Life as … a Scrum Master – Hanne Kempeneers

#TobaniaStories   |   13 04 2023

The majority of our Tobania world (called “the galaxy” according to our Tobians) is populated by our consultants. Each with their own expertise strapped to their backpacks, they head out to our client’s workplace to deliver targeted projects. Perhaps at yours as well? Well, time to get to know them personally! Featured in this edition: Hanne Kempeneers, Scrum Master.

What is a Scrum Master?

As a Scrum Master, you carry different roles and responsibilities. The most important one is to be the advocate of the Scrum Values in practice and theory. However, there are other facets to the role as well. For example, you empower team members and ensure that they are always inspecting and adapting their ways of working in a world that is changing rapidly.

What does your career path look like?

As of December 2022, you can call me a proud Tobian. I have had all kinds of projects in all kinds of domains (e.g. telecom and healthcare) but I was always in favour of Agile methodologies, which led me to my current position of Scrum Master at one of our regular clients in the banking sector.

What makes working as a Scrum Master so unique?

What I love about being a Scrum Master is that you can really make a difference for the team and even for an individual. For example, if you sense that the team’s motivation is running low, and you can turn that around by guiding them to improve their way of working, that just motivates me to do it even better.

Who inspires you?

No one in particular, although I always get inspired whenever I see successful, strong women working in an industry dominated by men.

What is your go-to productivity trick?

In teams lacking focus, I explore ways to make an immediate difference by making small changes. For example, to figure out what we could do, I apply prioritisation techniques such as “MoSCoW” or the “impact vs effort matrix”.

How can you stand out as a Scrum Master?

As a Scrum Master, you can be creative in preparing retrospectives and brainstorming sessions. Don’t present the same format every time, as your team might get bored throughout a session. Instead, try to offer something slightly out-of-the-box.

If you could go back in time. What would you say to yourself at the beginning of your career?

I would tell my younger self to never regret decisions and to follow my gut. During my career, I had the opportunity to work in different companies, all with a different mindset. Every situation is an opportunity to learn.

What gives you a professional high?

To me, it’s in the little things: moving tickets from the “in progress” column to the “done” column, being able to close a meeting earlier because we accomplished the goal of the meeting, a team member being proactive by lending a hand to someone else on the team, … you name it!

Do you have any mentors in your professional life?

I have had a few during my career, and now I also got a dedicated mentor at Tobania to whom I can present my ideas, which is very useful to unblock a situation.

Would you like to be a mentor to others? 

Absolutely! I think we should empower each other and share the knowledge we have with each other.

““During my career, I learnt a lot about how to get people excited about change.””

What skill have you developed over the course of your career that has been worth the effort? 

I have learnt so much over the past few years, but if I had to choose one I would say I learnt a lot about how to get people excited about change.

What does your desired future look like?

When I am old, I want to be able to look back on my life and see that I have always enjoyed what I did and that I have inspired people to do the same (in work, as well as in my private life).

“”I like Tobania for its atmosphere, people and proximity. As a consultant, you don’t spend much time at the headquarters, but Tobania really makes you feel like you belong.””

Why should fellow Scrum Masters join you at Tobania?

For the atmosphere, the people and the proximity. As a consultant, you might not be at the Tobania headquarters very often, but Tobania still manages to make you feel like you really belong to the company. There are fun parties and learning events, but again, things are not overdone, so you can actually come to almost any happening.