In this episode Sjoerd chats with Danny de Wild, agile coach and change agent. Danny currently works for Prowareness as a consultant, and has worked in the Dutch Police for many years before, playing a key part in using agile to improve police work.
We explore Danny’s personal experiments and lessons, how being a consultant adds a different dynamic to agile coaching from being an internal employee. Expect topics like ownership, culture and how transparency helps improve and collaborate. We also discuss facilitation, the importance of preparation and power of small talk for safety and participation. Danny also shares his most recent learning about Karpman’s Drama Triangle and how he puts it to practice when coaching individuals and their interactions.
Like every episode, Danny also answers and asks a great question. What it is? Listen and find out! I also put the idea out there to answer all the questions as Scrum Facilitators, so now that it’s out there, we might have to actually do it!
Are you working with Scrum or Agile and have similar stories and tips to share? Or do you know someone that you want to voluntell to be a guest? Reach out!
Are you working with Scrum/Agile and have similar stories and tips to share? Or do you know someone that you want to voluntell to be a guest? Reach out! firstname.lastname@example.org
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This this agile organization was my little baby and it was mine. Welcome to the Scrum Facilitators Community Podcast. The place for real conversations around Scrum. Hi and welcome to the Scrum Facilitators Community Podcast. I am your host, Sjoerd Kranendonk. And today I'm talking to Danny de Wild a former colleague of mine, about a, I hope interesting topic comparing acting as a consultant as a change agent or scrum master, agile coach versus an internal position where you tried to change things. And of course, we hope to bring interesting stories and insights from Danny's experience. We both know each other because I'm currently working at the Dutch police as a Scrum master. And Danny, of course, worked there for a long time at the Dutch police, and we kind of switched places because I used to work at a consultancy company, and that's where Danny is working at now. So before I spoil too much, this is about setting the scene. Let's, let's see who Danny is actually in, in the words of his friends. So, Danny, how would your friends describe you? In about two sentences? Well, hi, Sjoerd Thanks for having me. First of all, a lovely question to start off with. What I hope that they will say, and I haven't checked, but I hope they will say that I'm someone who enjoys life. Most of all. Always up for a laugh and caring for those around him. And so in about one or two sentences. Yes, it is. It is. And to add to it, because we know each other, I would say, from a colleague perspective, because that's also relevant probably that you're someone that has a great drive to improve things. And also someone that knows how to make it happen. Most of the time. It will not be for lack of effort or skills on your part. I think. So that's that's great. So now we're talking about work. What do you love most about your job, your current job? Um, well, maybe in any job, what I love the most is really, really, truly connecting with with my coworkers or the people around me. I think that's that's one of the most important things for me in my job is to have a proper connection with those around me and having fun with them, while also reaching the goals that you that you want to achieve. So those two pillars, those are the most important things for me and are the things that I love. The most about my job as well. Oh, cool. So why is having a laugh and having fun important in doing your job? In the end, the world out there is serious enough. In the end, we're all just humans, just human beings and. Yeah, we're here to do a job. But no one says that can't be fun, right? Like, my, my dad used to tell me when I was just a little kid. You probably have to work for about 40 hours a week. You better do something that you like. I think it's something that I took along in the rest of my life. Um, yeah, I need to get. I need to get paid somehow. I need to get some money to to to pay the rent and to buy groceries for my kids. Why not do that with a smile on your face? Awesome. Awesome. And I really recognized that also from our collaborations. So thank you and thank you for sharing that wisdom of your father with the listeners. Yeah, I think he'll he'll be proud. Yeah. That's. That's nice. So. Hi, Dad. Yeah. So let's move on to a challenge, because that's that's the thing that we can often learn a lot from, is we discuss challenges and how we're overcoming them or how we are working on them. So do you have a nice challenge that you can discuss with us that you maybe already overcame and how you did that or maybe you're working on it currently? I don't know. Yeah, I think I have a pretty recent one and one. I'm, uh, working on, um, as of today or the last couple of months actually. And I'm, I think I'm about to figure it out as well. Um, yeah. And it's about, it's about ownership. And like you said, I've, I've had work before within the Dutch police where I was just, ah, just, I was an internal colleague of yours as well. And I try to make the police organization a little bit more agile. Yes. And that was a big task. We were ah, with about 70,000 colleagues out there. So it's, it's pretty hard to, to reach them all. But it always felt like this, this agile organization was my little baby and it was mine. And I had some, some sort of ownership on, on the topic. Um, so, so I really pushed forward to, um, to make it happen. And the downside was that during the weekends you were always on your job as well, or at least thinking about it. And then I moved over to a consultancy company, where I've been working now for about nine months and the first couple of months I struggled a little bit with what I felt was a lack of ownership. Um, it wasn't my process or my transformation anymore. No it was someone else's transformation within a company that I hardly knew. Um, and suddenly there I was being the so-called expert, um, more advising than actually doing it yourself. Yeah. And for the, for the record, the company whose transformation we are talking about is not PW itself right. It's, it's a client of you that you consult with at the moment. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Well, like you said, I'm a consultant for external parties and the company that I work for now, it is PW but um, so this, this lack of ownership, I felt like the first couple of months I found it hard and the first weeks of, oh, well, this is quite all right. I'm able to, to take some distance from, from the content and have some weekends off, have some evenings off just by yourself or close on your laptop. And that's it. But after a couple of weeks, I felt like, well, this is really something for me. Like, what do I feel the the drive and the energy to, to keep pushing forward. And the fun thing is with the company that I work for now with PW, we're really into transparency and made it able for me to actually express my feelings and my struggles and to talk about it with some of my colleagues who well, some of them understood. I said, Yeah, I recognize it. And I said, Well, I haven't been in that position before, but I had the chance to talk about it and I think that was one of the first things that I thought, Well, this is not something to walk away from. This is something I want to face. And by facing it, I mean actually doing something about it. And it started off with a first step on on talking about it with some of my colleagues. And from that really stepping forward and really glad I did. Um, because now I'm already in a position that I feel more of that ownership coming back again. And, and I know upfront I told myself I need to take it over to give it at least six months before I can actually, you know, give a little bit of a judgment on how does it suit me this this new type of role. And I glad I gave it the time because now I really enjoy my work again. And because you grow into a new company in a new assignment, um, you get that little bit of ownership feeling, you get it back again. Yeah, that's a, that's an awesome story about making a personal transition actually in your work. And when you started out answering this question, I got the the sense that you found it difficult to feel ownership and maybe also involvement in the problems at your customer. Because your, and I recognize this from when I was doing consulting and even now sometimes when I consult internally in the police with a colleague or whatever, that you're getting, trying to get a grip on the problem, you're hearing a lot of stories and and things people are frustrated about, stuff like that. But we don't see the possible solutions yet. Right, or we don't feel like we know what's really up, what's really the problem. So this is, of course, difficult if you want to feel ownership, but maybe you can explain a bit about how this changed maybe in your transition and what do you feel ownership over now as a consultant? Um, yeah, of course. I like I mentioned before, I worked at the police where I, I knew the processes, I knew the product that we as a police were making. So I knew how I could improve those. So if I had any chat with any particular colleague I knew how to say something, something that looked a little bit smart for at this stage, I'm working within IT. And to be honest, I'm not the best in in i.t work. You don't need me to get any coding. That ain't going to happen. Yeah. So that, that makes it hard to, to, to say something smart about how you could improve. I went back to my basic, um, to figure out what I'm best at and I think there're a couple of things I do quite right. Um, that's about a facilitating team processes or team meetings or bigger meetings and that I think I do quite alright on that part and, and I know how to make a, a, a workflow or a process a little bit better and it's not always necessary to, to know all the details to make your workflow a little bit better. So I got back to, to where my main skills are and from that part started evolving again. So, so at this stage with within my customer, I'm responsible for, for instance, for the, the process like a scrum master for its information team and coming from that direction, I can, I can coach, I can consult the transformation team themselves in order to, to make improvements. So we're really getting back to my own basics where what is it that I'm good at? I start from there again. Oh, and that's that's probably also good advice for Scrum Masters out there and coaches and consultants. It really depends on the field you're consulting on, of course, but especially if you're doing it in a in some sort of agile setting where you want to not only be able to feel ownership over something, that you can have ownership over as a as a consultant, but also create ownership in a company of the change they are going through and you're helping them with. It's very, very helpful to take that step back, to not be able to fill in the blanks for the customer. Right. Because then they won't learn from themselves. So actually, this is a great strength, I think, of having an external consultant onsite or someone that does not know the processes from his own experience per say or. Yeah. And that's, that's something maybe a