Becoming a Professional Scrum Trainer is a highly challenging process. It takes time, patience, and sometimes it’s even frustrating. But what it also is, is rewarding. There are about 360 PSTs all over there world. Being among that number and being able to teach awesome courses is an awesome experience.
Ryan Brook and your host, Sander Dur, are talking about their respective journeys and the challenges they encountered.
What you’ll discover in this show:
– The PST journey is different for everybody
– Dealing with frustration when things don’t go your way is part of it
– The entire journey is meant to make you a better trainer
Primary Trainer @ Optilearn | PST @ Scrum.org | Troublemaker
I am an experienced Scrum Master and Agile Coach based in Gloucester, UK with past clients including BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin. I specialise in team-level turnaround and cutting through organisation crap that builds up over time. Think of me as someone who will help identify your business ‘bloat’ and work with you to remove it. I firmly believe that the best trainers and those who practice active consultancy.
Prior to my move into the software industry, I qualified as a teacher and spent a number of years teaching in secondary education. I pride myself on inclusivity, accessibility and being an engaging public speaker. I play an active role in the Scrum community through blogging and appearing at events, alongside being a trainer for Optilearn (optilearn.co.uk).
Sander Dur (host)
Scrum Master, Agile Coach, trainer, and podcast host for ‘Mastering Agility”
Sander Dur is a Professional Scrum Trainer at Scrum.org, podcast host of Mastering Agility, Professional Scrum Master and Lead Agile Consultant and trainer at Xebia. Besides this, he’s an avid writer for predominantly Serious Scrum on Medium.com. Sander has a major passion for the human side in complex domains. Ensuring a high level of psychological safety therefore is a critical part of his work. Organizations in complex domains can only survive when innovating. Innovation can only take place with the right balance between low social friction and high intellectual friction. While most organizations now understand how to apply Agile frameworks, they struggle with delivery of value. Psychological safety is the next step in this evolution and Sander has a huge drive to help organizations reach that step.
He gained experience as a Scrum Master, Agile Coach, and Leadership consultant in many different top-tier organizations, including Nike and ASML.
Sander is enthusiastic, open-minded, and ambitious. He finds interpersonal relationships and intrinsic motivations very important in team dynamics. Besides his work, Sander loves to spend time with his family, enjoys sports and eating healthy, barbecuing, riding his motorcycle, and traveling.
Let’s connect! Sander is always up for new connections and discussions!
Discord community: https://discord.gg/6YJamBJxUV
people, trainer, scrum, psm, questions, feel, journey, sander, daily scrum, class, daphne, training, peer review, community, scrum trainer, professional, answer, bit, year, absolutely
Sander Dur, Ryan Brook
Sander Dur 00:03
Hi guys, welcome back to a whole new episode of the mastering agility podcast. This series aims to inspire you and others by bringing in the best of the business. My name is Sander Dur, and I’m your host. Today I’m talking to my friend Ryan Brook, and how he and I became a professional scrum trainer for scrum the door. Now, even though the journey itself the outlines are written down very clearly on the website of Scrum, that org experiences and the journey itself may vary depending on your skills, your expertise, your experience, and so on. So in this episode, we’ll be honing in on our respective journeys, and what our challenges were, and what we learned what we discovered when their frustrations were anything when it comes to becoming a professional scrum trainer. If you want to know more specifically, if you want to ask more questions, join the mastering agility discord community. We’ll be happy to ask answer you all of your questions, as well as connect you to other aspiring and inspiring Angeles around the world. Hope to see you guys there. Let’s dive into our conversation. Ryan, my friend, welcome to the show. How are you doing?
Ryan Brook 01:16
Oh, I’m doing well. Sander. How you doing, my friend?
Sander Dur 01:18
I’m doing well, too, man. Really glad that we’re finally here. We’ve been discussing this recording this podcast for ever. It feels like what are we? What are we talking about
Ryan Brook 01:30
it? And he’d been at least six to eight months, doesn’t it?
Sander Dur 01:34
I think so. Yeah.
Ryan Brook 01:36
if not longer.
Sander Dur 01:38
What are we going to talk about?
Ryan Brook 01:41
Well, I think we’re going to talk about our PST journeys becoming trainers for scrum.org Is that what you had in mind was
Sander Dur 01:47
definitely you know, that’s a topic that we had indeed have been discussing forever. Like, just to give you guys a little bit of an overview of what happened here. Ryan and I have been in the PSD candidate channel for I think for for over a year. And during the entire time, we’ve been discussing as soon as we’re both BSD we should do a podcast episode on this. Unfortunately, it took me forever to finally get the stamp. But we’re here now we’re good. We can talk about it.
Ryan Brook 02:20
Well, hey, you did it man. You did it. Yeah. took
Sander Dur 02:23
me longer. No. But we’re How are you liking the community the whole PSD community the experience so far.
Ryan Brook 02:32
I mean, the community is fantastic. So since becoming a PSD in when was it for me, July of 2021. The community is just so welcoming. You know, we have trainers who have been training professional scrum for 10 plus years, and they’ve got newbies like me and you. And everyone is able to ask questions, ask stupid things, right. I think the bit I’ve particularly loved is that I always assumed as trainers, there was an expectation that we’d know everything about Scrum. However, as you well know, we all ask each other questions. You know, we have this question in the class. What do you think? Because I don’t know the answer. And that’s the bit I love about the community, right? There’s no such thing as anyone knowing everything, and it makes me feel at home.
Sander Dur 03:23
I think that was one of the main takeaways. After I finished my bachelor’s. Initially, I thought, hey, I’m done. I pass it. I’ve got my my diploma in the pocket. I got my degree. I felt like I knew everything. And then I got my first work and experience and the first thing that I learned and it still sticks and resonates with me to this day that I don’t know shit, I don’t know anything. And that’s the same.
Ryan Brook 03:51
That’s that’s also aligns with being a scrum master though, right? Yeah, definitely. It’s
Sander Dur 03:56
sometimes it feels like people come up to me, Hey, you know everything about Scrum? Well, that’s not how I feel. I do know my my side of the story, but I definitely do not know everything.
