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Professional Scrum Trainer Spotlight: Sander Dur

June 1, 2022

If you are familiar with, you may associate the organization with Professional Scrum and/or Professional Scrum Training Courses and Certifications. Behind those hands-on training courses are highly qualified Professional Scrum Trainers (PSTs), who go through a rigorous process to take their real world Scrum experience and create value for students. In several episodes of the Community Podcast, our host and CEO Dave West interviews Professional Scrum Trainers about their experiences that led to their becoming a PST and exploring what Professional Scrum means to them. In this episode, Dave interviews PST Sander Dur based in the Netherlands about his experiences. 

Transcript below:

Welcome to the community podcast, a podcast from the home of Scrum. In this podcast we feature Professional Scrum Trainers and other Scrum practitioners sharing their stories and experiences to help learn from the experience of others. We hope you enjoy this episode.


Dave West  0:20  

Hello, and welcome to Community podcast. I'm your host, Dave West CEO of And I'm very excited. It's somebody that I've spoken to a few times on other podcast platforms Sander, calling from the Netherlands. He's a Professional Scrum Trainer with Hello, Sander.


Sander Dur  0:40  

Hello, Dave, thank you very much for having me. How are you doing?


Dave West  0:43  

I'm doing well all the benefits seeing you or at least talking to you. So let's just kick this off. Right? You know, where it all begins? Tell, can you tell the audience a little bit about yourself and maybe add something a little bit fun in it so that so that people can can relate to you a little bit sad.


Sander Dur  1:02  

Alright. I live in need in the Netherlands. I work for a wonderful consulting organization. As you said, we we've been talking on different podcast platform, I have my own podcast called Mastering agility, I write a lot on medium as well. I really enjoy just being one of the latest PSTs in this in this wonderful community, because it really goes to my heart. And where to start. There's so much detail about this entire journey. I'm not sure where you want to start, Dave.


Dave West  1:35  

Oh, well, we are going to get to that. But what about something fun? What do our listeners would they be surprised about Sander. What anything surprising.


Sander Dur  1:45  

Anything surprising I used to do. I've done let's say eight years of professional ballroom dancing, and I forgot everything. I have zero sense of rhythm.


Dave West  1:57  

The dancing Scrum Master you


Sander Dur  2:00  

Please skip that as soon as possible. Please forget that as soon as you can. But I've been doing that for a really long time when I was was a bit younger. And I had more hair. Now we're in the in the aerodynamic body now a part of the organization right when it comes to hair. But when I had a lot more hair, I used to do ballroom dancing. But literally I forgot everything. I used to get really nice grades at the end of the season and the exams when everything just went away.


Dave West  2:29  

Well, that's That's unfortunate, though, they say that I'm sure given the right motivation, it would all come back when I'm able to see that maybe we can do a few steps next time I'm in the Netherlands. So as you sort of alluded to the purpose of today's podcast is to talk a little bit about your journey to becoming a Professional Scrum Trainer. But before we talk about you becoming a professional scrum trainer, let's talk about your journey to Scrum. I think that's always a quite an interesting, quite an interesting story. So, how did you get to Scrum? Where does it go? How did you? How did you first come across Scrum?


Sander Dur  3:06  

Oh, that's, that's a great question. I did my majors during my studies in it information during the part of the Computer Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. And I was studying that because I wanted to become a project manager I always felt this. These people and these project managers had a some some form of a status, they look nice. They drove in these these nice BMWs. And I wanted that. So pursue that. And I started to work in as a as a product and PMO Project Management Officer. And part of that was to be instructed how to work with Scrum. The first thing that my teachers told me at that point was we're going to talk you into common sense to thinking common sense. And apparently, these days common sense is one of the least common things that has remained. But that was my first introduction to Scrum and I got certified as a Professional Scrum Master back in I was I think by heart was 2015 or something like that. Just fast forward a little bit. I had a burnout ultimately because of the motivation jetten that I was just discussing, apparently focusing on status and money is not the best thing to work as a as an intrinsic motivation. And then I pursued and work with a therapist and the burnout coach and we really had to preconfigured Where does my energy come from? And ultimately, this would be being a scrum master helping people develop. There is one person and for some reason, I can't remember his name. But he told me you work you spend about a third of your life working. Make sure you have a job that you enjoy else, you'll just be wasting 33% of your life. And that really resonated with me that stuck with me. And now we're here, me being a scrum master. They're still under professional scrum joiner and still my heart and mind, my work, my job feels like a holiday every day ever since.