little bit similar with, with my previous job as well. It's, um, as an external consultant or someone within a big company that, that comes in as being that external expert from within. It's okay to ask the dumb questions or the silly questions that everybody feels like. Well, we are of course, don't you know? But when they start to explain, only then most of the people find out it's actually not that smart. We do it at this way. Exactly. Yeah, that really helps. Yeah. Or they discovered that not everyone in the room thinks that they do it the same way. Right. So that's that's very powerful. Thank you for sharing this. And let's let's move on a bit. So I'm wondering and maybe this is still the same for the internal position you had and the current position, but what area of your work are you most passionate about? You talked already a bit about your core strengths, like like improving processes and facilitating sessions. But what is something that if you do it on the day that you leave that a meeting or end the day really energized to say, wow, this was this is the cool stuff that I'm doing. Mainly it has to do with, um, well, basically core value number one of the manifesto putting people and interactions first. Um, when I come out of a session where we actually feel like we've done something, we've decided something, we've achieved something, we actually did it, um, those are the moments that I feel like, yeah, I'm adding some value to discuss some more to this group of people. And my role often in that part is, is facilitating those discussions or making sure that we actually make a decision or come up with a game plan or actually do something. So, so the combination of, of getting the best out of people by, by facilitating them, that what that's what, that's what I'm most passionate about. Oh, and how, how do you make sure that people reach a decision or really do achieve something in a meeting or a session that you facilitate? Do you have any tips or tricks or maybe pitfalls that you've stepped in in the past and now know how to circumvent? Yeah. One of my biggest pitfalls is a lack of preparation of any meeting. That is also my pitfall. Yeah. Jump into a meeting thinking wow, this will be probably just plain perfect and everybody knows what to do and everybody will be well prepared. Um, most of the times they are not so as a facilitator or as a chief of any kind of being a team lead, um, prepare yourself. And what I always try to do is prepare a process. So which steps do I want to follow? During a meeting? I often use liberating structures for that part, and I try to start off in a little bit of a fun way and not in the first minute. Go into depth too much. But start off with How was your weekend? You told me you bought a dog lately. How's your dog? Just small talk. Oh, I always try to start with small talk, especially during these days of of of COVID. And after COVID, where we're a lot of the members are still on MS teams or on Zoom calls going in and out of different rooms with hardly any any time left for a cup of coffee or just some small talk. I always try to to make that happen within my meeting, which helps during the rest of the meeting as well, because the environment is a little bit better and more safe to to speak out. And do you prefer to put this into like facilitation stuff or is it just have some space for small talk to? Well. No, mainly to the first couple of moments are just out there to have some space for small talk. Okay. Yeah, yeah. You just reserve some time for it before you really start with the official program. Those are pretty good insights from how you like to facilitate the session and create some social cohesion by, by having that, that, that the social talk actually and keeping room for it and I'm now wondering, you've been at the new job for about nine months. This company that you're at where I worked at is really a company that has learning and trying out new stuff really as one of their core values. At least that's how I experience it. So what is something that you have tried out or applied for the first time in the last half year that you might be able to share some insights or pitfalls from? Yeah, sure. I think to be honest, I think I've learned maybe even the most about Scrum for the last couple of months. I was more of an an agile coach, maybe even an agile lead within the Dutch police and getting further away from Scrum. So in the last couple of months, uh, Scrum was, my basic, was my, it was my guideline again and I think I learned the most from that. But I'll get into something else because I assume everybody knows Scrum a little bit out here. Yeah. And if they don't just come do a course at Scrum Facilitators or Prowareness, we all have good trainers. If you think a scrum with is that, I'm a bit unclear on that. There's enough room to learn. Yep, sure, sure. Yes. And it was for me as well, even for me. But the thing I encountered again and I knew it from from somewhere in the past couple of years ago. So I knew of his existence. But a colleague showed me the drama triangle again and I've been using that somewhere in the last couple of months as well. And I found it really interesting in seeing how it can benefit you as a coach or maybe even as a person to to be aware of of the triangle and the things you can that you cannot do. And maybe just a little bit of an inside I'm not sure everybody know what the drama triangle is. I'm not sure. Sjoerd, do you know. Yeah, I actually learned the most about it from a previous colleague who's also not anymore at PW. Stephan. But yeah, yeah. I'm a bit familiar, but I'm sure there are people listening that don't know it yet, so please to explain. Yeah. And don't consider me being an expert as I only found