worthy read for all Scrum Masters, not just the ambitious ones. Here are some of the points discussed in Agile Estimating and Planning:

Agile Estimating and Planning key questions

The use of real-life case studies and examples makes this book even more practical and exciting. Seeing how other companies planned and estimated their projects serves as a source of inspiration.

Validating Ideas

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz

Getting from an idea to a release usually takes a long time. But does it have to? Three ex-employees of Google Ventures have created a method for making quick decisions and testing them in a controlled environment. Check out a quick explanation of the idea in the video below:

 

Sprint gets into the nitty-gritty of implementing this process in other businesses. It briefly breaks down the five-day process – from mapping to testing and everything in between. You will find out how to organize each day, how to assemble the right team and assign roles, and how to approach customers and get valuable feedback during the testing phase.

All in all, it’s an excellent source of inspiration for Scrum Masters to learn how to validate ideas faster. On top of that, it will help you bring actionable increments that meet the customers’ needs.

Scrum in Scale

Large-Scale Scrum: More with LeSS by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde

Originally, Scrum was meant for small development teams, but as time went on, new ideas for large-scale implementations popped up. Craig Larman and Bas Vodde have created a Scrum-based framework for more complex circumstances. It’s called LeSS, which stands for Large-Scale Scrum.

If you’re working in a multi-team environment, this is a book you simply have to read. The founders of LeSS have presented an in-depth guide to implementing the simplicity and flexibility of Scrum in sizable organizations. Large-Scale Scrum: More with LeSS will help you do the following:

Large-Scale Scrum: More with LeSS – main points of the book

Yes, it’s possible to adopt Agile in large organizations. Large-Scale Scrum is your window into making it happen.

Leadership

The Great Scrum Master, The #ScrumMasterWay by Zuzana Šochová

The last of the best Scrum books shown here concerns leadership as a Scrum Master. The Great Scrum Master provides a comprehensive understanding of this vital role. It’s the result of the author’s 15+ years of experience as a developer, manager, and Scrum Master. It delves into the responsibilities, competencies, meta-skills, team-building, implementing change, and much more.

The book also elaborates on the Scrum Master’s State of Mind model. Per Šochová, it “shows Scrum Masters what their day should look like.” The Great Scrum Master lays out how to incorporate the model into your everyday work. Here is a breakdown of what you will get out of this must-read publication:

The Great Scrum Master – what is it about?

About The Author

Content Specialist at BigPicture. Passionate about new technologies, both in hardware and software form, as well as creating educational content that makes complex ideas more understandable.