Serious Scrum: Handbook

Our handbook is to all those involved in the Serious Scrum community.

✏️ You can suggest edits and additions in the #handbook channel on Slack.

About Serious Scrum

Medium - Slack - Website - LinkedIn - Twitter

Our Reach

10.000+ followers and between 150.000 & 200.000 reads /month at Medium. 3.750+ members and 6.500 messages /month at Slack. 5.000+ followers and 40.000+ post impressions /month on LinkedIn. *7th of September 2020

Our Purpose

We started Serious Scrum to create a great open place for Scrum practitioners to connect and share experiences.

We’re here to support Scrum practitioners — to share what works, what doesn’t work, best practices, introducing Scrum to a team, etc.

We aim to create a safe haven for people who take Scrum seriously. We strive for a place for those like us, desiring independent content and improving our understanding of Scrum from the trenches.

Serious Scrum recognizes that Scrum is by and for us all. We empower people to think boldly, embrace diversity, act intentionally, share knowledge and experience collectively, not exclusively.

One of the reasons we founded Serious Scrum is to focus content on the Scrum Framework. We embrace open and respectful discussion in regards to Scaling frameworks. We aim to improve practice of Scrum's pillars, values, roles, events, artifacts, and rules. We don't promote adaptation of the framework, even though some Scaling approaches do.

In our publications, authors may share opposing opinions and perspectives, those opinions and perspectives belong to the authors, they do not represent Serious Scrum as the medium. We want to facilitate interactions openly and respectfully.

Our Sponsors

We are very proud to be supported by sponsors in meeting our ambitions!

Vamp is a Dutch startup that provides a cloud-native release orchestration solution that helps product owners, engineering, and DevOps teams to release software faster and more frequently with ~100% reliability.

more on Sponsorship

Our Values

As with Scrum, when the values of commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect are embodied and lived by the Serious Scrum community, the Scrum pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation come to life and build trust for everyone. The Serious Scrum Community members learn and explore those values as they work with us.

We respect one another

It's paramount that our community members respect each other to be capable, independent people. We will not allow comments that challenge the integrity or capability of other members.

We are a global community. Respecting diversity is paramount. Defaming another member or posting content that discriminates against members based on any perceived differences, including but not limited to differences in culture, race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and physical ability will not be tolerated.

We reserve the discretion to remove individuals who violate our values from our service. ‌

While we welcome the exchange of different viewpoints to increase knowledge and understanding; mutual respect is key. We are not here to argue about diversity, politics, or culture.

For example, we strongly discourage introductions like “hey guys” as this does not address our female members. We also value standard internet etiquette. As such, messages using ALL-CAPS or bold text to emphasize a standpoint may result in a warning, timeout, or ban, respectively.

We will moderate threads that stray away from the purpose of our community or the topic of the thread.‌

We will watch out for the tone-of-voice in our community. We strive to be a warm, friendly constructive, professional, and helpful community. If you feel a member is being dismissive, unconstructive, and/or mostly negative, we will inform that person their tone and input are not adding value to our purpose.

We will watch out for conversations and threads where we notice members by-passing or ignoring other members and take relevant action if necessary.

We serve and involve

We serve one another, exchanging experience and knowledge in all openness. We collaborate transparently and share ideas freely. We involve anyone who seeks to contribute respectfully. We make better decisions as a community when we involve those whom we wish to serve early and often. We continuously collect new insights, enact change, and react instantly to changing conditions. We give credit where credit is due and we pay it forward.

We support each other

Often this means listening, trusting, and speaking kindly to each other. Sometimes this means calling out bad behavior. This always means helping each other. We don’t expect perfect, we don’t point fingers and we don’t punish.

We lead (when needed)

If we notice a problem or opportunity, we act. This means making decisions and leading experiments. Leadership is shared, and guided by our purpose. We don’t expect others to lead on issues that we notice.‌

We act autonomously

We seek networking, free collaboration, and projects that energize us. We choose when to use our intuition, and when to seek advice. We don’t wait to be told what to do. We don’t coerce people into decisions, tasks, or teams.‌

Our Roles


Serious Scrum is founded by Sjoerd Nijland and Willem-Jan Ageling. They act as both admins and ambassadors to Serious Scrum. The founders may assign and reassign roles. The founders manage finances.


Ambassadors are representatives and spokesmen for Serious Scrum. They may organize events and speak on behalf of Serious Scrum. Ambassador can make decisions on behalf of Serious Scrum, through alignment with other ambassadors, so long as they are willing to take responsibility for the outcome and are open and transparent over them.

