Better Scrum Through Essence

2 days
On-Site or Remote

This course usually runs as a 3-day online course (2-days when delivered face-to-face onsite), but the content can be tailored to a 2-day online offering upon request.

Unlock potential with Better Scrum Through Essence

According to Scrum Inc., 58% of Scrum implementations fail. Why? Dr. Jeff Sutherland – a co-creator of Scrum - says: ”Further investigation reveals that of the 21 components of Scrum, the average team implements 1/3 of them well, 1/3 of them poorly and 1/3 of them not at all”. With that level and quality of implementation, it is not surprising that we are not always seeing the full potential that Scrum offers. Scaling up by adding and adopting additional practices is far better than starting with a large prescriptive ‘framework’ and deciding what to leave out. You often end up adopting more than you need, with techniques you don’t want but they come with the larger frameworks… with Essence, you adopt one practice at a time with each focussed on solving one problem well.” Moreover, Jeff says “Essence can quickly identify the cause of failure”, and that “Essence is the key to success”. At Ivar Jacobson International, we have been working hard on designing a training course which addresses the failures of Scrum implementations.

Course Testimony from David Bulkin

What people say about the course!

Training info

Course overview

This highly interactive two-day (three-day when remote) course enables attendees to become a Certified Games Master, the perfect complement to any and all Scrum Master certifications.

Scrum is the most popular work management practice in the world, used by countless teams world-wide and featured at the heart of nearly all popular agile scaling frameworks.

Essence is the OMG standard that frees teams from the tyranny of formal methods, enabling true agility and relentless, practice-based improvement.

Together they provide the perfect platform for teams to truly own their way-of-working, while continuously improving, scaling where necessary, and adapting to the challenges and needs of their industry, organization and culture.

Essence uses games to enable teams to:

  • Rapidly assimilate new practices.
  • Improve the effectiveness of their way of working.
  • Improve teamworking.
  • Understand where they are now and where they should aim for next.
  • Ensure that their way-of-working is balanced and fit for purpose.
  • Scale their practices.
  • Inspect and adapt to continually improve their way-of-working.

All of which helps you to become a better coach and your team to become a better team.

Building on the success of the Scrum Essentials practice - developed by Ivar Jacobson International and - this course equips you with the Essence practice cards and games you need to excel as a Scrum Master.

The course is invaluable for any and all Scrum Masters, whether you are supporting a team or a team of teams, scaling using a specific scaling framework, starting out on your first Sprint, or are an experienced Scrum team striving to become even greater. The games and techniques learned are 100% transferable across all Scrum-based frameworks, with specific games kits available for Scrum@Scale and SAFe.

This course enables you to become a Certified Games Master, the perfect complement to any and all Scrum Master certifications.

This course is highly interactive with a focus on exploring and learning by playing games. All of the games and exercises used in the course can be used to help your teams, bring your workshops to life and, if you’re a Scurm trainer, inject more interaction into your trainig courses.


After this course, you should be able to:

1. Use the Scrum Foundations and Scrum Essentials practice and their supporting games to:

  • Support training and learning events.
  • Facilitate focussed retrospectives.
  • Assess Scrum applications.
  • Increase engagement with the Scrum Pillars and Values.
  • And generally improve a teams application of Scrum.

2. Use the Essence Kernel cards and games to:

  • Perform a software engineering health check.
  • Assess whether a team’s way of working is fit for purpose.
  • Generate conversations around team competencies and make up.
  • Add any necessary compliance in a practice independent way.

3. Use the Scrum Accelerator Practice alongside the Scrum Essentials and Scrum Foundation Practices to create a focussed action plan for accelerating a teams performance including how to:

  • Assess the effectiveness of the key elements of Scrum.
  • Assess a teams attitude and application for the Scrum Pillars and Values.
  • Understand and select the relevant Scrum Accelerator Patterns to enhance team performance.
  • Build an action plan.
  • Use the Scrum Accelerator Workshop Kit.

4. Use the Scrum@Scale Scrum of Scrums and Executive Scrum practices and their supporting games to:

  • Understand what is essential when scaling scrum.
  • Assess the effectiveness of your selected scaling framework.
  • Build your own reference model and minimal viable bureaucracy.
  • Explore the extent of your Agile Bubble.
Other course info

The following individuals will benefit from this course:

  • Scrum Masters
  • Agile Coaches
  • Scrum of Scrums Masters / Release Train Engineers
  • Practice Authors and methodologists
What you receive: 

The class registration includes:

  • Attendee workbook (provided electronically when training is remote).
  • Course certificate of completion upon request.
  • Access to the Games Master Certification exam.
  • Essence card decks for the 5 Scrum Essential Practices and the Essence Kernel.
  • Access to Mural Templates for on-line gaming.
  • Scrum Accelerator Workshop Kit.

Suggested prerequisites:

  • Scrum Master, or other deep experience of Scrum.
  • A basic knowledge of the Essence Kernel is an advantage but not necessary. Some brief pre-reading will be provided for anyone new to Essence.

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