Just keep swimming

Diary entry #2

“The start of the programme often feels like getting pushed into the deep end of the pool,” employees of Digital Society School told me. Well, we’re two months in and I would have to agree.

To stay with the water metaphor, in the first month and a half, I’ve been completely flooded with new experiences. There’s the new methodology that I needed to get used to. I had to start operating as an official team leader for the first time in my life. I’m working with five new people from very culturally diverse backgrounds. And last but not least I have to combine all of this with my regular job at the ministry.

Looking back at recent weeks, I think both the trainees and I have had the feeling we were about to sink. But actually, we’re swimming.


As a team, we are getting used to what it means to work in sprints according to the SCRUM methodology. After initial confusion about the roles (what a SCRUM master does and doesn’t do, for example) we are settling in. We are also getting a grip on the problem we are trying to solve for our clients at HvA (Hogeschool van Amsterdam) Human Resources. They want a tool or concept to help teacher-researchers develop their research-related skills. We have just completed the second sprint review and have gotten directions to explore the possibility of creating an inter-faculty hub for learning.

The DSS methodology puts a lot of emphasis on reflection- and feedback-moments. Sometimes it can feel like too much. But I’m also starting to see the benefits. As a group, we already performed much better this month than before. The communication has improved, the expectations have become clearer and the planning more realistic.

As we move into Sprint 3 out of 5, we will need to get out of the sphere of concepts and into the sphere of prototypes in order to present the partner with a tangible result/prototype in July. I’m curious what challenges we will encounter in this next phase. For now, we just keep swimming!

[Transformation Owner Diary is a series of articles dedicated to reflecting on the experience during the Transformation Leadership Programme. Stay tuned for the upcoming diary entries!]