Review: Team Mastery by Geoff Watts

Back in 2013 Geoff Watts published his first book, Scrum Mastery, which looked specifically at the role of the Scrum Master and how, 

“if organisations can create and support great ScrumMasters then those ScrumMasters will foster great teams and create environments that enable these teams to create great products.”

Scrum Mastery, page 17

In Scrum Mastery, Geoff introduced us to the acronym ‘RE-TRAINED’, highlighting the characteristics of a great servant-leader.

R – Resourceful

E – Enabling

T – Tactful

R – Respected

A – Alternative

I – Inspiring

N – Nurturing

E – Empathic

D – Disruptive

This was followed in 2017, when Geoff brought us Product Mastery following comments that,

“There’s no point in being an effective ScrumMaster if the Product Owner doesn’t also know how to do their job.” 

Product Mastery, page 19

Once again Geoff used an acronym to identify that a great Product Owner should be ‘DRIVEN’.

D – Decisive

R – Ruthless

I – Informed

V – Versatile

E – Empowering

N – Negotiable 

Both of these books are supported by physical and electronic ‘Quote’ and ‘Coaching’ cards.

This left one Scrum role still to be addressed – The Development Team. 

Geoff started a Kickstarter campaign in July 2019 in order to support the completion of his trilogy of ‘Mastery’ books. Geoff decided that for ‘Team Mastery’, he did not want to write a traditional book.

As well as asking individuals, teams and organisations to support the delivery of Team Mastery through the pre-publication purchase of the book, there was also the opportunity for some backers to contribute and review the content of the book as it was developed. I feel privileged that I was able to be one of these contributors. Last week I received my copy of Team Mastery and I was impressed by the look, feel and vibrancy of the book. 

Team Mastery by Geoff Watts
Team Mastery by Geoff Watts

In Team Mastery, Geoff identifies that,

“Teams are the key unit of value-delivery within today’s organisations, where the difference between product success and failure is often more dependent upon the engagement of the team than even the quality of the idea.”

Team Mastery, page xiv

Geoff introduces characteristics of a great team, this time utilising the acronym ‘SQUAD’.

S – Self-improvement

Q – Quality

U – Unity

A – Audacity

D – Delivery

Within each section, Geoff uses his tried and tested approach, providing us with real scenarios of the challenges that teams can face and the ways in which they can overcome them. This is backed-up by supporting theory. But there is more! 

Having celebrated the birth of his third child in early 2019, Geoff was introduced to the concept of milestone cards. Geoff was inspired by these and decided to try and incorporate them into the book to support a teams journey to greatness.

This is what makes this book different to any other Agile book that is on the market today. The milestone cards that Geoff has included are referenced as you read through the theory and stories. These cards can be torn from the back of the book to be displayed in a teams work area as a celebration and/or reminder of their progress from good-to-great.

Teams have the option as to how to use this book and milestone cards. They could use them as a prompt, and work towards achieving a specific milestone, before selecting another to try and achieve. Alternatively, they could be used as a review tool to see what progress the team has been making and which milestones may have been met. 

In addition to be able to use the face of the card to monitor the teams progress towards greatness, the back of the card includes additional information about the milestone. Here Geoff details the risks that may be associated with milestone, the rituals that may need to be undertaken and the rewards that could be seen. In addition, there is a QR code, which takes you to a page on Geoff’s website that provides further resources including links to books, articles, blog posts and videos’ about that milestone, providing even more content and context for the reader.

But Geoff didn’t stop there, he has gone even further. On each of the resource pages, Geoff has created an area where readers can provide comments about the milestone, review the resources provided and suggest other/new resources. This ‘community’ is going to allow for continuous improvement even after a milestone has been achieved, allowing for continued continuous improvement.

This is the next ‘must have’ book for anyone working on/with a team, wanting to help make a good team a great team. It is a book that you will go back to again and again. 

Team Mastery is available to pre-order from Geoff’s website,