Ambassadors may

  • Moderate Slack, Social channels, Medium pub

  • Administrate Serious Scrum Library

  • Represent Serious Scrum

  • Organize, host and participate in events, meet-ups

  • Manage Editorial

  • Curate, Write, Review, Edit, and Publish articles

  • Scout writers & editors

  • Publish Weekly Newsletter

The ambassadors to Serious Scrum are:


As an editor you are part of Serious Scrum's trusted Editorial. We expect our editors to be active community members and representatives.

Editors may:

  • Curate, Write, Review, Edit, Reject, and Publish articles

  • Organise, host and participate in events, meet-ups when approved by ambassadors.

  • Scout & Coach writers

  • Promote articles

  • Publish Weekly Newsletter

The Editors to Serious Scrum are:


As a writer for Serious Scrum, you are part of Serious Scrum's trusted Editorial. We expect our writers to be active community members. Serious Scrum Writers aim to get feedback, inspect and adapt through the writings. They are open to being coached by editors and other writers.

Editors may:

  • Write, Review, and Submit articles

  • Scout and Coach other writers

  • Promote articles

Guest Writer

Anyone who isn't a Serious Scrum writer, yet has submitted publications to Serious Scrum is a guest writer. Guest Writers to Serious Scrum might be new to the community. Submissions may be requested and approved by editors, regardless of whether the writer is an active community member.‌

Our Ambitions

Whilst we are providing value to an ever-growing professional Scrum community, at this moment Serious Scrum takes a lot of time to manage beside our regular day to day jobs and family lives. It becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

We aim to:

  • Enable a better work-life balance for the founders &/ admins.

  • Increased focus on supporting and managing our ever-growing community.

  • Onboard dedicated editors.

  • Scout new writers and guest-writers.

  • Fund the development of a Serious Scrum Mobile App.

  • Fund the development of a Job Marketplace, connecting Serious Scrum companies with Serious Scrum Professionals.

  • Fund the development of a Serious Scrum Field Assessment.

  • Host and attend global Scrum related meet-ups and conferences.

  • Increase opportunities to exchange professional Scrum experience.

  • Explore Sponsorship and Partnership

Serious Scrum Library

We have the ambition to expand our platform where members can read, publish articles from various sources. This platform has the ability to search and filter articles by Scrum topics and series.

serious scrum library - visual concept

Meet-ups and conferences

We'd love to become able to facilitate various meet-ups and participate in Scrum and Agile conferences worldwide. We encourage our community members to meet and interact face-to-face, even visit each other's workspaces.

Writing for Serious Scrum

At Serious Scrum, we are always looking for writers to contribute to the publication and the community.‌

We'd like to build a wave of sensible commentary about Scrum to challenge misunderstandings and help build greater consensus for all the teams and organizations out there in the trenches using Scrum to solve complex adaptive problems.

As a Serious Scrum writer, you could add your voice to that wave.


All articles submitted to Serious Scrum are subject to and must pass 'review'. The review must be performed by at least two other members of the editorial.

Editors may leave notes as suggestions to the author, but the author maintains the final decision on those changes.

Articles may be edited for spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and formatting by our editorial. These edits are intended to enhance the readability of the article to increase views and read time and ensure Serious Scrum quality standards are maintained. Style and tone are at the discretion of the author. Editors may leave notes as suggestions to the author, but the author maintains the final decision on those changes. We strongly advice our writers to review and improve the article through Grammarly prior to submitting it.

Ambassadors may choose to withhold an article from publication if they believe the article does not meet the quality standards, is not in line with our values, or if it does not add enough value to our purpose.

When reviewing in Slack, you can follow the status using icons:

:one: - 1st Reviewer :two: - 2ns Reviewer :readytopublish: - Ready for Publishing :timer_clock: - Scheduled for Publishing (if applicable) :globe_with_meridians: - Published on Medium :slack: - Published on Slack :socialmediadone: - Social Media Done (Twitter + Linkedin) :ocean: - Published on Serious Scrum Website. ⏹ - Review stopped, submission is rejected.

When reviewing, remember to

  1. Be transparent to writers why we give them the feedback. We are partnering with Medium and for that, we need to maximize chances of distribution by them.

  2. Allow articles by aspiring Serious Scrum writers who don’t meet the Medium standards.

  3. Withdraw a submission if the author is not respecting the reviewer or the review process.

Definitions of "done"

1. Conformity Articles must be primarily about Scrum or play out in context to a Scrum environment. Scrum terminology must be preferred over 'Agile' terminology. For example: use 'Scrum Events' over 'Agile ceremonies'.

Articles must align with Scrum principles as described in (the most recent version of) The Scrum Guide. While additional tools and practices may be included in the article, they may not be defined as Scrum principles. Any practices or content that directly contradicts Scrum principles will not be accepted.

To benefit transparency, the terminology used must align with what is used in the Scrum Guide.

