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“Scrum – Una Guida Tascabile” is now widely available

As I was working on the second edition of my pocket guide to Scrum in 2018, Michael F Forni proposed to create an Italian translation of my book. It was the start of a collaborative endeavour, in which he got help from Fabio Panzavolta and Aniello Di Florio, towards self-publishing the translation.

I am humbled and honoured for announcing that the result is now available as Scrum – Una Guida Tascabile (Un compagno di viaggio smart)“, in Kindle and in paperback format via Amazon.

I wish all Italian speaking friends of Scrum much joy reading my translated thoughts, beliefs and considerations of Scrum, that simple framework to address complex challenges. I feel forever indebted to Michael, Fabio and Aniello for making my book available for all Italian readers, and to Barbara Knijff of Jellylab for creating the cover.

Loving regards
independent Scrum Caretaker

Here is how Michael, Fabio and Aniello introduced their work in the book:

Nel ringraziare Gunther per questa fantastica opportunità – consapevoli della grande responsabilità che porta il compito di tradurre un così importante testo divulgativo come la sua Guida a Scrum – chiediamo al lettore di essere comprensivo e di focalizzarsi il più possibile sulla sostanza del pensiero dell’autore, piuttosto che sulla forma di volta in volta scelta dal traduttore: il reale valore di manuali come questo non sta infatti nel successo – o meno – di riuscire a cogliere esattamente il senso della singola parola o frase, bensì quello di trasmetterne efficacemente i concetti, gli esempi e le pratiche da applicare al proprio contesto individuale.

Per la traduzione della terminologia Scrum, ferma restando l’assoluta inopportunità, pienamente condivisa con l’autore, di modificare o storpiare i consolidati sostantivi caratterizzanti del framework (oramai divenuti d’uso comune nella Comunità Internazionale degli Agile practitioners) – sono state tenute in debita considerazione: 1) le traduzioni passate ed attuale delle versioni in Italiano de “La Guida a Scrum” 2) il lessico oramai d’uso comune tra i praticanti di Scrum 3) la nostra sensibilità di bilingue, che naturalmente risente delle esperienze personali.

Contiamo che il lettore sia indulgente e non ce ne voglia; qualora rilevasse errori, imprecisioni o volesse dare il proprio contributo migliorativo, saremo felici di essere contattati per apportare ulteriore valore a quest’opera.

Buona lettura!

Michael Fabrizio Forni – Co-traduttore e curatore dell’opera
Fabio Panzavolta – Co-traduttore
Aniello Di Florio – Correttore bozze


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I have been employed by different enterprises, large and small. I never had the ambition to be a wild duck 🦆, though I typically ended up being seen, treated and described as one anyhow. How strange as I am someone who habitually avoids rather than looks for conflict. How strange to always end up being the person that the powers that be would love to hate, but can’t get beyond ignoring. It is hardly comforting that most instances only get to the stage of tolerating me while ignoring me.

There is no having friends for those not having enemies.

Wild ducks are “bad for business,” say the powers that be, enthusiastically supported by the business suits, the career hunters, the position addicts. Yet, every time I decided to leave an enterprise the drama couldn’t have been bigger. How strange that it was even worse “for business” that I would leave. Honestly, the expected disasters never actually materialized. No company ever went out of business over this maverick duck flying off.

Although I know a few people that prefer calling me a Scrum panda 🐼, wilfully choosing the path of independent Scrum Caretaker ultimately lead to me feeling more like a butterfly 🦋 today. Like a butterfly, I flap my wings. I observe, I create, I connect, I share. Like a butterfly flapping its wings I do it because it is in my nature, not because I envision specific consequences, big or small, or set goals or targets, hard or soft. Most consequences are inherently unpredictable anyhow.

More than often I see how my ideas get used and re-used without consultation, citing or other forms of attribution. I am flabbergasted by it. Likely unintended (people not thinking twice), but there is a smell of disrespect. Much worse is it when my ideas are altered, turned simplistic, changed into stereotypes, their sfumato masked and concealed in black and white boxes, when concepts are twisted, cut up, even butchered. That is… theft. No words can describe my emotions over this.