Ryan Brook 04:07
So that’s certainly true. I think the more you, the more you become experienced, the more you realize you don’t know. Yeah. And that’s okay. I love that bit. I love the fact that we are never done learning. Because Scrum and becoming a PSD, I found a deeply human process. It wasn’t about execution of a task of certain steps. It was learning it was the value is in the journey, not in the not in the destination or not in the badge itself.
Sander Dur 04:35
How do you feel about having impostor syndrome?
Ryan Brook 04:42
Joe was a really good question. And it’s, it’s the reason I’m pausing over that question is because I got asked it the other day in a PSM two class, someone said, How do I know if I’m good enough? And it made me reflect on the same question, how do I know if I’m good enough? And I think the answer is yes. I mean, I do feel impostor syndrome. I’ll be honest, I felt it more earlier in my journey. Because I felt like I was trying to compare myself to these people with an eye, like you’re referring to it as a badge, it very much felt like that it was almost a mark of quality of a trainer. And I still do believe that that is a case. But I was comparing my knowledge against these people. And I spoke to a wonderful mutual colleague of ours is Ariane. And he said, You wouldn’t believe the rubbish sometimes trainers come out with he said, we don’t know everything. But we will talk to people we will learn and we will work together. And I think that’s how I overcame my imposter syndrome by realizing that I think everyone feels it equally. And therefore, it’s not something I need to be concerned about. But how about you
Sander Dur 05:49
still have the same experience more or less? Same, I had the same same discussion with zerion as well. He’s a good friend of mine. But for instance, when I look at you, I’m deeply impressed with your teaching skills, the way that you teach the way that you convey a message, the calmness in your voice and the way that you can bring that purpose of Scrum where the core of each and your individual part across. And I think that I have that with lots of people were deeply appreciate and admire certain aspects.
Ryan Brook 06:25
That it’s very kind, thank you.
Sander Dur 06:30
you’re most welcome. I’m not going to say jealousy, but it’s one of the things that I’ve really the admiration, but that does make me feel sometimes having impostor syndrome.
Ryan Brook 06:42
So I think that it’s actually something we spoke about the other day about being ki shaped. For those people listening. T shaped is a concept where you have lots of different skills, but different depths in each of them. And so like Sander said, he, I mean, very thankfully was in awe of my my teaching and conveying of a message, I’m in awe of his ability to actually tell a story and make it really personable. I don’t know whether it’s the British in me. But sometimes we can come across quite cold. We can be concise, but the way in which we come across, we don’t use a lot of intonation in our voice. And so maybe so you know, we all are in awe of different people. So I think that’s why we maybe all feel impostor syndrome, because we all want to be this perfect, rounded, individual, professional scrum trainer. And I don’t think a perfect trainer exists. We all like different things.
Sander Dur 07:33
Did you ever want to be the best trainer? The best PSD ever?
Ryan Brook 07:40
Oh, well, that’s an interesting question. Do I want to be the best? Of course, actually, you know what, yeah, I’m gonna say I do. Of course, I want to be the best. But I want to be the best not for me, for the students. And I think it’s important that after class, we iterate, we increment, we say, What could we do better. So when I say the best, I think I just mean, the best I can be. I don’t necessarily mean the best out of the 300 and approximate 60 trainers that we’ve got. It’s not about, you’re not my competition sander. I know from a business perspective, we could argue that, but you’re my friend and my colleague, and I learn things from you. And people learn things from me. So yeah, I just want to be the best that I can do. And I’ll take those Lego bricks and build my pedagogy from other people as well.
Sander Dur 08:31
Because sometimes that looking back at myself and my own downfalls and the way I went into a burnout million years ago. And I always felt like I had I was part of this competition. And in during this PST process, I’ve been mainly in competition with myself. But reflecting back, I know that if I don’t pay really good attention to myself, I can compare myself to others as well and try to make that a competition. Like I got to beat that. And luckily, I kind of dropped that that attitude. I think so hope so. At least it feels that way. But it can imagine that it sometimes is is easy for others to have such a such a mindset as well. So that’s why I was wondering whether that’s just me or you have the same experience. So thanks for being that we think that open.
Do you think there’s a good level of impostor syndrome? Yeah, makes you better by having it
Sander Dur 09:34
I think it’s a really fine balance. Really fine walk between imposter syndrome and arrogance. And I think that’s that’s a point where you get to be very mindful of if you if you’re not going to, you should have at least 40% A feeling of impostor syndrome, just to keep you on edge of your development. What do you think?
Ryan Brook 10:02
Yeah, I think you have to want to, I mean, I have no idea about a number. And even if we did quantify it, I think it’s different for different people. But I think the right amount of impostor syndrome is perhaps as long as it’s driving you to improve. I think that’s okay. And maybe it doesn’t come from imposter syndrome. Maybe that drive, maybe it comes from something else. But I think what I’m trying to say is that we all need something that drives us forward. And I think for a lot of people, it is this feeling of not inadequacy, but just the fact that we aren’t perfect. And I think that’s great, right? Our products in scrum are never perfect. That’s why we get feedback on them. And we review. And I think that becoming a scrum trainer is, you know, hey, we’ve got to be empirical about it. So let’s improve together.
Sander Dur 10:50
Perfect answers. Speaking of drive, by the way, what’s your drive in the beginning to start this whole PSD journey?
