Accept to grieve

Alexandre Claus
3 min readMar 8, 2022

According to Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, we must go through different stages to accept a new situation and allow ourselves to live it fully and serenely consider the future.

This introduces that new roles and responsibilities are distributed around people in many companies implementing Agile.

Often the Scrum Master is endorsed by a senior developer or manager who is used to “imposing” their authority or solution thanks to their technical expertise.

However, if today an organisation seeks to apply the Agile principle, it is because in our environment, we have a paradigm shift:


Paradigm shift as we shift from traditional

  • The customer knows what they need
  • The teams know how to deliver
  • Nothing will change along the way

To these assumptions

  • The customer discovers what they need
  • The teams discover how to deliver it
  • Many things change along the way

Therefore, it is about optimising our process and changing the underlying assumptions.

Unfortunately, organisations do not prepare sufficiently, or even at all, this new way of working and people resist changes.

A common cognitive bias is to think that “what is good for me, is also for the others”. This makes us miss the questions and fears of those affected by the change.

Easily integrating a change and committing to it requires personal awareness, the acceptance of one’s emotions and the renewal of some well-anchored certainties.

Only the person who has decided to do so will accept the change and be part of unlearning and then learning.

As a Scrum Master, it will be necessary to act and gather some coaching expertise that will help the team or the organisation integrate this new paradigm.

Therefore, it is a question of replacing, or abandoning at least in part, old postures with new ones; to change from one world view collectively and fundamentally to another. This collective change goes through phases of adoption/rejection, redefinition of objectives and experiences in which the transformations occur.

In this sense, the “Agile” transformations add a lot of new words/job/organisation titles (I’ll let you make a list!) but also wish to change nothing of the steering, management and tools that are doomed not to succeed.

For the consultant, the manager will need to let go of their technical expertise and move on to another job to promote interactions within the team and between the team and external contacts; “provider of solutions” or principal, they should remove impediments. They must agree not to do any more, but to “make do”.

Therefore, experts, consultants and managers might need to abandon their approach to give a chance to the team to provide the best of themselves.

Steps 1 and 2: listen, allow the person to express and verbalise their feelings, inform and be a teacher.

Steps 3 and 4: communicate, facilitate the communication between actors, and allow everyone to visualise the change concretely.

Steps 5 & 6: fix small goals, encourage, promote success, and encourage the person.

Step 7: Take stock of the objectives achieved, measure progress, allow the person to be satisfied and proud of the progress made.