Agile Mentors Podcast

Agile Mentors Podcast

Practical advice for making agile work in the real world

The Agile Mentors podcast is for agilists of all levels. Whether you’re new to agile and Scrum or have years of experience, listen in to find answers to your questions and new ways to succeed with agile.

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#2: Succeeding in the Scrum Master Role with Mike Cohn

May 25, 2022     35 minutes

Join Mike Cohn and Brian Milner as they discuss the Scrum Master role: its distinctions from project management, Scrum Master responsibilities for team success, and advice for new Scrum Masters.

In this episode, Brian Milner talks with Mike Cohn about the Scrum Master role from the inception of its title to the role it plays in agile today. 

Mike Cohn has trained more than 30,000 Scrum Masters and shares his experience of the challenges he faced early on helping project managers to transition to effective Scrum Masters. 

Brian and Mike discuss the distinction and overlap between traditional project management styles and the servant-leadership role of the Scrum Master. They also talk about how responsible a Scrum Master should be for the success of the project and the success of a team. 

Finally, Brian and Mike share the advice they would give to Scrum Masters who want to be valuable to any team and organization—including those looking to get their first job in this role. 

Listen now to discover: 

02:14 - Why the Scrum Master title was created to help people succeed in this position 

04:54 - Job role, title, or accountabilities? Is one more important for defining someone’s position in a Scrum team? 

07:41 - The key differences between a project manager and Scrum Master

08:43 - How responsible should a Scrum Master be for the success of a project? 

13:21 - Facilitator or leader? How not to fade into the background

17:46 - How to deal with people in power who make bad agile decisions 

22:06 - Continuous improvement doesn’t mean you should play it safe

26:34 - How do you know when you’re ready to break the rules to be a successful Scrum Master?

27:06 - No experience and looking for your first job? What to do (and not do) to improve your resume

Listen next time when we’ll be discussing… 

The product owner role with guest co-host Lance Dacy. You’ll learn what it takes to be a great product owner as well as common misunderstandings people have about the role. 

References and resources mentioned in the show

Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch

Kaizen approach for continuous improvement

Lyssa Adkins Coaching Stances

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This episode’s presenters are: 

Brian Milner is SVP of coaching and training at Mountain Goat Software. He’s passionate about making a difference in people’s day-to-day work, influenced by his own experience of transitioning to Scrum and seeing improvements in work/life balance, honesty, respect, and the quality of work. 

Mike Cohn is co-founder of the Scrum Alliance, and founder of Mountain Goat Software. He’s a veteran of applying Scrum and agile principles and practices to help organizations build better products, and ship them on time.

Show edited by Rhett Gill.