Regardless the lost art of attribution and the hurt it causes, I keep flapping my wings. Observing, creating, connecting, and sharing is in my nature. It makes no sense for a butterfly to stop flapping (or even try to). I’m not sure how that is for a wild duck.

It took time to realize, accept and embrace that most things take time, especially creating who you are. Is the tortoise 🐢 in me gradually taking control?

The toughest fight in life in the end is the fight of not having to turn bitter.

(Louis Paul Boon – “My little war,” 1947)

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At some point in time the term “Framework” became really fashionable. I don’t remember when it was exactly, but it was when smart businessmen assumed it was better for sales, as commonly used terms like methodology or process got burned. At least, that can be seen as an achievement too. Most likely they guessed it explained the wide adoption of Scrum, and aspired the same ’success’.

Today, the word is omnipresent and can surely be added to the list of most misunderstood words in the world of “Agile”. That does not change the fact that we did not start using the word lightly in the past. It was not about marketing or selling. It was about sincerely describing the lightweight nature of Scrum, as a simple set of rules, principles and values that define a framework for inspection and adaptation, a way for people to address complex challenges.

Regardless of fashion of the day and obfuscation, this is not a term to leave to the sharks. Language matters. Scrum is a framework, not a methodology, as I described in 2013 and in my book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide”.

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The international versions of the Scrum Values (September 2018)

In May 2013 I described how there is value in the Scrum Values. I included that text in my book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide” that was published in November 2013. Early in 2018 I updated my description slightly to be included in a revision of my book that I anticipate. A group of Scrum enthusiasts subsequently translated that updated version to different languages.

The last incremental update of the September 2018 release of the international versions of the Scrum Values is now available, as a free download (PDF): The Scrum Values (international versions) -September 2018 (R3).

Early in September following new languages were released as a new baseline version: Filipino-Tagalog, Indian-Hindi, Polish, and Spanish. Throughout September we went into a continuous delivery mode and released additional languages as they became available: Persian, Arabic, and Danish.

A poster of the international versions of the Scrum Values is available as a free download (PNG): The Scrum Values (International Versions poster).

Share my gratitude that following people spent quite some of their valuable time on this initiative to make these translations available for you:

  • Arabic: Rasheed Raya.
  • Chinese (simp/trad): Lana Sun, Wei Lun Teh, Chee-Hong Hsia.
  • Danish: Mikkel Toudal Kristiansen.
  • Filipino: Shirley Santiago, Warren Yu.
  • French: Fabio Panzavolta, Mohamed Gargouri.
  • German: Uwe Schirmer, Peter Götz, Dominik Maximini.
  • Hindi: Punit Doshi, Hiren Doshi, Nagesh Sharma.
  • Italian: Michael F. Forni.
  • Persian: Mehdi Hoseini.
  • Polish: Krystian Kaczor.
  • Portuguese: Leonardo Bittencourt.
  • Russian: Konstantin Razumovsky.
  • Spanish: Pablo Bernardo.
  • Turkish: ilkay Polat, Lemi Orhan Ergin.

In the document you will also find my Dutch translation. I maintain the base English version on the Scrum Values section of my website.

All feedback is welcome. Sharing of the PDF is equally encouraged.

Warm regards

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Scrum Glossary (International Versions, April 2018)

By the end of 2017 I updated the Scrum Glossary of my book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide” (2013). A group of Scrum enthusiasts subsequently translated that updated version to different languages. A first release of those international versions was done in March 2018.

The new, April 2018, release of the international versions is now available, as a free download (PDF): Scrum Glossary (International versions) -April 2018

  • Four new languages were added: Filipino-Tagalog, French, Indian-Hindi, Turkish.
  • The definition for “Definition of Done” was rephrased.
  • A definition for “Product” was added.

