And How Self-Managing Teams Get You There

In the new Scrum Guide, Scrum Teams are no longer described as “self-organizing”, but as “self-managing” instead. This distinction may seem trivial, but it helps understand two essential truths about Scrum that we explore in more detail in this blogpost. The first is how Scrum uses self-organization to act as a lever to make organizations more agile. The second is how Scrum Teams require a high degree of self-management to make this happen.

This blog post is an excerpt from a more lengthy chapter in our book the Zombie Scrum Survival Guide. …


Liberating Structures are a collection of interaction patterns that allow you to unleash and involve everyone in a group — from extroverted to introverted and from leaders to followers. In this series of posts, we show how Liberating Structures can be used with Scrum.

If you get right down to it, organizations are social systems made up of people who are organized into networks. Those networks can be formally defined as teams, working groups, committees, or departments or they can be informal, as groups of colleagues who have lunch together, go for beers after work, or share a hobby. …


And avoid underestimating how complex things are

Liberating Structures are a collection of interaction patterns that allow you to unleash and involve everyone in a group — from extroverted to introverted and from leaders to followers. In this series of posts, we show how Liberating Structures can be used with Scrum.

What approach do you pick when you’re faced with a challenge? Do you try the first solution that comes to mind? Do you make a detailed plan where you specify who does what and when? Or do you ask someone with experience to come up with a solution for you? …


Self-Limiting Beliefs in Scrum and how to deal with them as a Scrum Master

“It’s impossible for our team to be cross-functional” replied someone recently when Barry Overeem and I asked them why they were struggling to create a working Increment every Sprint. It’s just one variation of a common response we often get. Other examples are “We can’t just have one Sprint Goal per Sprint”, “It’s impossible for developers to visit the customer site”, “It’s impossible for us to deploy to production”, “Management will never allow us to self-select teams”.

We understand where this is coming from. When you start to work empirically — e.g. with Scrum — many things can seem impossible…


How group dynamics explain how we often create our own resistance

You can also listen to this blogpost on our podcast.

How do you deal with a team that just doesn’t want to? How do you create movement when people seem to prefer to stay where they are? How do you get people to move along with your exciting ideas, whether this is Scrum, Kanban, some technical practice, or something altogether different?

This really is the penultimate question of change management. And one I’ve struggled with since my earliest experiences in the workplace. As a fresh business informatics graduate, I quickly discovered that the best technical solution wasn’t always cheerfully embraced…


The inherent contradiction of scaling Scrum, and 5 descaling strategies to escape it

At the end of this post (you can also listen to it on our podcast), you will have discovered that:

  • There is an inherent contradiction at the heart of scaling Scrum across many teams for the development of a single product;
  • There is a way out of this contradiction by not scaling up the number of teams, but by scaling down the complexity of a product;
  • Descaling a product is similar to breaking down work on the Product Backlog. Instead of one big product, you have many smaller products around a unifying purpose;
  • Descaling a product increases the ability of…

Now that we’ve turned the ship around, how is that actually working out for us?

In September 2020 we made a drastic decision to turn the ship around for our company, The Liberators. Because of changing ambitions, and urged on by Covid-19, we shifted away from paid training and workshops to product development and community-based work — all with the aim of unleashing more (Scrum) teams all over the world.

A lot happened since then. In this post, we look back on what this means for our company. Because we have collected data from a wide range of metrics since the start of The Liberators, we decided to go metric-first, and use a What, So…


A simple model to better understand why and when something is valuable to your team and its stakeholders (in commercial organizations)

You can also listen to this post in this episode of our podcast

The Scrum framework exists to deliver value to stakeholders sooner. Sounds good, right? But when is something “valuable”? For something that seems so central to Scrum, there is little guidance on what “value” means. And we fear that it remains only a word if there is no meaningful definition for it.

In this post, we offer a more fine-grained approach to understand what “value” means to your product and the items on your Product Backlog, and to start a conversation around that with your team and its…


How our latest feature aims to start more powerful conversations and drive change by including a stakeholder perspective.

With the Scrum Team Survey, you can create transparency with your team around five core questions: Are you building what stakeholders need? Are you shipping fast enough? Are you improve continuously? Do you have the autonomy to organize in the way that works best? And do the outcomes you generate actually add something valuable.


Reconnect the Experience of Leaders and Experts with People Closest to the Challenge at Hand

Liberating Structures are a collection of interaction patterns that allow you to unleash and involve everyone in a group — from extroverted to introverted and from leaders to followers. In this series of posts, we show how Liberating Structures can be used with Scrum.

What happens when your Product Owner takes the stage to click through a huge PowerPoint presentation about the product strategy? Or when you’re at a conference and are listening to a scientist talk about their research for an hour? No matter how interesting the topic is, and how well it is presented, your attention is likely…

Christiaan Verwijs

I liberate teams & organizations from de-humanizing, ineffective ways of organizing work. Passionate developer, organizational psychologist, and Scrum Master.

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