Dave West  5:08  

That's nice, thank you for your vulnerability. They're sharing your, your your burnout and and how that how that affected you and took you on that, on that, that career change as it were. So, so what attracted you to Scrum? You know, you've learned traditional project management, you know, Taylorism, Gantt charts, PERT charts, all that kind of stuff, critical path analysis, you obviously learned that at university and practiced it for a few years, at what really made you what was special about Scrum?


Sander Dur  5:44  

Well, compared to all the other approaches, this feels a lot more natural like this. If you look at it from a more holistic perspective, this more feels more like evolution in itself, right? We inspect and adapt. And ever since the beginning of well, basically any any form of life, they have been evolving by survival of the fittest. And that's, I feel that's kind of how Scrum works as well. by inspecting and adapting to an ever changing circumstances into ever changing circumstances. I think it just resonated with me it felt so natural.


Dave West  6:22  

So that empirical process sort of attracted you the fact that it ultimately by making things transparent and visible, that allowed you and gave you the team and you as the scrum master the ability to, to to change where you're where you were next go in your next destination, as it were, that continuous process of change,


Sander Dur  6:43  

you're looking at all the things that you were just mentioning, like the Gantt charts, and then following that plan, felt so weird, and almost awkward to just blindly drive into single direction without inspecting what's going on what other options we have, how we can improve and what what do we learn? And how can we use that? Not doing that fell just awkward and it didn't felt right.


Dave West  7:07  

Hmm. Interesting. That makes a lot of sense. And I think that you called it common sense, which isn't that common. I think sometimes I don't know if you see this, but as a trainer and as a, as a scrum advocate, or an agile advocate, you often find that you compete against those biases. And those those underlying ideas that are very uncommon, really, they're like the opposite of that. How can it be this simple as it was? Yeah. All right. So you fell in love with Scrum and maybe other things as well. But you fell in love with Scrum, you then decided to become a trainer, which is not just about being a scrum master, though, obviously, it's a fundamental part to have played this role and executed these these accountabilities to become a Professional Scrum Trainer. But why did you decide to be a trainer?


Sander Dur  8:02  

That goes back again, to what I learned during my burnout to really help people have more fun in their work, be more engaged with their work, and just create more happy lives. To be honest, I'm making more of a dent, I'm felt just not not to put a Scrum Master down. But I felt being a Professional Scrum Trainer would allow me to have to engage with my own learnings from that burnout to impact more people's lives and help them grow. That was the whole reason why I started working with and becoming a Professional Scrum Trainer.


Dave West  8:40  

Yeah, that that does certainly gives you increases your amplification as it were around that. So obviously we focus on Professional Scrum. And you have been exposed to Professional Scrum and other forms of Scrum throughout your career. Talk a little bit about Professional Scrum, and  what that means to you.


Sander Dur  9:03  

There are so many angles to this. I was talking to one of my friends earlier today where you could see a talk suffocation if it were if you want to call it like that in a lot of organizations where they say they're doing Scrum, the base thing they're not, they're not using empiricism, those three pillars of inspection, transparency, adaptation, they're not using the scrum values. They're not using the purpose of the events behind it to really inspect and adapt, move forward deliver valuable, usable parts of working products to their users, as well as limit risk and manage risks, if you will. I think that's that's the biggest difference between Scrum and Professional Scrum, really incorporating the mindset behind it the way that Ken and Jeff intended it to be using it to grow to learn Not just for a product in itself, but for you as a person and for you collaborating with your team members and with the certain direct surroundings as well, I think feel that's the biggest difference.


Dave West  10:14  

Can we lean in a little bit about that you as a person, using Scrum to help you become better at your craft and as maybe a better as a human being? Can you talk a little bit about what that means to you and how you've seen scrum help you out, you know, as a human being?


