April 23, 2014

Agile Coaching Blog

Scrum is a Silver WHAT and you want to put it WHERE?

I really enjoy leading public CSM classes. The intensity and focus the participants bring is a blast of pure, cool, oxygen that invigorates me.

For example, the most recent class was very intense with the team asking me some really hard and crucial questions.  Then they dropped the bomb. “Hey Mike, you act like Scrum is a Silver Bullet.” Arghhh! I HATE THAT. I don’t know how many times people get that impression and how many times I have repeated the litany, “Scrum doesn’t solve anything it shows you what is happening in your organization”.  Well not this time. What jumped from my lips was “Scrum is Not a silver bullet, Scrum is a silver mirror!”.

The next day, one of the class members reported out that my ‘catch phrase’ had really worked.

Huh? The class was right behind me in asking for an explanation.

It seems he left the class last night and went back to work (we are such a bunch of OCD wonks) where is boss was talking about Scrum not being the Silver bullet he, the boss, had expected. Our teammate then popped the phrase “Scrum is Not a silver bullet, it is a silver mirror!”. This stopped the boss in his tracks as he realized that Scrum was just that, a high definition reflection of all the things that were actually going on. And if memory serves the attendee went on to say the conversation went from Scrum not meeting expectations to what was coming off the mirror.

The class, being a great one, started kicking this around. One of the comments emerged from someone saying “Talk to the hand” and became “talk to the silver mirror in my hand”.

Maybe a good ScrumMaster is a person who can have people talk to the mirror in their hand.

About Mike Dwyer Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a Principal Agile Coach at BigVisible Solutions working with IT organizations as they adopt Agile and Lean methods. He has extensive experience as a manager, coach, and consultant transforming high growth organizations into hyper-productive Agile organizations. Having held senior positions in healthcare, professional services, manufacturing, and Product Management, Mike brings over 20 years experience managing all areas of software development, quality, operations, and support. He is a well-known and respected contributor to the Scrum, agile, and Lean software community as well as a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST).


  1. Silver mirror – I love it. True Scrum won’t fix things but it sure can make living with broken stuff more obviously unnecessary.

  2. Carlos Monroy says:

    This proposal to avoid expecting silver bullets in Software Development has been proposed since 1975 by Brooks in “The mythical Man-Moth”, and still up to today is sad to realize that non-technical people, as managers and stakeholders, still have this misconception.


  1. [...] colleague Mike Dwyer refers to Scrum as a Silver Mirror. By this he means that, while it won’t solve all your problems like a mythical silver bullet, [...]