Ryan Brook 10:58
was a, it’s a good question. It’s actually quite simple one to answer. So I first made my application in February 2020, having just come back from seeing the front France, rugby player in six nations against England. And I’m fairly certain I had COVID at the time, but I didn’t know it because COVID Wasn’t, we didn’t really know that much about it. So I was feeling poorly. And I just thought, you know what, there’s something going on in the other side of the world. And it was a pandemic, and suddenly, people were dying. And I thought, You know what, this is something that I’ve always wanted to do. So what’s holding me back? And so it was very much a case of not fire and forget, but I’ll stick an application in. And I would much rather live my life not having any regrets. And hate, as they say, a year and was it four months later? I passed my peer review. Well, yeah, thank you. It’s actually
Sander Dur 11:53
Ryan Brook 11:57
Yeah, I think I think I applied at the right time. There was there was still quite a lot of trainers applying, I guess, I guess. And understandably, for financial reasons, a lot of professional scrum trainers or consultants. And when COVID was just becoming an issue, a lot of people being laid off and being released. And so there was a need for an income. Yeah, I think I was maybe just a little bit ahead of that. I was encouraged by my PSM two trainer, Jay Rahman, awesome guy named Jack. And he said, You know what, go for it. So I did. What about you? What was the reason you pulled the trigger? Hi,
Sander Dur 12:34
I gotta go back three and a half years. Unfortunately, I can’t say what took me a year. COVID was one main factor why it took so long because the whole COVID situation, especially in the beginning of the pandemic, and then the lock, the lock down was quite mentally heavy. I noticed with myself, especially with having three kids at home. So there was a bit of a sabbatical, I guess, of a year, roughly. But more than that, and a bit going back, and I don’t want to treat my burnout as my gimmick. But that was the point where I had to really reconfigure, okay, what is it that want to do? Where do I get my energy from? Where does my passion where’s my passion somewhere. And I was already knowledgeable, a little bit knowledgeable about Scrum. I passed my PSM one exam already, a few years before that. So it was that, but it also want to make more of an impact on people’s lives help them develop, because as frequent listeners of this podcast, might have heard me say more often, you spend about 30% of your life working. So make sure you got you have a job that you really enjoy. Yet, there are so many people who are actively disengaged with their work. And I felt like that’s, that’s a sucky percentage. Like, I want to make some form of a dent, even if it’s in slightest way to help people improve their work situation. And for me scrum was that, that way that felt so natural, so common sensical. I felt maybe this would be the path for me, let’s just start exploring it. And I indeed hit my ID, my application form. It took me two hours to fill the entire thing in with all the information that I could find about my experience myself, whatever. What have you. And then a couple of weeks later, I got the email from Daphne saying, Hey, can we talk and Daphne Harris, by the way is the person in charge of the entire PSD process? She is a wonderful person shout out to Daphne. She took
No one dare tell us any difference. She is a wonderful lady.
Sander Dur 14:49
Yes, she is tough, but fair. She always feels to me like the mom of the entire team.
Ryan Brook 15:01
Yeah, I think so I think in a very positive, supportive, she’s very servant leadership and definitely a way I can still remember my first interview with her, you know, as you said, you filled in the form. And the advice I always give people about that form because I like you spent a lot of time fitting in. It’s an invitation to a conversation, rather than a formal application form. However, at the bottom, there’s a question, you know, do you have a blog? Yeah, I put my blog link in and in the interview, she said, or in the conversation, I should say, she said, I’ve read your blog posts Ryan. And at that point, I went, Oh my God, what did I say how did I write but as Sander said, Daphne is a very fair, very logical, very kind lady. And she just wants a conversation to unpick your your theory, your ethos around professional Scrum. And I really enjoyed that first interview, and it really made me want to continue it never felt like it was hard. I think the best interview sometimes just a conversation and are just easy. What is
Sander Dur 16:03
it that that you remember most about what is the next steps? Let’s let’s put it like that. You You mentioned that about your blog. But there’s more to scramble the dork especially Daphne’s not just looking for your your ability to convey the scrum framework and to get message and how to get that across and how to help students. There’s more to it like they’re looking for the right personality. How did you feel that went down? For instance, in your conversation with Daphne?
Ryan Brook 16:36
I think it was something that was being assessed passively. I write a lot on LinkedIn. And I just call it that don’t be a dick syndrome. And do you know what I think that that’s always my when I interview people, that’s my measure of thumb. I care less about skill set, and I came care more about Will you fit in with the community that we’ve got. Because like, I like a good scrum team, right heroes don’t always fit. They might be amazing at their scrum knowledge, but you need to be a rounded person, whether it’s your pedagogy, an ability to train your knowledge of Scrum and your mastery living the scrum values, your consultancy your concision, your ability to tell a story. It, it makes a trainer, a whole set puzzle.
Sander Dur 17:28
Couldn’t agree more? How long did it take you to get from that interview to the next step.
Ryan Brook 17:37
So I guess I don’t know if you found the same sander. But because I applied during COVID. The typical process that’s written on scrum.org was very out of sync for me, because there was more weight. So for those people listening, one of the stages is, So you first have to pass your PSM one at 95%, then you submit an application form. And following on from that you attend the TGT, which is the train the trainer. So it’s an opportunity to attend the class two days normal class with public students and one day for trainers. But because usually they were physical, and we just gone virtual, there was a bit of a delay. So during that time, I’ve actually done the PSM two, which you have to pass 85% Assuming you’re applying for the PSM route trainer. And then I also had managed to do the PSM three, which I needed to pass it 90% So how long did it take me? I did my to it was a year. So Feb vi applied in February 2020. I did my TTC I think in February 20. No, it wasn’t it was April 21. So a year in two months it took me and then once I’d done the TGT it was okay, Ryan, you’ve done your PSM three, there’s nothing holding us back. Let’s book a peer review in for two months later. And although and then. Yeah, I mean, it was it was it was a whirlwind. It was very much a lot of waiting. But like I said it was that journey. I’m glad that there was an invitation to the Slack community. So it’s not something necessarily that’s talked about publicly. However, there is a candidate community on slack for people to ask questions anyone coming through. It contains all of our most of the professional scrum trainers. Some are more active than others. And that’s probably fair to say. We have some great people in that community as professional scrum trainers trying to help people out. But it’s a place to ask questions prep for PSM three. Just talk about being a trainer. There’s also candidate calls every once a month because the first try first Monday of the month. And I think what Daphne really tries to do and does it very effectively is create a community of candidates, even though you’re not necessarily in the professional scrum trainer community. You almost are because you’re a candidate, right that the community is, you know, encompasses the candidates too. I think
Sander Dur 20:08
it’s kind of looking through the window of the PST house. Like you’re almost not able to get in.
