Top 7 Resources for Remote Scrum Masters

We’ve gathered the top resources, i.e. books 📖 , podcasts 🎧 , and articles 📝 , to help Scrum Masters excel when they are remote.

Image of a remote control on a chair with dramatic shadows as the author tries to, and fails, to make a pun

Photo by Loewe Technologies on Unsplash – I only partially apologies for this poor remote pun


 

I’ve spent most of my career in “Agile” either working remotely or working with remote team members or entire teams. I’ve shared thoughts on this as a manager, Scrum Master, and Agile Coach before. With more people than ever working remotely, I thought it was a great time to share my top 7 resources for remote Scrum Masters.

1. 📖 Work Together Anywhere – Lisette Sutherland with Kirsten Kanene-Nelson

This book is one of my favourite books on working remotely. It perfectly captures the complications and complexities of remote work. It’s packed full of well-researched, practical, and actionable tips that you can apply immediately. For remote Scrum Masters, this book will not only improve your remote working abilities, but it will also allow you to help your team improve theirs.

Find out more on Lisette Sutherland’s website.

2. 📖 From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams: Collaborate to Deliver – Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby

The Scrum Guide lists “Causing change that increases the productivity of the Scrum Team” as one of the responsibilities of a Scrum Master. The Scrum Master needs to understand how the change to remote working may affect the team, as well as how to increase productivity. This book will help you understand the chaos that comes with different types of distributed teams. It will also show you what you can try right now to improve your approach to the chaos.

Here’s a universal book link provided by the authors.

3. 📖 The Remote Facilitators Pocket Guide – Kirsten Clacey & Jay-Allen Morris

The newest resource for remote Scrum Masters, this book was released in 2020. It has already cemented a spot on the top of our reading list for new and experienced Scrum Masters. This book combines research from the fields of psychology and neuroscience with playfulness, inclusive design and facilitation. The result is a book full of tips, advice and ready-to-use activities you can start using with your teams immediately.

Learn more at the Remote Coaches website.

4. 📖 Remote: Office Not Required – Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

This book is the oldest resource on this list (published in 2013), but it was essential on my journey as a remote Scrum Master. At the time, the company I was working at was starting to experiment with a more generous working from home policy. This book helped me maximize my productivity as a developer when working from home. It also significantly helped me increase productivity and team happiness in my Scrum Master responsibilities. There are some great tips for collaborating remotely, as well as some critical advice for handling common issues.

You can purchase the book on the Basecamp website.

5. 🎧 Collaboration Superpowers

While not my personal preference for consuming information yet, this list of resources just wouldn’t feel complete without sharing this podcast. It comes highly recommended from many of my fellow remote Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches. Lisette Sutherland hosts this podcast where she interviews a broad range of people who coach, work, or run companies, remotely.

You can subscribe to this podcast using the app of your choice on the Collaboration Superpowers website.

6. 📝 Working Together When We’re Not Together – Google

Part of the Working at Google series, this playbook highlights the research done into what makes a high-performing distributed team at Google. This collection of tips are clear and can be tried out in your teams right away. When creating a team working agreement, this document provides a great set of starting behaviours from which the team can choose.

Find the link to the playbook through this introductory post on by Google’s People Analytics Manager.

7. 📝 The Scrum Master’s Guide to Remote Work – Retrium

Retrium (who make fantastic tools), released this blog that provides an excellent starting point for new remote Scrum Masters. Focussing very much on the building blocks of running Scrum in teams, this post shares detailed steps for facilitating each aspect of the framework. From example questions to ask the team, to simple agendas for each event, this is worth bookmarking if you’re new to the role of Scrum Master.

You can find the link on Retrium’s website.


This list is by no means exhaustive (I could make lists for days). These are the first seven that stood out for me when asked this question recently. What are your go-to resources for remote Scrum Masters?

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