Four empty desks in an office building during winter
Is it the space or the people?

“To what question is ‘office’ the answer, then?,” I asked the department head. “Social connection,” she said without skipping a beat.

We were in a department-wide workshop to talk about team agreements in the context of hybrid work options.

The answer sounded so confident that I was bowled over. Her…

If you want to help your people understand Scrum, resist the temptation to give them a book — instead, spend time discussing what you all stand to gain from adopting the framework.

Dutch-language chat messages about Scrum books, displayed on the screen of the author’s iPhone, atop a wooden table
“Do you know a good Scrum beginner’s book for my team?” — this message got me thinking

Taking a driver’s ed exam? Better get a book of traffic rules. Want to learn a new language? Don’t forget a grammar book. It makes sense to refer to written-down knowledge if you want to learn to do something new. …

“True leaders” are for cults; Scrum Masters should continue prioritising servant-leadership and leave the labeling to others

Two men talking to each other in the cockpit of a rocket ship, from Paramount Pictures’ 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact
Still from Star Trek: First Contact in which two characters discard pompous labels to focus on getting things done

In describing the Scrum Master, the 2020 Scrum Guide swaps out the term “servant-leader” for the label “true leader”. I think Scrum Masters should stay clear of assigning themselves that new moniker and keep aspiring to servant-leadership. Here’s why.

Small change, big word

The Scrum Guide’s recently-released 2020 edition uses fewer words than its 2017 predecessor. At the same time, it’s become more broadly applicable and less prescriptive. No mean feat.

There is, however, one crucial term that I wish had survived this year’s trimming: the Scrum Master’s servant-leadership has been replaced by…

Graphic of many lines of ‘shaking hands’ emoji

Having previously been exposed to practices of agility through your work, on the pandemic-induced level playing field of distributed collaboration, you have a key advantage: as a PO, developer, analyst, tester, you already know that change is a given, and you’ve got the tools to iteratively deal with it. …

Screenshot of a computer desktop, with a numbered set of application windows to illustrate the facilitator’s POV of a webinar
The facilitator’s POV of a live webinar

What does a live webinar look like from the perspective of the facilitator?

Hosting half a dozen different webinars in rapid succession has allowed me to inspect and adapt my set-up for facilitating live events. I’ve found that the smooth hosting of live webinars benefits greatly from well-arranged desktop space…

Thomas van Zuijlen

Facilitator & Scrum Master

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