Share my gratitude that following people spent quite some of their valuable time on this initiative to make these translations available for you:

  • Chinese (simp/trad): Lana Sun, Wei Lun Teh, Chee-Hong Hsia
  • Danish: Rasmus Kaae
  • Filipino: Shirley Santiago, Warren Yu
  • French: Fabio Panzavolta, Mohamed Gargouri
  • German: Uwe Schirmer, Peter Götz, Dominik Maximini
  • Hindi: Punit Doshi, Hiren Doshi
  • Italian: Michael F. Forni
  • Polish: Paweł Feliński
  • Portuguese: Leonardo Bittencourt
  • Russian: Konstantin Razumovsky
  • Spanish: Alex Ballarin
  • Turkish: Ilkay Polat, Lemi Orhan Ergin

In the document you will also find my Dutch translation. I maintain the base English version on the Scrum Glossary section of my website.

All feedback is welcome. Sharing of the PDF is equally encouraged.

Warm regards

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Blog Statistics (country views)

On Valentine’s Day of 2008 I started my blog “” with a first blog post. The URL still exists but is now redirected to “”.

Since that day I have created 457 posts. The past years I blogged primarily about Scrum, and rather occasionally still about my love for books, music and my family.

I am mostly amazed by the global reach of my musings. The statistics show that my blog was visited by people from 182 countries. The top 10 countries (5,5%) account for 75% of all traffic.

Another 20% of all traffic is by visitors from an additional 30 countries (16,5%). So, 95% of all traffic on my site is generated by visitors from 40 countries, i.e. 22% of all countries. That leaves 142 countries, 78% of all countries, accounting for the remaining 5% of traffic.

Hereby a huge thanks and a big hug to my international readers, followers, likers, sharers. You mean the world to me.


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Aan het einde van de kim, (de) WIL. Onbereikbaar?

olyslaegers-jeroen-wilWIL brengt ons het levensverhaal van de genaamde Wils, Wilfried, Antwerpenaar. Zijn levensverhaal wordt volledig overschaduwd door WO II, toen Wils en zijn kameraad Lode hulpagent waren in Antwerpen. Zeker wat Wils betrof, was dit een opportunistische arbeidskeuze. Zo kon hij ontsnappen aan de verplichte arbeid in Duitsland. Het ambiguë gevolg was dan wel dat hij geacht werd andere arbeidsonwilligen in de kraag te vatten. En erger.

Alhoewel Wils heimelijk eigenlijk het serieuze dichterschap ambieert, lijkt zijn voornaamste talent te zijn: overleven. Ambitieloos schippert hij tussen oorlog en vrede, tussen bezetter en verzet, tussen participatie en onthouding, tussen Duitsers en Joden, tussen werkplicht en razzia’s, tussen smeerlap en behager.

De genaamde Jeroen Olyslaegers, getalenteerd schrijver, laat Wilfried Wils, overgrootvader intussen, vandaag zijn verhaal brengen in een indrukwekkende terugblik van zo’n slordige 300 pagina’s. Wils blikt terug op zijn leven, zijn huwelijk, de oorlogsperiode en het leven erna, alhoewel de schaduw van de oorlog veel, zoniet alles, bepaalt. Alsof de klok haar tikken stopte rond ’45. De lezer leert Wilfried Wils kennen als een man die zijn wil wil doen gelden, daar glorieus in faalt, herhaaldelijk, overleeft en voortkrabbelt, herhaaldelijk.

Jeroen Olyslaegers brengt ons met WIL een indringend onderzoek naar de zucht naar normaliteit, het stilzwijgende verlangen om steeds weer zo snel mogelijk, wat er ook gebeurt, over te gaan tot de orde van de dag. Jeroen schetst ons de veranderende gezichten van een stad tijdens de bezetting, het dagelijks leven in een bezette stad, in straten en verdonkerde huizen vergeven van de normaalzucht, ver weg van prozaïsche helden vs. verachtelijke misdadigers. De stad zelf krijgt daarin een eigen stem, terwijl er door haar bevolking meer wordt gezwegen dan gepraat, in de illusie dat dan alles snel weer normaal zal worden. Zwijgen en normaalzucht gaan er hand in hand, in het bezette leven in deze bezette stad.

