My life of Scrum (did not start with Scrum)

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Scrum turns 25 in October 2020. Hip hip hooray!

It is a good opportunity to share a few highlights from the past 17 years of my life as an independent Scrum Caretaker — of “My life of Scrum” (since 2003).

September 2003. The founding managers of our company ask me to have a look at the challenge of delivering the (Java-based) core server platform for a large digital television implementation (one of the first in Europe at a bigger scale). Due to longer negotiations and delayed sign-offs, the project is already late before the real work has even started. Two software architects give me a 15-minutes introduction of eXtreme Programming. I fall for it. Completely. The urgency and feeling of crisis is also such that we are allowed to start applying it. We throw away all existing plans, create an ordered pile of User Stories, get together a great gang of developers, and go to work in iterations of 3 weeks. We apply eXtreme Programming all the way. Later, we add Scrum to our approach. Scrum cannot be applied effectively without clear and agreed development practices and standards in place.

May 2004. I attend a CSM class (“Certified ScrumMaster”) by Ken Schwaber. It turns out the first CSM class in the region (Belgium, Netherlands). We join with five people from our organization. There are 25 people in total. We need to pay in cash. In my memory it was a three-days class. Although that is said to be impossible, in my memory it still is. I am not to be trusted in such things

Already then I didn’t care about titles, positions, certifications, career. So, I don’t keep up with all the certifications being created. I just practice Scrum with different teams, in different domains, for the next seven years.

December 2011. I attend a PSM class (“Professional Scrum Master”) by Ken Schwaber as a step to obtain a license as a Professional Scrum Trainer. I also start working full-time in the Netherlands: helping, assisting, coaching, guiding, and advising large organizations on their journey of adopting Scrum. I could not have done so without the seven years of practice that preceded this phase of my professional life. I would have not had the firm foundation to stand my ground. Some things take time.

More dots get connected as I engage in a partnership with Ken and from 2013–2016 and as I continue my journey afterwards as an independent Scrum Caretaker.

My life of Scrum did not start with Scrum. I’m not too sure it will end with Scrum either.

Originally published at on October 25, 2020.

Written by

Ullizee. The Illusion of Ulysses by the Sea. Love, books, music, family. Independent Scrum Caretaker. Author of “Scrum - A Pocket Guide”.

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