Ryan Brook 20:17
Yeah, mate, say it’s like trying to get into a bar, but you’re not 18 just yet. Exactly. But you know, sometimes the old boys will come out and offer you a drink. And we’ll take you in and talk to you. And I felt very much like that. It was. It’s a great welcoming community. And I don’t want anyone to be put off by thinking that it’s not for them. As long as you meet the criteria.
Sander Dur 20:42
You have the right mentality, exactly. You can always try. I think it’s the end. If
Ryan Brook 20:48
you’re not sure. Talk to a trainer, talk to people. I mean, I’m always open for people to connect. I don’t know about you, sander. But if you ever want to chat about being one, just drop us a LinkedIn message. And we’ll always have a chat with
Sander Dur 20:59
LinkedIn indeed, or join the mastering agility discord, we’re both there, you can reach out to us and we’ll we’ll answer everything. Going back to the the interview with Daphne, what came out of that, for me personally, was that I needed more experienced because I was kind of still kind of fresh. And I initially thought, Hey, is it going to be I was hoping that it wouldn’t be a hard criteria to have at least four years of experience. Unfortunately, I didn’t meet that criteria, criteria. I had roughly three years and then so that out of that came, please go back into the wild, you have the right personality, we think you would be a great fit. But you just need that bit. That bit more of experience, and why. And initially, it was kinda kinda annoyed by that, of course, because you hope you can advancing, you can do on the fly and really fast and go through the process just as fast as you did. But they’re really looking for quality stuff. So this is one of those steps, even though it seems it feels a little bit arbitrary to have, okay, this is absolutely for years. But as making sure that everyone has significant experience, taking those war stories into the training, itself, making that much more lively, as well as able to connect the actual theory to the practice. And then we were just discussing this before this recording, you have to be a consultant, or scrum master or whatever, you have to be in the field to be able to actually build a sufficiently sufficient training with enough body to it. I know so many trainers from other courses from other frameworks, from other organizations that really own the theory, yet haven’t ever been into the field itself. So it makes it very hard to put a substantial amount of practical examples of those war stories, if you will, to sustain the theory.
Ryan Brook 23:07
And I think that’s a really important point. Because when you’re in a professional scrum class, the majority of questions are not can you explain to me what a daily Scrum is? It’s, I have this problem with my daily scrum, how have you tried to solve it, they are about the scenario based questions, people would like you to help them to fix it. And whilst we’re not consulting in the class, necessarily, there are opportunities for us to share good practices that people might want to take away. And I think unless you’ve been there lived it. And you know what, I had this guy called John the other day in a daily Scrum and he was being dick. And this is how we approached it. Unless you’ve been there and lived it. You cannot share those stories, because they’re just not true.
Sander Dur 23:52
Did you ever have had a class teach a class where there hasn’t been anyone? Who asked? Could you tell me how this works in practice? How did you make this work?
Ryan Brook 24:05
Never. Right. One of the first things that we always do is, you know, form a parking lot of questions. What questions Have you come to this class with? And I would go so far as to say, I’ve never even got past a parking lot without someone trying to say, how would you do this? How would you how do you improve sprint retrospectives? I can’t get stakeholders to my sprint reviews. How would you do it? That’s why people come to a professional scrum trainer to get trained Exactly. Because you can absolutely train yourself the PSM one, you can read the scrum guide, you can learn the theory. But I think and I guess this is also a bit arrogant, but the value that we bring to our training is those four years of experience minimum and the war stories that we can help you to understand.
Sander Dur 24:48
Well, yeah, I was teaching a PSM class last week, and there was there was a person who asked you shouldn’t really do this course or cutting just go for The exam well, anyone can go for the exam. I mean, you can do that with with homeschooling, you can do that with studying in your own time. The value in training is indeed those war stories, connecting also with peers with people who are in the same situation who have the same kind of questions. But also in the getting, it’s not consulting itself. But you can ask the questions that you have that you encounter, in your own practice, experience, your own practice, environment, there are so many people who are stuck with okay, like, like the example with the daily scrum that you and Brian, we’re stuck doing this? How should I solve that? What do you think it’s engaging, getting those answers to your practice situation as well, and not just passing the exam? I think, yeah, passing the exam should be only maybe five to 10% of it.
Ryan Brook 25:54
And I would argue that actually until you’ve been passing the PSM one is very much about the theory. You know, you get professional scrum master one certification. But what makes you a true Scrum Master is having practiced it and experienced it. And the value of a class, something we do in the PSM two class, is we almost have consultancy time at the end of the class. So what problems would you like to bring to these eight or nine consultants here, forming those connections? I don’t know about you, sander. I often feel quite alone as a scrum master when I’m working in an organization, because there’s not many people are there aren’t that many Scrum Masters in my organization. So I feel almost quite alone. I don’t have a big community of practice that maybe some of the developers do. So having a training where I can talk to people who are enthused about Scrum. I just love it. And that’s why I like being in the trainer community as well.
Sander Dur 26:49
I’m in a different situation because I worked for Zevia large consultancy firm with people who are absolutely passionate about Scrum about agility, and not just Scrum, anything else, any other framework as well. So I have really no spirits like Laos, Bournemouth. Evaline those little bins for your money, you name them. Yes, a housing. I have people and that’s this that’s relating back to the to the imposter syndrome as well. These are people that have always highly regarded like these are to me are absolutely top of the bill. And now I can work with them. And that to me creates so much energy, my work. I really love that.
