Sunday, October 24, 2021

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The ScrumMaster IS NOT an Agile Coach !

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2010/03/30

Agile Coach vs ScrumMaster: it is sometimes a bit blurry … probably because the ScrumMaster acts sometimes as an agile coach, using coaching techniques and probably because the Agile coach is sometimes asked to play the role of ScrumMaster in Scrum projects.

But according to me: « The ScrumMaster is not an Agile Coach » … here are some elements of comparison:



Mission High variability. Never the same.

For a person and / or a Team and /or an Organization

A strong clarification of the objectives and a precise analysis of the context are required.

For this journey toward agility, concrete and measurable result should be defined.

Little variability. Often the same

For the team

Objectives are usually unambiguous, related to a well defined role description:
– Ensuring that the team is fully functional and productive,
– Ensuring that  the Scrum process is followed in terms of values, practices and rules
– Enabling close collaboration
– Protecting the team,
– Removing Impediments

Scope Agility (broader) and Change Scrum
Link with the Project The agile coach is not involved in the project (independent) The ScrumMaster is involved in the project
Link with the team Not part of the team

Does not protect the team

With the team daily

Protects the team

Activity – Presence Variable and not continuous depending on the context and needs. Stronger presence at the beginning of the mission, less thereafter. The Coach is looking for the autonomy of his client … Continuous. Throughout the project period.
Training Trained in methods, roles and Agile practices.

Trained in coaching (certified or not)

Good knowledge of IT projects life cycles, roles, actors and activities

Basic knowledge of psychology

Trained in the role of ScrumMaster (certified or not)
Experience in agility (depth … Years of experience.) Required Not necessary
Experience in agility (width … Implementation in various contexts, with multiple teams) Required Not necessary
Acts as a Trainer + + + No
Acts as a Facilitator + + + + +
Acts as a Mentor + + + +
Acts as a Coach + + + +
Acts as a Consultant + No
Is the agent of change + + + +

Scale: +++ (Yes Very Much) ; ++ (Yes Much) ; + (Yes Little) ; No

It’s my Vision, what’s yours ?

The prioritized backlog … and Santa Claus!

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2009/11/13

Christmas is coming and kids know it. This is what happened to me last weekend …

My kids « Dad … Dad for Christmas … can we play the sticky notes game  »
Me: « Okay kids, but this time we’re going to change the rules »

In one year, I had the time to improve the process  🙂 even if the constraints are almost the same:

  • Santa Claus is very busy
  • His sledge is not expandable
  • The deadlines are tight
  • The delivery date cannot be moved

In addition, my kids as good Product Owners have understood two important things making them realize the importance of priorities:

  • You cannot have everything (even if you always want more),
  • Being good (or not) can potentially impact on what you’d receive

Scrum / XP from … Home!

Or how we set priorities to write the letter to Santa Claus 🙂

Step1 : Brainstorming, data collection and workshops
Passionate reading for weeks, intensive research from several sources, and interviews with the little brother to finally cut in the magazines the images of the toys they like


Step 2: Backlog Initialization
The images are cut. In case of several kids, ask them to place their images in an envelope. Use one envelope by child then one image by sticky note. The backlog is initiated.


Step 3: Backlog Prioritization
Notes are laid on the ground. Ask the kids to rank in order of preference by placing on the top toys they want most, the most important to them…

… ..



Step 4: Backlog Display
Notes are now prioritized on the ground. We had to find a wall or a door to display them vertically (visual management …).

My daughter’s wall (not very reasonable):


My son’s wall (moderate …)


Retrospective: We had a good time and kids were very happy !

My wife and I’ll take care of the estimation (points/ euros) 🙂