Author of the Month April: Gunther Verheyen


Can you give a short introduction of yourself?

I call myself an independent Scrum Caretaker on a journey of humanizing the workplace with Scrum. I started practicing Scrum in 2003. Since then I have worked with diverse teams and organizations, have published two books about Scrum and have partnered with Ken Schwaber, co-creator of Scrum. I offer various Scrum services and insights (speaking, training, coaching and consulting) and am glad that I can build on these accumulated experiences.

What do you think the future of this industry will look like?

I foresee a 4th wave of Scrum, following the 3 waves as described in my book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide”, in which the people aspect of Scrum will take precedence over the process part while Scrum is increasingly being applied beyond software and product development.

Which title(s) have you made with us?

In 2013 I published the first edition of “Scrum – A Pocket Guide” (A smart travel companion), with a second edition published in 2019 and a third edition in 2021. Meanwhile, the book was translated to Dutch, German, Italian and Portuguese. Translations to Russian and (traditional) Chinese, and a second edition of the Dutch translation, are expected to become available in 2021.

Why did you start writing about this subject?

The house of Scrum became my professional home in 2003. The next seven years of my life of Scrum, until 2010, were all about practice, dedication and applying Scrum. Those years provided me with a firm foundation to not only start engaging with larger organizations but also to get serious in writing about Scrum. A highlight was to describe all Scrum essentials in 2013 in “Scrum – A Pocket Guide”. I am currently in the process of composing a new book upon selected writings from 2010-2020. It looks as if there was a plan, but there wasn’t.

What genres do you like to read in your free time?

Books are an important of my life. During a fascinating intermediate period in my professional life, my wife and I have even managed a bookstore (1996-199). We own more books than we will ever be able to read. I have a huge collection of professional books, which I have also read. More important however are my novels, graphic novels and poetry. But lifesaving have been some philosophy books.

What did you study? Or was it your career that put you on the path of authorship?

Authorship was never an explicit ambition. And still isn’t. Sharing thoughts and insights on Scrum is. Publishing a book was an unexpected opportunity, but one that I loved taking.

What skills that you possess now would you have liked to learn in school?

I have a quote in my home office that says “Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself” (from the famous novelist George Bernard Shaw). I believe this also applies to school, grades and certifications. School is no more than one period of learning.

I do feel that ethics are relevant to every possible domain of learning and should be part of education.

What is the best book you’ve ever read?

I read the book “Demons” of Dostojevski at the age of 17. That was quite a revelation, which got me into reading all his works in the years that followed. What has writing a book brought you?

I am humbled by the positive feedback of people and communities worldwide over my book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide”, even more than 7 years after publication of the first, initial version.

Relevant reading

Scrum – A Pocket Guide – 3rd edition
Gunther Verheyen

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