Genadeloos toont de schrijver ons het laffe zwijgen, en het verdoken verraad dat erin verscholen ligt. Maar de auteur vergoelijkt, oordeelt noch veroordeelt, alsof ook hij over en weer geslingerd wordt tussen de liefde voor de mens, geportretteerd in zijn personages, en de afschuw voor hun daden, alsof ook hij weet dat de grens tussen lafheid en slechtheid moeilijk te trekken is, alhoewel ze wel bestaat. We worden mede-verstekelingen op de schepen genaamd “Leven”, de oceaanstomer genaamd “Maatschappij”. Verstoken van overtuigingen die kunnen uitgesproken worden. We worden allen stilzwijgende neutralen. Toch neemt WIL ons mee tot voorbij het punt waar zwijgen nog een optie is.

Stilte is in zekere zin, en in meerdere lagen, ook de grote kracht van WIL. Zoals we van hem gewend zijn, hanteert Jeroen een overweldigende en rijke taal in WIL, en daarenboven een prachtig Vlaams dat netjes laveert tussen gesproken klank en geschreven inkt, tussen stedelijk volks en verheven poëticaal. Jeroen staat, bij mij alvast, bekend vanwege een stevige overdrive en overdaad, in beelden, in drukte, in woorden. Wel, in WIL is zijn taal nog steeds mooi en rijk, maar blijft hij weg van zijn over-taal. Hij laat de gebeurtenissen, vaak in alle gruwelijkheid, voor zich spreken. Er komt geen onnodig gemoraliseer aan te pas, geen gedramatiseer. Net daarom is het zo’n kopstoot. Wils brengt het verhaal, Olyslaegers is onthecht. Net daarom komen de beschreven gebeurtenissen zo hard binnen. De horror en de gruwel komen onversneden tot de lezer. Maar de schrijvende schepper stelt zich oordeelloos op. Hij zoekt geen excuses, maar gedraagt zich ook niet als rechter.

Het is niet moeilijk de link te zien met hedendaagse thema’s en burgemeesters, maatschappelijk engagement, migratie en vreemden, politieke en andere retoriek, het neo-populisme. Dat is een sterk (s)taaltje, teksten schrijven gebaseerd op een mid-vorige eeuwse periode zodat lezing ervan ook vandaag relevant is. Misschien ook wel beangstigend. Sommige passages kunnen letterlijk, zonder één letter te wijzigen, hergebruikt worden in het Antwerpen en Vlaanderen anno 2016. Voorwaar. WIL is echter geen simplistisch pamflet, het bevat geen lineaire zwart-wit meningen of oordelen, maar toont ons de complexe inter-menselijkheid achter -soms bijzonder gruwelijke- feiten. WIL toont de vele facetten van de diamant, het steentje, de illusie genaamd “waarheid”.

Er is de WIL tot Macht. Er is de onWIL tot spreken. De WIL van de angst en de wrok, voor de Ander, de WIL tot het Grote Zwijgen. En er is WIL van Jeroen Olyslaegers. Verder heb ik zelf geen mening, doe ik er liever het zwijgen toe. Per slot van rekening heb ik hier niet voor gestudeerd, en zijn het mijn zaken niet, de literatuur. En laat me dan ook maar voorbij gaan aan de gigantische hoeveelheden research die dit boek duidelijk gekost hebben.

Evidenter is het om te genieten van de prachtige cover. Gestileerd, dreigend. De sfeer van een bezette stad, de herinnering aan de cover van Bezette Stad van die andere Antwerpenaar, de dichter Van Ostaijen. En cinema uit het interbellum, signatuur Fritz Lang en co.


Ik begrijp dat de ware literatici veelvuldig verwijzen naar Claus, Boon en andere grootheden. Dat is helemaal terecht, omdat WIL in een grootse literaire traditie thuishoort, maar niet omdat het een afkooksel of kopie is van. Een loutere vergelijking doet allen tekort. WIL is vintage Olyslaegers, een gigant op zich, die zijn stem verder heeft ontwikkeld, in beheersing. Vintage de nieuwe Olyslaegers, die net is opgestaan.

