Don’t worry, we don’t assume you’re an idiot. We just know that being a Scrum Master isn’t always the easiest of jobs, especially when you’re a doe-eyed Scrum Master fresh off the Scrum certification train. So, to make life easier we put together crucial Scrum tools that will help you look like the conquering hero of product development rather than a Scrum jester dancing around pretending to know what you’re talking about… no offense.
Software Scrum Tools
When it comes to becoming an effective Scrum Master, using the right project management platform can be a powerful productivity multiplier. Part of that is ensuring it’s easy to use– no one should spend weeks trying to figure out how to use a tool meant to make things less complicated.
While every platform will have its own set of strengths and weaknesses, it’s more important to consider the characteristics of your team. What’s the size of your organization? What’s the size of your budget? What features do you truly need the most? Don’t just choose the solution with the most integrations or accolades. Bottom line: Pick the platform that complements your team.
- Jira. As the most widely used cloud-based Scrum software, Jira comes packed with integrations. While it’s not quite as customizable as some competitors, reasonable pricing and a balanced feature set makes Jira a high-quality pick for teams of all sizes. The downside is that it is complex making a seamless adoption more difficult.
- Trello. An emerging favorite for smaller teams, Trello offers a simplified interface for task management, making it super easy to hit the ground running. As long as your integration needs are basic and your project is relatively simple, Trello is a solid choice.
- Google Workspace. Formerly known as G Suite, Google’s project platform is highly complementary for Google tools like Gmail and Drive. However, while web-native tools are flexible, they don’t always play well with desktop rivals like Microsoft Office.
- monday.com. Thanks to a modern UI, customizable project templates, and built-in automation flows, monday.com excels in collaborative, project-driven environments. However, there’s no free tier for smaller teams, and pricing can quickly become complex.
- VersionOne. With aggregated project dashboards, multi-dimensional visualizations, and tons of collaborative features, VersionOne is great for managing agile at scale. Still, an abundance of features can be a double-edged sword— it’s easy to get lost in the weeds.
Don’t Be Overzealous. No, Seriously.
Before you go elbow deep in trying to understand how a tool works, try to take the 30,000-foot view. Rather than rushing to pick a platform that will work with Scrum, use the Toyota philosophy— figure out how you’re going to work first, then find a tool that supports that goal.
When it comes to picking a project management platform, it’s easy to go overboard. Whether it’s due to exaggerated marketing or a simple lack of understanding, many business leaders end up buying overpriced tools they don’t need. For example, while Jira is an enormously popular platform, it has a ton of complex features that can also drag you down a hole (especially if you’re a new user). Instead, start simply, and equip your team to handle the basics.
Physical Scrum Tools
Read through any community forum, and you’ll notice that many Scrum Masters will enthusiastically refer to their two favorite Scrum tools as their “eyes and ears.” While this suggestion feels a tad kindergarten’esque’, it’s worth noting that this really is an important part of being a Scrum Master. Being present, using your senses, and responding to changes in your environment are all core to being agile. With that said, there are also a few physical items that fellow Scrum Masters find useful– and shockingly, it’s not post-its.
Sometimes it helps to be visual when collaborating and brainstorming with your team. From mobile magnetic whiteboards to rolls of adhesive flipchart film, these solutions allow you to transform any workspace into the perfect Scrum setting, particularly when conducting a workshop or presentation.
Don’t be the expert that shows up to discuss the complexities of product development but can’t figure out how to get the screen to work. From display adapters, to HDMI extenders, to back-up battery packs— you never know what kind of technology trouble you’ll run into, so bring it all. Presenting somewhere new? Touch base with IT to ensure you’re prepared.
It should go without saying that if there is a room of 10 people do not plug in a speaker like you’re about to do an acoustic rendition of Only the Good Die Young. But, if there is a room of 50 people, having a Bluetooth speaker to set up can be crucial. Again, note that we said a Bluetooth speaker. Get rid of the antiquated giant speaker with a plug-in mic set up. Invest in something small, portable, and easy-to-use.
The Ultimate Scrum Tool
No matter your background, knowledge is the best tool out there. Knowledge of Scrum, knowledge of empiricism, knowledge of the true meaning of agile. Knowledge of maintaining motivation and communication within your team. Knowledge of how to lead without micromanaging. Some of this knowledge comes from study and research. Other knowledge takes hours of effort and experience. With each new bit of information, your ability to perform as a Scrum Master grows, giving your team an edge no other tool possibly could.
Partners like Responsive Advisors offer in-depth training programs, providing your team with the resources and coaching they need to adopt more agile ways of working. After all, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” way to implement Scrum. Training needs to be tailored to the needs and objectives of each organization, and all agile initiatives should be aligned with company and employee goals.
With Responsive Advisors, you won’t just be prepared to earn new Scrum certifications— you’ll be equipped to proactively practice agile in the real world and you won’t have to wear a suit to do it.