5 + 1 Questions to...Marc Vandyck

Marc Vandyck is a Scrum Coach and trainer. He was so lucky to spend earlier this year 2 weeks in Boston to provide scrum training with Dr. Jeff Sutherland. Since then he’s on a mission to promote True Scrum, Scrum as Jeff Sutherland had in mind when he developed the framework. He worked with companies like Nike, BNP Paribas Fortis, Toyota Motor Europe and many more.

Marc sees himself more as a Sempai, a mentor rather than a coach as (in his words) he still has to learn a lot. In his Scrum courses he uses a lot of insights he gained from being a karate kid and trainer for 20 years. Also, metaphors from soccer and tennis find their way in his work with teams.

As Scrum Master you need a broad range of skills. Communication skills, problem-solving skills,… and according to Marc you can add “sales skills”. His sales skills, gained by being a salesperson for 20 years helps him to unblock organizational impediments and sell Scrum into organizations.

His mission for the coming 5 years is to engage, involve Human Resources into Agile/Scrum. Because HR should be a driver too for any change in the organisation. Also introducing Agile and Scrum outside IT.

1. What is Agile or the Agile Mindset for you?

Agile are 2 things for me. It’s not only a mindset!

  • it’s a way of thinking, a way of making decisions: iteratively (in small time boxes), incrementally with real feedback to gain knowledge and experience as soon as possible with the willingness to learn from it.
  • and it’s your behaviour, your attitude towards others when working together in team(s) = mindset.

So it’s a way of life. You can be agile individually. You can adopt the agile way of thinking by yourself. And if you work individually you can even ditch the agile mindset. 

That’s why for instance Scrum is so difficult to master. 

Just like mastering a martial art. As a former karateka and trainer (20 years) I compare it with bushido and martial arts. Bushido is the Way of The Warrior, it’s a way of life dedicated to uphold virtues like justice, honour, loyalty, respect, courage.

Martial arts like kendo, aikido, judo, jiu jitsu, karate are ways to practice and uphold those virtues as I described it in my article “I Scrum so I’m Agile?”

Bushido = Agile 

martial arts = Scrum, Kanban, XP, Scrum@Scale, SAFe, DevOps, Lean Startup

2. What’s your favourite tool or method you use during your coaching?

  • On Team level: 
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I always love to use the LEGO®️ SERIOUS PLAY®️ method to align team members, stimulate the agile mindset, to improve team collaboration, combined with the Team Canvas. It allows a team to craft their identity, what they stand for and what others can expect from the team.

I also use LSP for Sprint Retrospectives.

  • On Management and leadership level: 

I also love to use the LSP method for Real Time Strategy: where do they see the company in 5-10 years from now? Facilitating to define their vision with the Vision Canvas and facilitating the Toyota A3 method based on PDCA problem solving and Toyota Kata

I very often capture it digitally with Mural or the Nureva Span Workspace

It comes in very handy now. 😉

3. What book or website would you recommend?

Besides The Scrum Guide and the Scrum@Scale Guide, I would recommend:

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Dr. Jeff Sutherland explains the purpose of Scrum as he always had envisioned it = True Scrum! And how to scale Scrum successfully.

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J.J. Sutherland describes for instance how the Scrum Patterns, based on 15+ years of experience, make teams high performing in Scrum and Scrum@Scale.

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General McChrystal talks about how leadership empowers their teams to become self-organized that allowed them to win the war against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

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Eric Ries helps you understand the real meaning of the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) and entrepreneurial mindset, even in existing big international enterprises.

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Sprint by Jake Knapp is to my humble opinion an Agile method to solve big lasting problems using the principles of Design Thinking. You could compare Design Thinking with cooking school (to create) and Design Sprint as a receipt that everyone can make (to follow).

4. What is essential for you during an Agile transformation?

Purpose! Goals!

Everyone needs or performs better with a common purpose. And that on every level, from team to management to executives.

Why do we need an Agile transformation? What’s the goal of the Agile transformation? What do we want to achieve with the Agile transformation?

Why do we want to use Scrum? What’s the purpose of Scrum? What do we want to achieve with Scrum?

Why do we need to follow the Scrum process? What are the goals of the Scrum events? What do we want to achieve with the Scrum events?

Why do we need to do this project? What is the goal of this project? What do we want to achieve with this project?

Purpose! Goals! What to achieve together! 

5. What is 1 Aspect of coaching Agile teams you like the most?


I love to celebrate with people. Any kind of celebration: small or big, individually or in team(s) or with management. I aim for one celebration a day that keeps the demotivation away. 😉

Celebrate as much as you can. Celebrate the achievements, the success stories and the learnings (= the failures 😉). Celebrations keep the people going! Celebrations make it all worthwhile! 🎈 

+1. What’s the concept behind Agile atelier? 

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Agile atelier started out as a meetup group about agile topics. More practice than theory, just do like in a real atelier/workshop. Interactive, hands-on and hard fun.

Now Agile atelier has evolved into innovation and Agile strategy because they go hand in hand, they represent the E2E value stream. We are experts in change, going from the old way of working to a new way with consultancy, training and facilitation in Design Sprint, strategy, Scrum, Scrum@Scale and Management 3.0.

Agile atelier stands for Quality, Performance, Determination, Discipline and especially Courage. And ever since I’ve been trained for 2 weeks early this January in Boston by Scrum Inc. and dr. Jeff Sutherland himself, we want to True Scrum The World!