Sander Dur  10:33  

Well, that goes back to what you you thank me for being open. And I think there are a lot of people, or more a lot of organizations, let's keep it like that, that do not value. Scrum Values, like openness, and like those kinds of things. As they should be as they could be using them, or embracing them. To make a more humane workplace I feel people are still being treated as resources. Like my computer mouse is resources a person you can just swap out it has affected on emotions. And if think that's where you come in to play as, as a person how scrum affects you as a person, those scrum values really help you open up yourself. And it's really easy to talk about work right about the tech, about hardware about those kinds of things. But as soon as you go into people's desires, people's motivations, people's fear, any of those more touchy feely aspects, it becomes really scary for a lot of people. But if you work with those, and really employ that professional Scrum, it helps you develop as a person and not just the quality of the product being delivered, but it helps you grow as a person.


Dave West  11:53  

I was writing a foreword for a book today, and I wrote trust versus risk. You know, most organizations and most human beings, I think, would rather always err on the side of risk, rather than trust. And and I think what scrum teaches us is to balance that trust teams for two weeks a sprint, right. And, you know, it sort of manages the risk, because it puts such small chunks or batches of, of learning batches of delivery. And it helps you increase that trust, which goes across from being a human being to the way in which your team is trusted in terms of the organization to the relationship you have with your clients and stakeholders. I think trust is an interesting, you know, that's what you made me think of when you were you were talking and I think trust is an interesting thing.


Sander Dur  12:46  

And it's a vicious cycle. What do you call that what you call out there? Right? Trust versus risk? Well, if you take the risk not to trust, you're just going to create more risk.


Dave West  12:59  

Yeah, exactly. And you don't necessarily so scared to do things, you end up not doing anything.


Dave West  13:06  

Or you end up actually producing something that has 57 features, because you couldn't, the risk of missing one was such a big one, right, we're missing one part of the market, which means that nobody wants to use the product, because you build a product for everybody. This trust versus risking is really interesting. And something that I think that bears a lot more study and conversation. And it's amusing that you brought that up, because I was thinking about that earlier, earlier today. So, you know, we're sort of we want to keep these podcasts short, because you know, sort of to support the idea of you're walking the dog or ironing your shirt and have the opportunity to listen and learn. Just just just a little so. So to finalize I'd love you to tell our listeners, you know, in terms of when they attend your class is when they spend time with you working on Scrum and learning from you on Scrum. What do you think the biggest takeaway What's your objective? What are you focused on? Helping them understand what is your sort of like, your, your product goal, which is doesn't totally fit but that sort of idea of the goal, what, what's different about when you do something with with these people and what they're trying to what's the outcome that you'll seek


Sander Dur  14:35  

What I love, not just about the courses that I teach, but just the way has created these courses, it Lets me commit and make a different comparison. I've been teaching a lot of different frameworks just to make a good opinion of myself where I want to dig in and Scrum is the the one that I really want to become good at and why because it's not about me those courses not about me teaching stuff. It's about me helping others uncovered what they already know or how they can learn. And I think that's the biggest part of these kinds of careers of courses. I'm not there to be there, I'm not there to teach pieces, people stuff specifically, they possess all the knowledge, they possess all the skills, I'm just helping them uncover. And that's, that's, for me the biggest joy of teaching these courses.


Dave West  15:25  

Wow, that's quite deep, I think a guide to self realization and maybe some terminology and tools to make those ideas work. I guess that sort of sums it up really. 


Sander Dur  15:42  

It's good to speak the same language throughout the organization.


Dave West  15:46  

Yeah, makes that makes a lot of sense. Sander. Thank you so much. for spending the time with us. We're listening to Sander from the Netherlands, and Professional Scrum Trainer here at Sharing his journey to Scrum and his journey to becoming a Professional Scrum Trainer. Thank you so much for spending the time today. I really enjoyed it. I also, you know, some interesting little things though. We spent a lot of time together you always learn something new, every opportunity, right. So thanks for your time.


Sander Dur  16:23  

Thank you very much for having me. I enjoyed it.


Dave West  16:26  

And thank you for listening everybody. On the upper end of this podcast. This is Dave West, your host here at Community podcast. wishing you all a good goodbye. Bye


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