Ryan Brook 27:32
It’s interesting. You mentioned those names because as you will know there’s a face to face for professional scrum trainers coming up in Amsterdam at the end of March with recording this on the 10th of March. And I’m going there and I’ve 30 people invited and the names that Sander has just mentioned are all going to be there these are it’s not so far to say idols right, you see the likes of Gunther verheyen going, and I’m just thinking I’m going to be in the same room as these peoples. How can you not feel impostor syndrome? I can look my direct eyeline. I’ve got a book 123 books by gunfire I’ve got books by Ralph Jaco and Don McGreal. I’ve got there’s just books and books of these people who are going to be present in the same room and it’s going to be amazing Exactly. Speaking
Sander Dur 28:17
of Gunther by the way, he has been a massive part in keeping the energy in my my my PSD rotten journey as well. Because in the beginning, when I just had the discussion with Daphne, I was like, Okay, I need to advance so I started looking into the BCM two class at that point. It just got sold by buddy buddy over him and QC advisor Scrum, the Dorcas, PSM three, or PSM two, was completely new. The PSM two course is something that those guys completely created and was so good the scrum the org decided to incorporate it. So we reached out to them, but also reached out to goon Devine on LinkedIn just slapping him a message and said, I will I want to start this I really want to do this good. In a good way. Do you have some advice for me? And then he said, within a couple of minutes, he replied to me and said, Come to Antwerp. Let’s go for lunch. And we’ll talk through I was like what? Like, I can just mentioned there kind of idols and I definitely felt like that. I rarely feel starstruck but that at that point it was like this is happening.
Ryan Brook 29:37
Yeah, and they say never meet your idols but actually with I like to say that pretty much all professional scrum trainers are just lovely
Sander Dur 29:44
PJs, and really good time was going through and we sat down for a couple of hours, which is way more than I initially thought and he was so down to earth. Such a nice dude. And he helped me and He gave me really good tips. Good feedback. and things that helped me throughout the entire to throughout the entire journey. Also massive shout out to you again, I read a blog on, on my journey of becoming a PSD. And I think this is one of the main experience that will always stuck will be stuck in my mind looking back in this entire journey, but indeed, like you said, everyone, or most of them, at least, are open to anything open to any discussion, to feedback to helping you for it, because that’s what really makes the PSD community stand out to me is anyone’s willingness to help and to help you improve to, to to sit down together, whether that’s live or through zoom, or Riverside, like we’re recording now. But does just that down to earn this. And they’re almost like, regular people.
Ryan Brook 31:01
Just almost, I was having a conversation with someone on Reddit, about two days ago, and they had a question about something Ralph had included in the professional product owner book. They said, what, what does everyone think of this? And I said, Why don’t you just message him and ask? Exactly. You know, these people want to talk about their theory in their learning. And I’m certainly the same, right? If you ever read anything of mine, just ask, right? I’m certainly not saying it’s right. Let’s just have a conversation. Yeah, it’s, we all love talking about Scrum. We geek out about Scrum. Is that right? It’s under
Sander Dur 31:34
way too much. Sometimes I feel there’s nothing else existing in my life at this point, and then scrub. But that’s, that’s, that’s the beauty of it as well, I really, really enjoy talking about it, working on it, draining it writing, grading podcasts like this, I really enjoy it. And that’s also a reflection of generosity, community, people are just really passionate. I think that’s the passion is what’s going to help you go through the process.
Ryan Brook 32:06
I think that’s an important thing to add, because the rest of the community want you to succeed as well. So the final step being a peer review, a lot of people think it’s quite onerous. And it absolutely is being effectively interviewed by five of your peers, five other professional scrum trainers, where you take the opportunity to teach them something where they pretend to be students. And then when they try and ask you some tricky questions. Again, as students, they still want you to succeed, nothing is ever designed to make you fail. You move forward in the process. And if you struggle, a hurdle, you get feedback and feedback and feedback until you overcome the hurdle. And that’s something I heard even in my peer review, it didn’t go well. I interestingly, rewatched the video of my peer review yesterday, oh, it was cringy. But it was a learning opportunity where people were giving feedback and saying, Hey, why don’t you answer a question that way? You know, it was great.
Sander Dur 33:04
Speaking of, of overcoming obstacles, the first obstacle just for people to have and just a general overview of how, how these steps are formed. I mentioned already the 40 years of experience, you got to pass the PSM one and 95 95%. B isn’t to is not a specific requirement on any level, just you just got to pass it. But then, the biggest obstacle for me the biggest frustration point ever, in my entire journey, the PSM three that felt like an absolute mountain ride 90% was the benchmark took it five freakin times and only passed at 9.6
Ryan Brook 33:54
It’s worth saying that you still pass 85 is just that the so Sander passed multiple times to new I think I’m
Sander Dur 34:00
record holder of PSM three at this point.
Ryan Brook 34:04
But yeah, he’s 90% required to become a trainer. So as Sander said, it’s a mountain but it’s a mountain that you know that everyone training professional scrum has claimed. So it is validation of a trainer. And lots of people who see taking professional scrum master three, they say is it worth it? And I say Do you know what? Yeah, if you want to validate your practice, or if you want to become a trainer, but honestly don’t do it to show off or just just to get you a job. It won’t do that. You know, it’s just for trainer validation. And for kudos really?
Sander Dur 34:37
Well, some some organizations do require you to have a certain level of PSM knowledge or certificate. So in that sense, I do understand if people are looking to get it for job security or whatever to get more out of a job. But indeed, it’s more of the validation or the looking into your ability to create a career crisp and concise answer to the questions being thrown at you. And for those who are not familiar with how this exam looks like, there, let’s say 3436 questions out of those 95%. So let’s say 30 to 34 are open ended, essay based scanning questions. And the other ones, the remaining two to four are multiple choice, which are also hard. But the rest is open ended essay based, you have not these days, it was two and a half hours time box. When I started doing this, it was two hours. So I had to slam my keyboard really fast. But it’s really looking into Do you know, your skill? Do you know your Scrum? Do you know how to put it into a short and concise possible way to convey it? What the scrum guide says, as well as a little bit of experience story without making it too fuzzy? It took me five times. And the horrible part is if you take it twice, or you don’t make the 90% twice, you have to wait for half a year to take the next attempt. So there again, was a massive delay. At this point, I feel where a lot of people give up. How do you feel? What’s your experience? Right?
