👋 My name is Willem-Jan Ageling. I coach teams to create high-value products in complex environments. I am the co-owner of and writer for Serious Scrum. I currently work as a Senior Agile Coach at Worldline.

✔️Together with Sjoerd Nijland, I founded the independent community Serious Scrum. With Sjoerd and Maarten Dalmijn, I saw the need to be free from constraints of the latest version of the Scrum Guide. This is why we created the Serious Scrum Playbook, which is our baseline to discuss Scrum.

As an Agile coach, I help people, teams and leaders from Worldline to create high-value…


It’s about creating valuable products

Every once in a while, I have an interesting conversation with a software developer of a Scrum Team struggling with interruptions. Here’s a striking example:

“I kind of liked the old times better, when we were able to simply do our work and code. Nowadays I have to go to all these Scrum meetings. They are disastrous for my flow. Just let me code.”

“You mean when we used to work in projects with detailed long-term plans?”

“Yes. There were months with hardly any meetings. I would sink my teeth in a topic and code along. I could tap into…


To become a Scrum Master, this is what you need to master

Several years ago, I was looking for a new job. I had worked as a Project Manager on IT infrastructure projects for a while. It was not my cup of tea and I wanted to return to software development.

To strengthen my position in the job market, I looked at what was in high demand. I swiftly stumbled upon Scrum. Everyone used it. I realized I would not find a job in the software industry without knowing about Scrum. …


And recognize it as the pivotal event it is

Many people struggle with the Sprint Review. I already knew this from experience, but my recent poll on LinkedIn clarified it again. I asked what people found the most important event in Scrum. From 861 respondents, more than 50% choose the Retrospective. But more surprisingly, the Sprint Review got the lowest score.

My LinkedIn poll

Often the reason for this low praise is that either the Scrum Team or the stakeholders don’t understand its purpose. For example, many see the Sprint Review as a demo only. By limiting it to this, you are bound to alienate the people you wish to align with…


Here’s what you should address

Scrum might not work for you. That’s perfectly fine. It is not for everyone. For starters, Scrum exists to create value in complex product environments. Your environment isn’t complex? Then Scrum may not be suited for you.

On top of that, Scrum is built around a team and its stakeholders. Don’t you work with a team? Don’t you have stakeholders? Then again, Scrum may not be for you.

These are three reasons why Scrum may not work for you. There could be other reasons. But let’s not aim to be complete. That’s an impossible objective.

Whatever your reason is to…


Self-management doesn’t only come with rights, but also with responsibilities

“I’m sorry, but what you ask for isn’t Agile.”

Harry can’t believe what he just heard. “What? What do you mean?”

Angela shakes her head and sighs. She hates this part of her Scrum Master role. Another manager who doesn't seem to understand. Scrum is supposed to be simple!

“You want to know when we will finish the MVP. Well, it will take longer than a Sprint. It’s bigger than a Sprint. So we don’t know when it will be done. We don’t plan beyond a Sprint. That’s not how Scrum works.”

“But don’t you have an indication? A rough…


Save the Scrum Master!

When you ask people what comes to mind first when they think about Scrum, they often mention the Scrum Master. Many believe the Scrum Master embodies the framework. Without a Scrum Master, there’d be no Scrum.

It also shows when you look at the number of people who have a Scrum Master certification. Around a million of them are Certified Scrum Master or Professional Scrum Master. This is more than four times higher than the number of people with Product Owner certifications. Granted, the Product Owner accountability wasn’t as completely new as the Scrum Master. There was less to discover…


And does it put teams against their leaders?

Scrum. Everyone knows it. Everyone uses it. But for many, Scrum doesn’t deliver what it promises. My fellow Serious Scrum writer Maarten Dalmijn states he never saw a team that nailed Scrum. I saw a few. And they were thriving. But I have seen far more teams struggling.

I believe the problem is that Scrum is very difficult to understand. On the surface, it seems straightforward. You introduce some roles, work in Sprints, dailies, reviews and retros and you do Scrum.

In reality, Scrum is disruptive. The misconception that it’s easy leads to false expectations and disappointments. …


And transformed from problem child to best in class

There aren’t that many articles that tell a true story of how Scrum helped to bring value. This is why I decided to write this article. It is a tad long and may not have many twists and turns. But it is an account of how we succeeded to solve one of our major problems. I hope you enjoy it and it may be of help.

My company is a financial institution facilitating online payments. Daily we process millions of them. It is critical to be able to prove our payment processing is secure and we prevent criminal misuse of…


Are You Serious? — Episode 71

The ‘Are you Serious’ series tackles Scrum misconceptions. All its articles have this theme and can be read on their own.

I have to get something off my chest. Lately, I’ve seen people dismissing Scrum for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes I understand them, sometimes I don’t. There’s a reason for dismissing Scrum I particularly don’t like. It is painting it as a framework that doesn’t have an answer to product management challenges.

The argument is as follows: Scrum exists to create products of the highest value in complex environments. …

Willem-Jan Ageling

Writer, editor, founder of Serious Scrum. I love writing about maximizing value. https://www.linkedin.com/in/willemjanageling

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