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Professional Scrum Trainer Spotlight - Stas Pavlov

February 13, 2024


In this PST Spotlight episode, Stas Pavlov joins guest host and fellow PST Ryan Ripley for a deep dive into his Scrum journey.  Ryan engages in a deep conversation with Stas, a seasoned professional who transitioned from a project manager to a Scrum Master and then to a Product Owner. In this episode, Stas shares his unique journey, insights into the Scrum framework, and valuable advice for aspiring Scrum professionals. Dive into the world of Scrum with us and discover how it can transform your approach to product development and management.



Lindsay Velecina  0:03  
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.

Ryan Ripley  0:20  
Hi, everyone. I'm Ryan Ripley with Agile for humans and professional scrum trainer with I'm stepping in as a guest host for episodes highlighting the experiences of other Professional scrum trainers. I hope you enjoy getting to know these amazing people. All right. Welcome to another episode of becoming a scrum master. I'm your host Ryan Ripley joining me today starts starts as a fellow PST extraordinaire, one of the I believe one of our Dutch, one of our Netherlands compadres, right. are in the in the Netherlands the contingent that's taking over the world? One PST at a time, right.

Stas Pavlov  1:00  
We are those a couple of us? Just a few. Right.

Ryan Ripley  1:03  
There's a good concentration there.

Stas Pavlov  1:05  
But the most per capita? i

Ryan Ripley  1:09  
Yeah, it used to be Columbus, Ohio, and then it might have been somewhere in Wisconsin. Now I think it's definitely the Netherlands so well. Welcome, stop.

Stas Pavlov  1:21  
That's a good thing. Thank you.

Ryan Ripley  1:24  
So first question. Can you share the story of how you first encountered Scrum? What motivated you to become a scrum master? Was there a particular moment or experience that sparked your interest?

Stas Pavlov  1:39  
Yeah, great question. I think we've, most of us in the field have these pivotal moments, I definitely had a couple actually started out as a project manager long time ago, don't think I was a particularly good product manager. Because I remember by the end of each project delivery, we would get into these discussions with the customers where they were asking all of these things which weren't delivered. And basically, our answer was always, well, it was out of scope. Which is true. But it didn't feel right with me. Because I figured, well, we're having this conversation about things that apparently should have been winning this club, but yet people can change their mind. Why not? But then we always follow that up with? Well, there's always phase two. And that was basically the game that we were playing, but not particularly my game, I would say. So based on that frustration, if you will. At some point, I heard about Scrum. And I figured, hey, this could be interesting. But to be honest, I was working with a customer where which didn't like the word agility, or scrum at all, they really liked the delivery of something each quarter. And a lot of reporting. It was very delivery focused, and the customer didn't want to do anything. But I did, however, so I decided to take the plunge and book myself a training paid for myself. And that was a great decision. To be honest. It really inspired me because I really learned more about Scrum and a different way of delivering products. And ultimately, that's that's what I enjoy delivering products, building products with other people and helping businesses to build better products faster, I would say. And project management didn't work out for me. Scrum worked great for me, and I enjoy it to this day.

Ryan Ripley  3:43  
So that's great. It sounds like you know, it really elevated your career as well. So once you made that shift to Scrum, was there a eureka moment, like a pivotal? I mean, not even just pivotal. But maybe just a moment after you made that switch from Project Manager to Scrum Master, you're working with the framework where you just saw the obvious power or impact that scrum could have?

Stas Pavlov  4:07  
And if so, could you decide to put that? Yeah, yeah, basically, I saw the potential it could have. And this really sparked my curiosity, curiosity. But I must say it was the decision to go into training and kind of really learn more about it, which which really sparked that eureka moment. And then you get back from from this training, right? If you're energized and you gotta go, I'm going to conquer the world using Scrum. And I must say, that didn't go well. Initially, because I figured, well, it's just Scrum. Right, just couple of stages, and then I'll tell everybody how to do Scrum. It's a bit more to it than just following the steps. There's a lot there to explore. But ultimately, that's what I love. But yeah, that eureka moment really came during the during the training and also during a hackathon, I would say where You really experience what you can achieve when you're under pressure, but you have a team virtue, which is very motivated to work on a certain goal, rather than to be motivated by pizza and to deliver whatever you've agreed on. Yeah, I really like that.

Ryan Ripley  5:19  
So over the years working with Scrum, and working with different Scrum Masters, and through all of those different projects, you know, how's your perception? Or how is your perception and execution of the scrum master role evolved? Are there aspects of the role or the accountabilities as we call it now? That is different compared to when you first started?