2. Opinion, experience, advice, and fact It must be clear to the author what is the opinion or experience of the author versus recommended practice or rule by Scrum. The author must clearly state it is his or her advice when suggesting practices. The author is aware the context of the environments in which Scrum is practiced can differ greatly, ergo what may sound like good advice to an author given the author's experience, might not have the same outcome elsewhere.

Do not use unsupported generalizations, assumptions, or universalities.

The author must have practical/field experience in Scrum. There is no minimum experience required. Perspectives from early practitioners are valued equally to those who are seasoned.

3. Purpose & Values Articles must align with our purpose and values as presented in the section Our Purpose and Our Values. We’re here to support Scrum practitioners — to share what works, what doesn’t work, best practices, introducing Scrum to a team, etc. One of the reasons we founded Serious Scrum is to focus content on the Scrum Framework. We aim to improve the practice of Scrum's pillars, values, roles, events, artifacts, and rules. We don't promote adaptation of the framework, even though some Scaling approaches do.

4. No self-promotion or commercial intentions Articles may not contain any references to personal services or any other form of self-promotion. It may not contain any links, references, or material through which the author may receive revenue. The article may not include ads, banners, or any other promotional material.

The article may contain references to helpful materials such as guides and books if approved by at least two other editors.

5. Specific The article must remain specific to a topic. It should not contain a 'spaghetti' of references to other practices/articles. Not all the Scrum events, rules, and artifacts have to be explained or expanded upon unless that is the intent of the article. One may assume the reader is familiar with them or able to reference them.

6. Quality We receive daily submissions at Serious Scrum. Our goal is to identify stories by Scrum Practitioners that are valuable to Scrum Practitioners. We want readers’ time well spent. We do this by reviewing recently published stories and selecting those that meet a fair editorial standard for distribution. Our standard is not whether a story has an absence of disqualifications; it’s whether a story has the presence of quality. Is it well-written, easy to follow, free of errors, appropriately sourced, narratively strong, and compelling? Does it add value to the reader?​ – Does it share new insights or perspectives, offer an original take on an existing issue, stir emotions and thinking, provide meaningful advice, enrich a reader’s experience with Scrum? Does it feel like time well spent?

7. Unique Does the writer share any unique contributions? Just referencing, summarizing, or narrating exisiting concepts and techniques does not suffice. We may reject articles that we believe are too similar to articles we have already published.

8. Inspect & Adapt The author must be open to inviting others to provide feedback. It is the aim for the author to inspect, adapt, and improve not only their writing but also their understanding of Scrum.‌

We prefer articles to be in English. We understand we are a global community and not all authors are native in English. Although the reviewing process is tricky with articles written in other languages, it may be okay to submit them if they can be reviewed by another Serious Scrum editor. We may ask for an English version to be created alongside it.

Please make sure the article is clear from any spelling errors. We strongly advise the use of something like Grammarly. Articles may be edited for spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and formatting by our editorial.

9. Curation & Distribution We prefer articles that are optimized for curation and distribution by Medium. Therefore, we ask our writers and editors to try and honor Medium's Curation Guidelines. We'll review the sources of materials used to check if they are correctly referenced and that citations/quotes are presented as such.

10. Headline The headlines used must correctly reflect the subject of the article. It may not mislead the reader. How To Write A Great Headline. The editorial may improve the headline when reviewing.

11. Pre-publication To properly prepare articles for publication, they must contain:

  • The Medium Scrum footer

  • The tag 'Serious Scrum'

  • A featured image

Is your article published elsewhere? you have to set a canonical link.

Check How To Add A Post To Serious Scrum.

12. Post-publication & Pay Wall Every community member must be able to read the article without having to pay for it. Once published, the article's friend-link must be shared in the Serious Scrum Slack channel. If you are a guest writer, you may ask the reviewing editor to do so. Once the article is published it may be promoted through social channels by our editorial. We kindly ask the author to present a one or two-sentence excerpt for the weekly digest.

Profit & Promotion

Our founders, ambassadors, and editors volunteer their time to manage the community, the publication, social channels, meetups, and more. They grow and strengthen our movement because they are passionate about our purpose. We are very lucky to have them 🙏.

When it comes to making money, we're happy that royalties for authorship are a source of income for some. We are not okay with the Serious Scrum brand being used for profit or promotion (personal or business) without agreement from the Serious Scrum Ambassadors. As a rule of thumb:

  • Profit: We expect transparency and openness when it comes to commercial activities related to Serious Scrum. If money generated from Serious Scrum activities covers costs, that's cool. If money goes in your pocket/your business's pocket (such as activities that reach a huge audience or loads of new engagement, for example) we'd kindly ask you to donate a fair share back to Serious Scrum.

  • Promotion: If you are seeking to engage in Serious Scrum activity to promote yourself, promote your own non-Serious Scrum initiatives, be it commercial or non-commercial and/or your company, this is not cool. If you are unsure, please contact the founders or ambassadors.


