BONUS: Jeff Campbell shares his favorite Actionable Agile Tools for Scrum Masters

Scrum Masters understand the importance of having many tools for different situations. The quality of our work is often related to the quality of the tools we have in our toolbox and the context in which they work.

In this episode, we review some of Jeff’s favorite Actionable Agile Tools, a book that collects 19 tools and is now available on Amazon in black and white as well as full color. Not to mention Kindle!

A short, practical and inspiring book

Jeff wrote a book with Oikosofy Series where he lists 19 of his favorite tools. He shares why he chose those tools and why it is critical to have several tools in our toolbox.

As Scrum Master we face new situations on a regular basis, if we only have a few tools we can use, we will be often faced with situations where those tools don’t work. The solution is simple, to have several tools ready to be used at any time.

Jeff describes Actionable Agile Tools, as a book that is practical, perfect for Scrum Masters that are getting started and need to enlarge the tools they regularly use at work. The tools are documented to help people in the Shu (of Shu-Ha-Ri) level get started and apply the tools immediately without long, and slow searches on the web for other people’s experiences.

The tools Scrum Masters use, over and over again

When looking at the tools to add to the book, Jeff selected a few tools that he went back to over and over again. From the Tasty Cupcakes to the Door Calendar. These were all tools that Jeff used regularly to facilitate, help teams reach consensus, or resolve conflicts.

As it usually happens, people started asking Jeff for explanations on how to use the tools. Those questions, plus the need to re-use the tools helped Jeff decide to document those tools.

Each tool comes with a set of steps to “reproduce” the use of the tool, as well as other context information and credit to the original creator.

Woody Zuill, creator of MobProgramming is mentioned in this segment, and he is also the author of the foreword to the Actionable Agile Tools book.

Helping others use the tools, the original motivation

When Jeff started documenting the tools he would use, he got a lot of questions. Recently he’s been preparing an “Unconference”, a conference without an agenda. That led to him being asked (again) how to organize one. So he wrote the tool up, and we’ve made it available here: The Actionable Unconference Organizer’s Guide, complete with an Unconference Organizer’s checklist.

What to do when teams “hate” the tool?

No matter how interesting, or good a tool is, there’s invariably a skepticism in many teams. In this segment, we talk about how to help teams adopt tools without imposing.

One of the lessons that Jeff learned when writing and talking about tools with teams was that sometimes teams just need to come up with the tools themselves. In those cases, you should help the teams reflect and come up with their own approach to the problems they face.

And especially: don’t force teams to use tools!

In this segment, we also refer to PopcornFlow, a method to help teams find their own method and tools.

Full-color book? How kitsch!

When Jeff decided to write the book he noticed that many of the tools helped visualize information. He took a lot of photos to document the tools and found that a full-color version is a must for anyone who takes visualization seriously. Oikosofy Series agreed and published a full-color version of Actionable Agile Tools, which is now available on Amazon. In color, black and white as well as Kindle versions!

As Scrum Masters we must always be trying out and learning about new tools for our toolbox, so what are you waiting for? Go get them! 🙂


About Jeff Campbell

Jeff is an Agile Coach who considers the discovery of Agile and Lean to be one of the most defining moments of his life and considers helping others to improve their working life not to simply be a job, but a social responsibility. As an Agile Coach, he has worked with driving Agile transformations in organizations both small and large.

Jeff is also involved in the Agile community and is one of the founding members of Gothenburg Sweden’s largest agile community at 1500+ members, and he also organizes the yearly conference

You can link with Jeff Campbell on LinkedIn and connect with Jeff Campbell on Twitter.