Feels weird, reading this title, right? For most people, it’s an awful experience. Without (professional) help, it’s potentially permanently damaging. It’s a massive energy drainer. It breaks one’s spirit. Or maybe it’s already broken at that point. But to me personally, it has been tremendously useful.

TL;DR: burning out forced me to have a good hard look at myself and rediscover what I really want to do in life. I’ve always been focused on the wrong things, like status and high paychecks. I found out what is my spark, that thing that gives me energy, and what it tells me…

John used to work in this dreadful, boring environment, where he felt he didn’t matter. People were numbers, being thrown around and even called “resources”. Each day felt like a drag. Every morning John woke up and with all the courage he could muster, he poured his last bit of energy into his job. Only to return home absolutely worn out. No more!

One day he came across an elite team. A thriving team nailing their goals and always supporting each other. They were like a family. “If one man fails, we all fail. We do not assign blame, we…

January. Time for the annual review. A moment for discussion and reflection on last year’s plan. Maybe some appraisal here and there. Reflection is good, right? I mean, in Scrum we almost preach about inspection and adaptation.

So I felt I performed well last year. Reeled in my own assignment, finished the Disruptive Strategy course from Harvard, started a podcast series on business agility (available on all the big platforms). Did some really cool things. And then it struck me: none of these were part of my year plan. The same thing can happen to my colleagues, as they have…

Something that I’ve heard quite often (and said myself) is that as a Scrum Master, we’d like to make ourselves redundant to the team as quickly as possible. But what if the Scrum Team reaches a state where they are able to spread their wings and no longer need us?

I’m currently working with a team that reaches their goals every Sprint, without needing me to exert much effort or spend a lot of time with them. But what should I do next? Am I going to sit still, arms crossed, and waiting for work to just fly by? …

“When is the product done?” A frequently asked question to any Product Owner. The very short answer to this question; it never is. There will always be something to do. But here’s the thing; when I ask questions like “what does the Product Vision look like” to the Product Owners I’ve worked with, they can immediately shout it out. Like it’s at the tip of their tongue, waiting for someone to ask that question. And that’s awesome!

It becomes eerily quiet though when I ask how stakeholders can understand what our progress is toward the Vision and what still needs…

As I mentioned in a previous article, self-management does not come overnight. All too often I see organizations adopting *insert random agile framework* and telling teams that they are now self-managing. Not really guiding them from one state to the other. I’ve used the metaphor of teaching your kid to ride a bike when being a Scrum Master. Now imagine you being the kid. Your mom buys you a brand new bike. Awesome!!

And then she says: “From now on, you’re going to ride this awesome bike by yourself. Enjoy, son!” … Ah, damn. Now what?! How am I supposed…

The Scrum Master is the shepherd of the Scrum framework. To serve the Product Owner, the Developers as well as the wider organization and stakeholders. In many organizations, the Scrum Master acts as a confidant with whom you can share your personal thoughts. And I like that. I appreciate it. It really allows for a coaching relationship to form.

Having someone to vent your frustrations with, to share your concerns, to help you share feedback with peers is invaluable to keep a clear mind. A clear mind, in turn, provides the ability to flourish and create value (you know, as…

“Scrum Masters are true leaders”. A small part of the 2020 Scrum Guide. True leaders. What does that even mean, anyway? I saw this nice post by Simon Sinek on LinkedIn the other day:

Two things that I took away from this post:

  • Simon Sinek’s posts get a crapton of likes no matter what he posts
  • “Leadership is taking care of those in your charge”

I’m not going to say Scrum Masters are in charge of the Scrum Team, because they most definitely are not. But it did trigger me to think deeper about that. What does “taking care” mean…

Being a Scrum Master requires quite some versatility. Having a thorough knowledge of the framework itself, understanding stakeholders and teaching about business agility, supporting the Product Owner, and much more.

Coaching? Teaching? Managing? Facilitating? I often see Scrum Masters limiting themselves to running the Scrum events and that’s it. It will definitely help, but it only gets you so far. Just going through the motion is not going to help you to reap the benefits of embracing an agile mindset. There are so many aspects to Scrum Mastership. But the most important skill in my experience is empathy. …

I know, this has been a debate that is going on forever. At least, that’s how I feel. The market has created a seemingly artificial distinction where the Agile Coach acts compared to the Scrum Master. The Agile Coach appears to be higher in the hierarchy compared to the Scrum Master role.

I’ll be frank with you, if you’d look at our corporate website, it says I’m an Agile Coach/Scrum Master, whereas in practice I am “just” a Scrum Master. And as a Scrum Master, I’m doing the same job the organization would expect of an Agile Coach, mostly. In…

Sander Dur

Scrum Mastering from the Trenches. Podcast host at “Mastering Agility”, available on all big platforms. LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/sanderdur

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