Serious Scrum is exploring how sponsorship can support the management and development of the community and its initiatives. In our exploration of sponsorship one may consider:

  • Medium does not allow sponsored references. We cannot perform any sponsored activities on the Medium platform.

  • and our future mobile app, can support sponsored articles submissions from sources other than Medium.

  • The primary motivation for sponsorship has to be to support Serious Scrum in its continued growth and services to the Scrum community. Although we understand that sponsoring may be commercially motivated, understand we treat this fundamentally different from paid promotion and advertisement.

Our sponsorship agreement will include the following:

  • Serious Scrum founders and ambassadors reserve the right to reject a sponsorship agreement if they believe the sponsorship causes a conflict of interest.

  • Sponsored articles require curation, they have to be applicable to our community. Serious Scrum reserves the right to reject sponsored submissions.

  • A sponsor may submit sponsored articles. A maximum of one submission for each sponsor will be selected during a weekly curation event. Sponsored articles will be visually marked as ‘sponsored’.

  • A sponsor may submit calendar events. Each event will be visually marked as ‘sponsored’.

    Serious Scrum reserves the right to reject a submitted sponsored event.

  • A ‘sponsor banner’ will be added to with logos of sponsors that link to the sponsor. This banner will show in both header and footer of the website and appear 'as a banner' in the future mobile app.

  • The sponsor will be referenced in this community handbook accompanied by a short description of the serviced of the sponsor and reasons for sponsorship.

  • We’ll share one sponsored update per month on LinkedIn for the sponsor which will be marked as ’sponsored’. This update will require alignment and Serious Scrum reserves the right to withhold the update if it determines the content is not suitable.

  • We’ll share one sponsored update per month on Twitter for the sponsor which will be marked as ’sponsored’. This update will require alignment and Serious Scrum reserves the right to withhold the update if it determines the content is not suitable.

  • We’ll share one sponsored update in #general on Slack for the sponsor per month. This update will require alignment and Serious Scrum reserves the right to withhold the update if it determines the content is not suitable.

  • We will not agree to any (commercial) targets or other commercial obligations.

  • 50% of sponsorship revenue will be directed at community management. 30% will be split between the founders and 20% will be split between the ambassadors.

  • The remaining 50% will be be used to fund the development of Serious Scrum initiatives/platforms such as a Mobile App, the website, and tools such as Zoom, Miro, Patreon, etc.

  • Sponsorship will be organized through the Patreon support program.

  • The sponsorship contribution is currently determined to be €750,- per month.

  • We can currently provide for a maximum number of 12 sponsors.

  • A sponsor can withdraw sponsorship given a one month's notice.

  • Serious Scrum may update its policy, sponsorship contribution, and terms for sponsorship given one month's notice.

We hope you understand our position. Co-founders Sjoerd and Willem-Jan began building the Serious Scrum community, publication platform, and brand in their own time, at their own expense for no fee. We have been supported enormously by many generous people who have given their time because they are equally passionate about our purpose. We are grateful to all - thank you 🙏. Collectively, it has taken thousands of hours and a fair sum of personal money too. We do not ask for a return, only your contribution to making Serious Scrum better for us all.


The income generated by Serious Scrum is barely sufficient to cover expenses, let alone time and effort. That said, any generated income we wish to invest right back into the growth of the Serious Scrum brand and community.

If you are interested in launching initiatives that benefit our mission and help grow our community, reach and brand, to provide more value, we'd love to discuss this. We also love to hear from you where our investments are best spent.


Use of the name, logo's, labels, and statements.

When using the logo, please prefer the logo with a dark blue background. Do not use the Logo and Label next to each other.

Fonts: Georgia Regular (default) Gotham Light Regular (web) Open Sans (web) Permanent Marker (slogan & header) Colors: seriousblue: #1E2436; problue: #2D3550 navyblue: #414D74 seriouslySmart: #818AA9 seriouslySweet: #F6225C turquoise: #50E3C2; orange: #F5A623;

Use of fonts and colors: Use the Permanent Marker font scarcely (titles and highlighted statements only). Do not use orange and seriouslySweet together, pick one of the two, and stick with it. When using dark and color backgrounds, use white text. Be scarce in applying orange, seriouslySweet and turquoise as the text color.

Serious Scrum Color Swatches
Label, Light Background
Label, Dark Background
Official Trademark Logo

Sjoerd Nijland has registered Serious Scrum under: AGNC, KVK: 58970037, the Netherlands. Serious Scrum is a registered trademark.


Thank you all for supporting Serious Scrum! Thanks to Mark Eddleston - Reinventing Work for suggesting this and providing us with the fundamentals for this handbook.

✏️ You can suggest edits and additions in the #handbook channel on Slack.