out a couple of months ago myself as well how to use this one. But the thing is, with this, this drama triangle, it's, it's, it's for Cartman and it says you have three different roles you can have as a person within a, within a group. On one side you have a victim and that poor little me on the victim, um, you got, on one side, you got the rescuer, someone who can actually say, Wow, I'm here to help you. Go on, let me help you. I can so I will. And yet you've got the persecutor. So someone say, Well, this is just all your fault. I told you so. You guys, you can't do you can't do anything right. And when you take a look at different groups of people or teams or just two people in between them, you can always see this little triangle coming up. When you pay close attention, there's always someone out there, a little bit in victim corner or being a rescuer. And I think this was my first pitfall for myself as well. I was there being a rescuer. I always thought, Oh, I can I can help everybody, or at least I can try to help you. But by helping them now, I know I'm not helping a victim by doing things for him or her. So what I learned was to so help a victim by empowering the victim itself and by showing him or her that that he or she could do it himself. And there's just needed to be some little bit of positive energy and and a a drive through to actually do something and to to to be able to reach your goals. Yes. And how you can turn a prosecutor not into a persecuted far more into a a challenger. It's alright to be critical, but try to, to do it in a positive way that someone actually feels good about the things that he or she can do afterwards. Yes. So I think I think this this drama triangle helped me for my new role as being a consultant in in how to approach the victims or the persecutors or auto rescuers as well. And I think it can help a lot of people being out there working with Scrum, working in an agile way or even far outside of the field. I think this can help you even in your personal life. Yeah, yeah. I think it's very recognizable. I, I believe we all fit these roles at different times, in different situations, and it can be very helpful to be able to reflect and categorize your behavior and see what you might want to change and contemplate how you can change it. And even more, of course, as a consultant or coach or Scrum Master, which is also a coach, of course, to because this is a common pitfall, I believe for Scrum and coaches that you are the helper. And it's also what I see a lot around me in the company, but also I feel it in my bones when I'm working with teams like I want to help them and to just realize and it's also what we discussed in one of the previous questions. When you're a consultant that does not know about the internal processes too much, that forces you to not be too help or too much. It forces you to really be the person to ask questions, create a safe space for people that are maybe more of a victim, type in the system that you're in to really be safe to take action for themselves and accusers, to realize, Oh, maybe if I say it in a different way or offer support when I offer criticism as well to to give it as a bundle. Yeah. Then maybe we get a more constructive movement going and change stuff instead of staying in the same place of finger pointing and saying, well, I can't help it, I'm just an idiot and stuff like that. No. Well, yeah. And I've, I've been, I've been in a couple of organizations that, that I've been a victim myself as well. Or at least acted as a victim myself. Yes. Well, I can't help it. It's it's not my fault. It's it's outside of my of my focus or my reach can do anything about it. But now we all know, Oh, there is always something you can do for yourself. There was always that next little small step that you can make to to at least make it a little bit better. And yeah, of course we can't change the world in a day, but we can do something, in a day. Yes. And take ownership of one little step. Yeah, that's that's important. A talking about ownership when discussing upfront how this podcast would go in our own journey at Scrum Facilitators. So my personal journey as a host regarding structure and time boxing, I mentioned 30 minutes, so we're heading there. So it's time to go to the closing section. And one of the things and it's also about journeys probably is said question by the previous guest and Jen Gwilym was our previous guest. You can of course listen to her episode in the podcast series and if you're not subscribed yet, Danny, please do subscribe to our podcast because there's some cool guests, including yourself. I sure will. But the question she asked is if you could take a sabbatical for a year, what would you do with the time? A full year? Yes. All right. Um, what would I do? To be honest, I think just the first. First of thought um, I think I would try to make the world a little bit better by actually using my hands instead of my head. MM And do you have any, any ideas? I mean, you don't have to actually go and do it, right? So that is like off the top of your head, would you go plant trees or pick up plastic out of the ocean? What kind of things are you thinking of? So what I would like to do is as is to look for a depleted piece of land and try to make it a little bit. And in a year you can get quite far, I hope, but make it a little bit better than it currently is, as I really feel that the world needs us to do that. Yeah. And not to do all the things that we're doing at the moment as well. Oh that's that's a cool idea. I think there's actually also a project that's a bit similar. It's about regrowing forests in in these kind of areas. I will see if I can find a link. I put it in show notes because yeah, who knows