Ik kijk en zie. Aan het einde van de kim, de incarnatie van Angelo. De diamanten gevonden. Achterin de kast, inderdaad.

Dank je, Jeroen.

de Man op de Foto

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2016. More or less.

There is much we can leave behind. There is much we need more of, by needing less. Artefacts in my home office remind me of essential ingredients.

Wisdom. Health (also: sanity). Poetry (broadly: words, music, writings). Love.
And coffee.


Over time I have come to realise that the main inner purpose driving me is to make a difference. To people (not minding orgs and structures). Aspiring to inspire with integrity and dignity (not minding careers and demigods). Scrum.

It’s been my path so far. The human trail I left behind is my testimony. And Scrum, seriously. The journey into the unknown futures will continually define who I am, some identity. A path to be discovered.

Nothing of this would be possible without my family; without the love of my life (Atelier Ullizee) and our kids.

What is most essential in your life? What is your ‘why’? Remind yourself what is important to you. Live by it. Live toward it.

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Celebrating two years at (#frwrks)

March 2013, Amsterdam. Ken Schwaber and I semi-simultaneously express the thought that there is likely more value in us engaging in a close partnership. We already have a pretty intense collaboration at the time. I decide to leave consulting, a well-known environment that I have been in for twelve years. I take some time off, do a couple of Professional Scrum classes, and lay the foundation for my book „Scrum – A Pocket Guide (A smart travel companion)“.

June 1 2013, Boston-Antwerp. I embark on this somewhat unexpected journey of working at the home of Scrum,

Over these past two years a three-fold pattern of activities emerged being part of the team:

  • Shepherding the Professional series. Developing and sustaining Professional Scrum assessments and courseware, training trainers, working with the global community of Professional Scrum experts and within the small-ish, creative organization of
  • Representing Ken and in Europe. Visiting partners and friends of, and taking up speaking and learning engagements.
  • Teaming up with Ken. Engaging in all sorts of interesting development activities, with the most important thread probably being the road from Agility Path to Scaled Professional Scrum and the Nexus.

Not working for a traditional enterprise turned out such a relief, the end of thinking and acting in terms of money and commercial motives only. No hour-based work, no office hours, working (mainly) from my home office, no timesheets. Instead mission-driven efforts, autonomy and valuable goals. Money is obviously important, up to the level of being able to pay our people a decent salary and to invest in the community. Beyond that however our goal is to support people, teams, organisations, with resources for assessment, improvement, maturing Scrum, growing professionalism, improving the profession of software development. It is not the most common model for a business, but it is what we do.

The two years at have shown me that there IS an alternative to the traditional way to run a business, an alternative that is financially viable, yet doesn’t revolve exclusively around financials.

Over these two years I’ve maintained mental stability, remained sane. No different than in every other environment I’ve worked in before, I’ve had my crises, my identity doubts, my ups and downs. I’ve come to terms with aspects of me that used to confuse me in the past, often in my past positions as Scrum Master. I’ve come to terms with blending in and still not fitting in. The best and most fascinating relationships are developed by not fitting in. It took me years to accept that, let alone exploit that. It’s a solid basis to continue my journey, my remarkable cobblestone path.

I wish you all the best. I thank you for all the inspiration. I am proud to be able to continue serving many Scrum professionals around the globe.


Shepherding the Professional series

Ullizee -Seal

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2014 in review – Blog statistics (Gunther Verheyen)

2014 has been, in many regards, a fascinating and surprising year. Part of it is reflected on my blog, the part that says how important Scrum has become in my life. The majority of my blog notes are about Scrum. It also is an indication that my writing energy was spent on this, and not on the many personal topics and interests that I also wanted to blog about. Life is hard, life is full of choices.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for my blog. If you’re into statistics, enjoy it.

Best wishes for 2015

Warm regards

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.