Ryan Brook 36:23
I guess I was lucky. With the PSM three, the the mic drops, being concise. I had a lot of prep with my mentor on the path, Shaheen, he’s a PST. And he said just design mic drop answers, right? You can’t say everything. But if you get your boss in an elevator, and they asked you a question about the daily scrum, what’s your one two sentence answer for that. And I did that for all key concepts that I that I could think of for Scrum. And so when I was in the in the assessment, I almost had some leading sentences to answer. It’s changed a bit now because it’s much more give experiences and tell us how you’ve experienced this in real life. Which also is a reason for the time box extending BS I was lucky to pass it first time 85 Which wasn’t enough. And then the second time, I was lucky to beat the 90%. But you’re right it, it can be disheartening. Because it’s three to four, maybe five weeks before you get an answer, get your result back, because it’s graded by a real person. And then to see that you didn’t quite meet the mark. And hey, let’s not forget, it’s potentially a $500 investment per goes,
Sander Dur 37:36
depending on whether you took the class or not. Because if you took the PSM two, you get 40% discount.
Ryan Brook 37:43
Hmm, absolutely. And I think sometimes when people see that, that they maybe didn’t make it, they feel like they aren’t good enough. And that’s not true. But I feel almost wrong talking about that. That’s probably something you should talk about Sunday, because I hope you never thought that you weren’t good enough.
Sander Dur 38:04
Um, I can’t really remember To be honest, whether I ever had that thought in at certain points it did, took me a little while to re gather my not necessarily the drive or the motivation to take this mountain again. And that both that as well as the half your time work before it could have another go. But with the whole COVID situation coming in, it took me a while to take that. Even though I knew I had the knowledge because I in all arrogance, when I had the first conversation with Daphne, and she told me, you need another year of experience. The first thing that came to my mind was, I’ll show him I’ll take the PSM three, and I’ll show you that I can do this absolute arrogance, of course, but I did make the 85%. So that was cheerful, I felt good. This should be good. This should be fine. I can do this. I could get the 90% I think it was 95 of the time. They trended down a bit. But the level between 85 and 90% is actually being good in answering questions and being great in answering those mic drop kinda level of the questions. Improving myself to that level took me quite a while. And I think that’s that’s the main purpose of this entire journey, especially with coming through that stage of PSM three, as well as a peer review is not about validating your knowledge. The fact that you’re taking this, especially to peer review, you’ve proven to own that knowledge. This is about improving your ability to be concise, to be crisp to give those mic drop answers and then to convey that message in a good clear way.
Ryan Brook 40:04
Yeah. And let you say when they dropped it from 95 to 90, they actually made the test harder. Which is the reason why they dropped the percentage a bit. But as Sander says, The Yeah, the ability to make things more concise. You know if to give people an example. And this isn’t this isn’t, you know, giving away a question. But let’s say a topic came up, they said, could you explain the purpose of the daily scrum? Most trainers? Anybody knowledgeable, knowledgeable about Scrum could probably talk for five minutes about that. You don’t have that time. You know, so I can still remember the sentence I had in my head, you know, what’s the theory, the purpose of the daily scrum was to it is a daily opportunity to inspect and adapt the progress made against the sprint backlog for the previous 24 hours to make a plan for the next 24 hours, to make it more likely that the sprint goal will be met. It’s about two or three bullet points in their max 50 words. And yeah, could I talk about loads of things like impediments, the fact that the scrum master and the product owner only speak if they’re, they’re performing as a developer? Yeah, I could have that you can’t say everything. And that was what that was the mentality. And the mindset I had to put aside, when taking the PSM three, you are not being asked to tell them everything, you
Sander Dur 41:25
may have those five minutes to give a five minute answer dope or five minute answer. But you got to keep in mind that the other person who’s reviewing this also is going to be reading for five minutes. He doesn’t want to read for five minutes. He wants to have the slam dunk immediately. He wants to have this answer just in the first few lines with maybe a little bit of clarification. So you, you do have the time on the clock, but not in the answer.
Ryan Brook 41:53
Yep, yeah, three to five minutes per question. It was for me when it was two hours by that time boxes, I guess, stretched a little bit. But bear in mind, some questions are going to be easier than others. The phrase that Daphne always used is don’t talk yourself out of a good short answer. Some questions I can still remember one particular question that’s etched into my brain took me about eight to 10 minutes to answer and that’s okay. Because some questions have multiple sub questions. But some of them are just super simple. Just move on. Exactly. Get it done. And then once you’ve done it, Pay Review. And then you’re in the community Exactly.
Sander Dur 42:31
To me, I felt so I first started PSM three, my chronological order was a bit skewed. But I got I went to the TT then back in 2019, and then went to the to the scrum Dorg office in Burlington. This is out of everything, what I made in my head as being the most daunting thing that I would ever do when I went there. So I live in the Netherlands, I had to fly out to different times, I felt I had to be on top of my game be absolutely focused, I had to do everything right. So in the first few days, they checked into the check whether you’re able to put yourself in the chair of a student and help those students learn and engage rather than giving them the answer and being the teacher. The fact that you’re there already proves that you’re you probably know more than the students in the PSM three PSM one class, when it comes to the basis of Scrum. They’re not looking for you to be able to answer those kinds of questions, or help provide the students with the actual answer. It’s more about helping being able to put yourself in the mindset of a student followed, as you already mentioned, by the date specifically where they hone in on your teaching skills. I made this for some reason. Like if I’m not gonna say this fantasy realm of this is, this is the what is it? Right, I completely lost the word, the font of the finales of American football.
Ryan Brook 44:08
I cannot forget what do they call it? Touchdown. Oh, no,
Sander Dur 44:11
I mean in the actual finales This is such a you’re
Ryan Brook 44:18
the soup the soup. Yes, thank
Sander Dur 44:19
you very much the Super Bowl. Right? This felt to me like the Super Bowl off the entire journey. This is where I got a this is where I got to perform. Well, I got down from that cloud. It wasn’t it was a lovely experience in my my training was Stephanie Okrent. Again, fantastic person. I love her. But it’s not that big of a deal as I made it. And that’s fun to see how it can can skew these kinds of things. Well, I’ve never experienced it so I don’t know anything about there was so much good feedback that really helped me develop helped me grow as a teacher. And that’s that’s the thing with a train the trainer for some reason the name already says it. It’s about training you making you better not about performing. This is really that next step making you better and preparing you for the peer review as well. How was that for you? How was that the experience of the drain the drain.