if you go on a sabbatical, you might go there and help them out. Big fan of of of this. I've no connection at all. But yeah, this Dutch company. Just dig it. That's what I'm talking about. Yeah. We'll put a shownotes link. So if people want to see what it's about or contributes because they're doing awesome work. Yeah, it's, it's really cool. So that's one for the show notes. And we also put some resource for the drama triangle in it, of course. So you can read some more about that. And also to put in the show notes, Danny, do you have like a book or an article that you would recommend to, to our listeners? And it can be connected to one of the things we discuss, but it can also be just another thing you want to add. Um, well, I think the book that, that, um, that, that maybe changed me the most. Um, mostly in a way of, of putting things in perspective. Yeah. Was Homo sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari on the History of men. And he says Just a small book on the history of man. But it's quite a big book, right? Yeah, but, but it really put things for me, it really put things in perspective on where we are and what we are as a human being. So that's definitely one for show notes. Oh, cool. And I must say, I'm I'm really thrilled that you bring a non agile or work related book per say because those can also give us very good insights. And this actually when I haven't read it yet. So it goes on the wish list here too. Because go out and read. Yeah. Yes. Thank you. Kind of change my life. Thank you. So another thing that we do you answered the question by the previous guest is of course what question would you like to ask the next guest? Not knowing who they are, of course, but just a nice, deep philosophical question. A deep philosophical question. All right. Oh, no, of course. Thanks. I thought about this. Of course. Uh, a couple of minutes ago, to be honest. And I would like to know from our next guest, um, what's the lesson from your childhood that you value the most. Ooh, as also that this delivering on the deep philosophical question because. There we go. Yes, yes. Each time a guest asks one of these questions, I'm going, oh, what would I answer? Yes, it's really hard. And what would you answer Sjoerd? Yeah. Well, that's nice that you mention it because we're actually working on a special series for the podcast and working on it currently is just that. I thought of it and other people thought, Oh, that's a good idea. So to put that into perspective, and we're working on a special series with all the scrum facilitators, all the trainers that are providing training, a Scrum facilitators, also doing these podcasts and other stuff to answer all these questions. So ready, so, so not just one, but all the asked questions that we really do have to lay our souls bare ourselves to. Wow. Now that's a challenge. And yeah, but also use that as a get to know the scrum facilitators. So it's a it's a nice thought and this is a nice reminder. Danny, that we do have to actually do this thing if we think it's a nice idea. So thank you for that. Providing that reminder. So to close off, do you have any public talks or appearances planned maybe where people can meet you? Do you organize meetups, stuff like that? Yeah, we currently are working on and that's just a little bit further down thinking about it and now we just had one a meet up and we're working on the second one a an agile community within the Dutch governmental organizations. So yeah, with my background being a police officer and a lot of people around me within the government as well, I really feel there's, there's a lot to gain still within the government. Um, regarding agility, regarding creating agile organizations, it's really trying to connect those people and during those meet ups, you can meet me, we'll be there, you can have a cup of coffee and talk a little bit further. Thank you. I'm sure people will. Would love to hear more about your experience and learn from you. I know I did in this podcast, but also before when we collaborated. So sure to send me that link for the show notes so people can know where to register or connect with you. We will also put your LinkedIn profile, of course, because it's also good. And in relation to this topic, we are also planning our own Scrum Facilitators Conference, which is on in November and we'll start ticket sales soon, may be already started. It's when this podcast is released. So we'll put a link in there and yeah, I think there will be more opportunities to talk and we'll see what we can can get together in the show notes for people to to see what's up at Prowareness and at scrum facilitators that is where you can can engage with us. Thank you very much, Danny for this time. I don't think we made under the 30 minutes actually also because we had a slide technical snafu that hopefully the listeners won't notice. But we did have to start over and do a bit again halfway. It sort of messed up the the feeling of the time-box a bit. But yeah, that's one for the producers to fix. So thank you, Danny, again. And we also have some ideas for maybe future topics, so I'm sure we'll talk again. Thank you so much for having me. Sjoerd, it's been a pleasure. Cool. Thank you. And not just Danny, but everyone listening. If you're not subscribed yet, please subscribe because there's a lot of more cool content coming up. And especially if you're curious about how we answer those questions, definitely subscribe. Thank you for listening. And I hope to speak to you soon. Thank you for listening to the Scrum Facilitators Community Podcast. The place for real conversations around Scrum. Do you have a story to share in this podcast? Get in touch with us at podcast at Scrum Facilitators dot com.