Posted in Library

‘The First 90 Days’ Book Review

Commuter Read

The book provides support and actionable methods for a leader starting a new position, enabling them to effectively reach their break-even point where the business’ investment in them is realised. 

Anyone in a leadership position starting with a new team, whether this is from an internal transfer or external hire, should add this book to their wish list. In terms of Scrum roles, the Scrum Master is the most relevant role, being accountable for Scrum. The Product Owner would also however be able to glean support with regards to learning quickly and stakeholder management. 

As the book is a little more demanding on cognitive processing, I’d probably say it is a good commute read. Although I found some things are handy to note down, the theory is not difficult or complex to follow through so it doesn’t require silent study. 

It doesn’t sound like a Scrum book…

The target customer for this book is not a Scrum Master. It is more directed at people in C-level positions with responsibilities concerning hiring and firing people and leading a department. Sure a Scrum Master could be doing this, but I don’t think the ruthless way described in the book would be conducive to building trust in the team. 

So why is it worth a read?

What can be valuable though is how to create a learning plan for starting with a new team, and how to enact change once you have started. The structure is clearly laid out for the reader with tangible lessons and exercises to take away and use for your own onboarding into a new team. 

One of the stand out chapters for Scrum Masters is Chapter Two, Accelerate Your Learning. It discusses the initial approach that can be taken to learning as a new leader, then walks through templates of questions and learning approaches. All of which equips you with the ability to create your own Learning Agenda, ready to maximise your first weeks. A must for any Scrum Master starting with a new team! Most of the questions are completely relevant too so don’t even need adaptation. 

Once you have started in the team, the book then offers further support in conversations with your stakeholders to understand their expectations of you in your role and how best to communicate with each other. Gaining the support of your boss and understanding what they see as success is a task that I often fail to prioritise correctly, and I’m sure many others do too. Highlighting how this can be achieved and giving confidence in what to do is a valuable lesson. 

Further chapters cover creating change in your organisation, and checking in with yourself for a good bit of inspect and adapt. Again, these chapters are a much needed resource for a leader creating change within an organisation as any Scrum Master will require.

Is it for all Scrum Masters?

Overall if you have just become a Scrum Master, I probably wouldn’t be recommending this book as one of your first. But once you have found your feet with the Scrum Theory and the responsibilities and accountabilities your role comes with, I can’t see how this book wouldn’t add value. From newbie Scrum Master all the way up to Scrum behemoth, everyone can learn something. 


  1. Header image from Book Summary at


New Scrum Master

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