Ryan Brook 45:24
So I really enjoyed it, I’m an over prepare. So I they don’t share much about what’s involved in that third day. I think that’s important. And I’m not going to share it now. But anybody taking part in it can expect to practice their teaching and their training skills around professional Scrum. I don’t think that’s unfair to say. But I was a teacher for five years. In a secondary school, I was ahead of subject I was very used to training and using different styles to convey. However, even I was, you know, we use different skills when we’re training virtually, which I’d never had to do. But it was a great experience. And I think the thing that really came across to me, with all the stages, as I’ve said before, I didn’t go into it feeling like it was a pass fail. Or certainly didn’t leave that way. I might have had that mentality going in a little bit. But at the end, it was about right let’s have a debrief with in my case, two fantastic trainers. Pawel called Stuart he though at the time but also of course Judo Bosco and definitely absolutely legend. Yeah, there’s
Sander Dur 46:33
a good reason to trainer in the back in the day.
Ryan Brook 46:38
Oh, just to. He does fantastic. And Pavel likewise. And they just sat down and they gave feedback and it was never, you’ve passed. Congratulations. It was you’ve you’ve done enough to move forward. You know, we’re happy in that you’ve met this, this bar that doesn’t really exist. But you know, you’ve done enough to persuade us that you can move forward. And I really enjoyed that. I got some great feedback that I’ve certainly taken forward. And yeah, it was even if you struggle with the TGT. It’s not a Hey, get out the program. It’s let’s take some of the pieces that you were less strong up. Let’s maybe record some videos. Let’s do some code training. Let’s do more. But it’s never you have failed believe. And I think that’s really important for me taking the journey. Because a lot of that cognitive load that worry was gone.
Sander Dur 47:34
I you were by yourself in naturally.
Ryan Brook 47:39
I might what sorry. a worrier.
Sander Dur 47:41
Not a warrior, but someone who worries Oh, a warrior.
Ryan Brook 47:44
Warrior, I wouldn’t use that word. I definitely care about what people think of me. And I definitely always try. Now I would, I would stick with my I’m an over planner. I plan to much. I’m definitely a cynic. In that I always think the worst. But I also accept that that’s a reality sometimes. So I’m okay. Living in the moment. But if I can plan for something, I will do
Sander Dur 48:18
fairpoint make sense.
Ryan Brook 48:22
Also, I just don’t like the word worry. Probably because it makes me feel like my mum
Sander Dur 48:29
she must be a lovely lady. Yeah,
Ryan Brook 48:33
I mean, I’ll be honest, she’s probably not going to listen sander. But you never know. I know I it’s just yeah, I think I think parents as well. And I feel that now I’ve got two I know you’ve got three Hey, that’s that’s complexity at its core, right?
Sander Dur 48:48
Kids, by the way, now I’m gonna do naturally,
Ryan Brook 48:49
kids. You do worry you you are concerned and you think through different scenarios. The reason I fight against the word worry is because I accept the outcome of all those is perfectly possible. And I’m happy with all of them. Obviously, I’d prefer some, but I think worrying is feeling like you couldn’t handle something. And I don’t feel like that. I just got better over time. But yeah, that
Sander Dur 49:16
will continuously evolve. I mean, you get into different stages of life, and then different stages of your PTSD journey. So these things continuously evolve. And I think that’s that’s where allowance lows, Bonomo was my, my coach throughout those years, where bar and belly over him told me back in the day, like this is something that you can ask for, it’s not actively being promoted, but you can ask for a coach when it comes to the PhD journey. So Lauren’s already generously prepared me saying, hey, 95% and this is not to put you down but the 95% fails in the first attempt during the peer review. Alright, and that’s how I went into the peer review. This is I’m not going to pass. This is going to be for me an opportunity to inspect and adapt delay there and working, and just improve. And they’ll see you again on the next attempt. And if I don’t make that, I mean, I did five exams in PSM three, I can take a couple of the peer reviews as well. And the peer reviews are, are more enjoyable because you’re not It’s not a race against the clock is just having a nice discussion with beers and talking to them. And there’s, there’s so different and so much more of a nice experience rather than the PSM three to me. How do you feel about your PC? It’s
Ryan Brook 50:33
definitely it’s definitely, I think it was, it’s definitely rigorous. I don’t want that to anyone listening to think that it’s easy. It’s not easy, it is tough. And it’s intentionally tough. I think it’s important that it’s tough. Because if you if you’re paying 1000 pounds $1,200 for a professional scrum class, you want to know that the person who’s training you knows their stuff, and it’s been vetted and checked. Out? Hey, man, I got some questions that are due, you know, what you just think? Where did those questions from? And but actually, sometimes you can say, I don’t know. But it’s the way you handle it. They’re trying to prepare you as a trainer. Sometimes you said, You know what? That’s a really great question. But it’s not a question that we answer, or is probably relevant to the other six people in the class, maybe we take you to a coffee break.
Sander Dur 51:20
And that’s the thing, they don’t expect you to know everything and all. It’s okay to say, I don’t know. What do you think? And then to make absolutely give me a bit of more of an organic conversation rather than? And that’s what a lot of people do try to fit in an answer. With that sub optimal. Let’s put it like that at best. Well, you know, I don’t know. And if you know that, if you’re you’re aware that you don’t know, just say I don’t know.
Ryan Brook 51:52
Yes, it’s better than making it up and getting it wrong. Exactly.
Sander Dur 51:55
Because people will poke through that we will have a knack for for knowing when you’re lying. Because that’s basically what it is. Right? You’re lying that you know, because you don’t be honest. Oh, yes. Be transparent. So I don’t know.