Stas Pavlov  5:46  
It's an interesting question, because I have to admit, I'm not that much of a scrum master. I did a little bit of Scrum mastery, but I pivoted quite Frick, quickly to product ownership. So I've been mostly focused on being a product owner being a product manager only redirect using Scrum.

Ryan Ripley  6:07  
So let me I'll redirect then. So as a product owner, you've encountered many Scrum Masters. Is that fair? Yes, for sure. Yeah. And so I've seen a shift in the way that SCRUM masters are approaching you, as a product owner.

Stas Pavlov  6:25  
I see a shift gradually. I remember, when I started out, it was mostly focused on the process, it was really focused on estimating everything we're doing during the process while doing Jira, well, and I must say my own role was more of a backlog owner or JIRA DJ as I refer to it now, that being an actual product owner. And I see the same promises. were initially in how I started that as well where scrum master will be focused on going through the motions, the mechanical Scrum, and making sure that the three magic questions are always answered during the daily Scrum or daily standup as most of us call it, still. But it was going through the motions and really get to see that we are starting to shift to what's actually what actually matters. And that's, are we doing the right things? Are we delivering things that are making a change to the customer or are actually valuable to the business? And I'm glad that we see this change, because it comes at a good time. Ultimately, that's what it's about. It's answering the question, are we doing the right things? And how can we tell? That's the biggest shift that I would that I see. It's

Ryan Ripley  7:46  
a good shift, right? It goes from the mechanical to the value driven kind of discussion. And I think the industry overall has been trying to make that that shift and pivot for the better part of the past 20 years. So that's interesting to hear. It's a good trend, right? Yep.

Stas Pavlov  8:00  
Yep. Cool.

Ryan Ripley  8:03  
So maybe even from a product owner perspective, which I think is totally fine. You know, what advice would you give someone that's aspiring to be to become a scrum master? And he mindset skills habits that you think are crucial? And I think it's even more interesting from the product owner role, or from that product owner perspective?

Stas Pavlov  8:22  
Yeah, I think it it's a good question. I've pondered this many, many times. And I've been part of this this morning. So ultimately, I think you need to be intrinsically motivated to collaborate but also to question assumptions, question yourself or question your methods, even question Scrum. Scrum is incomplete. You need to add stuff to it. And are you adding the right stuff to it? Question everything that can be demotivated or can be a distraction at times. But really try to get into the nitty gritty of the things that you're doing actually helping you or are you just creating more busy work? Because that's not the point. You need to be able to be critical, but also be critical of yourself, and be able to take feedback. And the most important thing is you need really need to enjoy collaboration, collaboration with others, collaboration with stakeholders, collaboration with your team.

Ryan Ripley  9:26  
That's great. And very true. If those things are not on your radar, being a scrum master will be painful. Last question for you starts and then we'll get you on your way. What is one book that you think every scrum master should read?

Stas Pavlov  9:41  
Aside from fixing your scrum obviously. I have a hard time picking just one and I will give you a different one every time but the one book that I would argue that every product owner needs to read is definitely the lean startup. And I would I You can just save for scrum master as well, because it's not about Scrum. It's about delivering products. And the Lean start really gives you a different perspective on the same thing. And that really helps you to broaden your perspective on what else is out there. How can you enrich your own toolkit to make sure that you keep delivering value and help the teams and organizations that you're bit at least that was for me, the book that really made me break away from Scrum, mostly watching, you should break away from Scrum. But you should definitely enrich yourself with other fusion on the on the other perspective on the same thing. Great.

Ryan Ripley  10:45  
We'll add that to the show notes into the list of books that all of our guests have recommended. It's it's a neat, neat list. Each one's different. So it's cool to see just the eclectic mix of books that have come up. So stash this is your time to shine, anything you want to share, promote or let the audience know about before we wrap up. I

Stas Pavlov  11:12  
just Scrum and keep maximizing value everyone and definitely link up with me on LinkedIn. Probably there will be a link somewhere. As there will be things coming this year there will be a book. We'll be in touch. Unfortunately for some, some of you, but there's other things on the horizon, especially if you're based in Netherlands and if you do something with products, hope to see Europe. Very

Ryan Ripley  11:39  
great. Well, thank you stops, I appreciate it.

Stas Pavlov  11:42  
Thank you very much Ryan.


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