How we can improve our profession with more reliance on objective evidence, and less on personal opinions

Try this. Open your personal feed on LinkedIn and find the first post that makes claims about Agile or Scrum. You can also check the most recent article on your favorite Agile blog, podcast, or YouTube channel. Now check if the person making the claim also backs it up with evidence that is not based on personal experience, personal preferences, or their own interests.

I sampled 50 recent posts from popular professional platforms (e.g. Serious Scrum, Scrum.org, Agile Alliance, and many others) for this post. I specifically looked for posts that made strong claims about Scrum, Agile or specific practices…


A scientific investigation of ~1.200 Scrum teams to identify core factors and offer evidence-based guidance on how
to support and diagnose Scrum teams

This post is a non-technical version of an academic paper about Scrum teams that I wrote with Daniel Russo. Daniel is a Professor at the University of Aalborg and is specialized in empirical software engineering. I am an organizational psychologist and Scrum practitioner with a love for survey development and statistics. Please note that our paper is currently reviewed by academic peers.

How can you make a Scrum team more effective? Most of the books, podcasts, blog posts, and material that we find online have to do with this question. How do scaling frameworks impact effectiveness? What about Sprint Goals…


What it is and what it isn’t, what the science says, and how high psychological safety probably results in more conflicts

When I was first introduced to the Scrum framework, somewhere between 2007 and 2008, I was struck by how little of the online conversation revolved around the influence of human factors on the success of Scrum teams. This surprised me because I knew from my training as an organizational psychologist that there was a lot to say about human factors. But except for a few pioneers in our industry, only a few people seemed to explore group dynamics, motivation, and — indeed — psychological safety.

Fast-forward to 2021, and everything has changed. These days, everyone and their uncle is talking…


How to answer these questions from customers in a way that makes them understand how Agile benefits them

If there’s one question that puts all those lofty ideas about Agile and Scrum to the test, it is when a customer or manager casually asks: “So, when is it done? And how much will it cost?”. It's also one of the most natural and obvious questions for a customer to ask. Of course, they want to know if you can develop what they ask, and for how much. But at the same time, we know from experience that there is no easy answer.

Product development is full of unpleasant surprises, emergent discoveries, and better ideas that manifest halfway through…


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.

We are all too familiar with dysfunctional meetings. I’m talking about those moments where a group of people gathers to …. do something with their valuable time together. But without a clear purpose, all attention goes to whatever topic is coined first — regardless of how important it really is and how essential it is that…


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…

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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