Ryan Brook 52:10
Yeah. The bullshit sniffers as I call them. And they there will be those people and that’s okay. Right? They will they also sometimes some some trip. Students, they want to challenge you. And that is their right? They’ve paid to attend a class, if they want to ask a tough question. They can ask a tough question. They will. And they will. And that’s okay. We are there. We’re not going to pretend we know everything. But we will certainly give it a go and try to give you the value that you want from
Sander Dur 52:36
What’s the toughest question that anyone has ever asked you, during QA know exactly this question. You know, there are always those questions that will stick to you forever.
Ryan Brook 52:46
Yeah, I will tell you, but you do not make the answer. And the question was, how can the definition of Done? Or how can a strong definition of Done help you to produce more increments per sprint? was a good one? It’s a great question. And I took you know, take it on the chin have a go at it. But it’s just one of those questions where sometimes there isn’t a right answer.
Sander Dur 53:14
I’m curious for anyone who’s listening in the US who’s deep into this podcast still listening? Because we’re almost an hour in. And kudos to you for for bearing with us. I’m curious about your your perspective as well. If you hear this question, Ryan, just that just told. Let us know your thoughts.
Ryan Brook 53:36
Please let me know and I will use it for my next professional scrum trainer, instruct training class.
Sander Dur 53:43
And then you’re in then you’re in the community, you’ll be added into Slack, you’ll be into the DPC slack that you’re going to be handled with, with a ton of emails where you can find information where you can find the curriculum, you’ll be displayed on LinkedIn as well and Twitter and those kinds of social media. And you’ll get a I didn’t know I was with you, Ryan, but you’ll get a ton of requests and connection requests from other people. And then you’re there. Then you made it, you’re sad to cut,
Ryan Brook 54:16
be pay your fee. You then licensed the train the class that you came through on CpSm. But then once you’re in the community, you are pending other requirements able to apply to teach other classes. Then you’ve got two types of classes. You’ve got public ones that you will see online on scrum Doc’s website, and you also have private one. So professional scrum trainers do not work for scrum.org is important to put that across we We are licensed to train the classes we pay a license fee to do so. But for example, the majority of the classes I train are private where an organization would come to me and say I’ve got 10 people that’s never advertised we don’t take people from from general public. And yeah, that’s that’s sometimes you’ll see a lot of trainers maybe on scrum.org If you filter for someone and it says they don’t have any classes. How can that be? Well, a some of them are full time consultants and don’t have the time or be they just do a lot of their work privately. So drop them a message if you want to join or create one. And I’m sure they’ll get to
Sander Dur 55:12
exactly. And there’s good to know thank you reference it, you just quickly went through it earlier. But going to a face to face Trainer meeting every year, once a year is a requirement. Luckily, there are virtual as well. So I ended up whether there was the case before COVID as well, but they’re now virtual as well. Personally, I’m going to be attending them one in Burlington again in September. They’re all throughout throughout the world to scrum The Lord does try to accommodate for your location so that you don’t have to travel the world specifically. You mentioned there’s one and that
Ryan Brook 55:46
there is usually an expectation to travel. Yeah. You mentioned there’s this but we had an Iceland this year.
Sander Dur 55:53
Yeah, I just think it’s brilliant. Yeah. And there’s one like you mentioned in Amsterdam, and the, the end of the month of the end of in two weeks from now from this and the time of this recording, which I couldn’t attend because it was already signed, completely. I was full, and it doesn’t meet my client’s agenda as well. So I have the luck to travel to the US again, which I’m really looking forward to especially because it has been a couple of years that we have been able to travel to the US, thanks to the whole COVID situation. So thank you face to face.
Ryan Brook 56:29
Absolutely. Well, I will, I will quite happily buy you a beer. If you pick me up from the airport. Like you said,
Sander Dur 56:35
depending on the time that you were going to pick you up in the middle of the night.
Ryan Brook 56:40
Oh no, man, it’s all good. It’s all good. I’ll buy you a beer either way.
Sander Dur 56:43
Sounds good. Scrum, the dog is always actively looking for more drainers and looking for more diversity and more female trainers at this point. And for that we’re gonna have Leslie Morse talking us through and telling us more about that. But before we do that, Ryan, if there’s any, anything that you would like to advise to people who are about to start to journey or willing to start the journey, pondering, what would it be?
Ryan Brook 57:09
Talk to someone who’s done it. Connect with someone create community, just go for a virtual coffee or a physical coffee. Depending on where you’re located. To get an honest opinion of it. Don’t let the worries don’t let it seem an insurmountable mountain. You know, because it’s not. It is a journey for a very good reason. And just enjoy it.
Sander Dur 57:34
And I’m active prove that could take a while to to conquer this mountain, but it definitely can be done. Speaking of no are familiar PSTN people already done it? You’re you’re one of those PCs? I’m one where can people find you?
Ryan Brook 57:52
So you can find me on LinkedIn, you can find me via the organization I work for up to then so up to learn dot code at UK. I also have a link tree, Twitter, Instagram, you name it. I do try. The only thing I don’t do is tick tock because I’m not I feel like I’m not young enough. But hey, maybe maybe maybe in future, but I’m more than happy to chat to people if you want. If you have training requirements you want to know about second class. Just reach out and we’ll we’ll just arrange a zero obligation chat just friend different. Awesome.
Sander Dur 58:28
Right. And thank you very much for being here and looking forward to the year and always love our discussions. Thank you, man.
Ryan Brook 58:33
You’re welcome. Have a nice evening center.
Sander Dur 58:36
And that’s it for this week’s episode of the mastering agility podcast. I hope you learn how our journeys were how this could be applicable to you and what it takes to become a professional scrum trainer and join the awesome community of Scrum. Nador strainers. Again, I still really like it still enjoy it. I really enjoy providing these courses so I’m hoping to have you in the future classes. Well, speaking of which, I’m teaching classes both in Europe as well as in the US are developing especially to George area. So if you want to know know more about that and where you can join my classes. Feel free to hit me up on either LinkedIn. The website of Scrum.org, email, WhatsApp you name and join the discord community. You can ask me anything. Hope to see you guys there.