Don’t let anyone steal from you!

Your time is yours, don’t let anyone steal that from you. This is something you are in full control over and is perfectly in your realm of influence. Watch this and apply immediately.

David Grady: How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings is one of the best pragmatic Ted talks I’ve ever seen and a classic to show anyone

Donating 1%, November 2022


I keep coming back to Justdiggit. It so much resonates with what I think is a very simple solution for a what seems a complex problem. And the results can be seen from space!

So, again, this month I’m donating to Justdiggit again.

Inspired by Patagonia, I’ve decided to donate 1% of my monthly gross revenue (ex VAT) to charity involving our Planet. Every month I’m going to pick a charity/ngo/whatever that resonates with “making the world just 1% better”. If you can deal with just 1% less (you’ve got 99% left), join me in donating to whatever cause resonates with you.

Ask this during an intake/interview

🙋 Ask this question as in (interim) manager during an intake/interview:

“What answers/solutions to your problems/challenges do you actually already know or have been told by your employees, but you just don’t dare to act upon?”

In most of my assignments I’m hired to help out when problems are bigger than the company can solve themselves. They need an outside look on things or just an interim manager to fix things. In my experience, a lot of the solutions are already known. They just don’t act. Management doesn’t dare to, or they need an outsider to confirm thing and clean things up. I once even opened my analysis of what’s going on with the following single sentence on a slide.

🤨 “What if everything I’m going to tell you, has already been told to you by your employees? Why would you listen now?”

❓What are your experiences with this?

No running for another 3 weeks, the benefits

To be honest, not much benefits came to mind in the beginning.

Yesterday, I visited the PT again as the whiplash in my right calf muscle is still not 100% healed. At least, it happened a second time 9 days ago and it still feels slightly sore after 40 minutes of normal walking.

PT advice

  • No running for another 3 weeks, just to be sure and let it heal properly. New appointment on Dec 27, and than we plan further.
  • Biking, swimming etc. is fine, just no strain on the calf muscle.
  • Strength training fine, just no strain on the calf muscle
  • No stretching etc. Although the internal wound is closed, it’s still fragile and stretching might tear it open again

So, what are the benefits?

  • Not just the calf muscle, but my entire body gets some rest. Ultra-training is a lot of running a lot of times, so it’s good to have a few weeks off. My ADHD doesn’t seem to think so though.
  • Mental toughness. Dealing with set backs is part of the process of training, so dealing with this will make me stronger. Especially making sure that I stay okay for myself and my family with ADHD raging both physically and mentally
  • Working on core/strength. My shoulder (another injury) is pretty okay again, so I can do some strength training for core, upper body and some leg work. I needed to incorporate that anyway.
  • Doing some other activities, such as biking (if the weather permits) and swimming. I’ve added the available time slots in my calendar so I can see everyday if I can to that (tip!).

Goal is to still be running ultra’s when I’m 90, so I’m considering this a minor set back…

Starting as a freelancer, a practical guide

I’ve been a freelancer for 5 years now. In these years a lot of (new) colleagues asked me how to get started. I always thought it wasn’t that special, but I guess going freelance is still “a thing”.

Here is a practical guide to get started. There is some Dutch specific stuff in here, but most is not country specific and common sense. 

🎓 Official part

Go to and follow the steps.

Save the bills as expenses 🙂

Now you’re set! Go! Be a freelancer! Don’t make it harder than it is 🙂

All the other stuff is optional, not officially needed, but I think super helpful, so read on if you want!

🚨 Mandatory from my perspective

Get insured (you need to get help for this from an intermediate, helped my out)

  1. Legal Counsel (rechtsbijstand ZZP)
  2. Professional Liability (Beroeps- & Bedrijfsaansprakelijkheid)
  3. Disability insurance
  4. Optional but highly recommended: insurance for your stuff
  5. Pension (or “old age money”). I’ve got my freelance tax friendly account at

Do this also!

  1. Officially it’s not mandatory, at least not in the Netherlands, but it is still very helpful: business bankaccount. I’ve got mine through as it has some integrations my usual bank ASN does not have yet. Especially the integration with my “account” (see point 3).
  2. Website & email, but make it simple. Get your domain, easy template and go! (see for instance Costs per year: ~1-2 hours work. Usually this includes emails as well, I’ve integrated with Google Workspace for and additional 6 euro’s per month, so my mail is with google although I use my own extension. You can always make it more elaborate along the way
  3. Outsource your finances, but send your invoices yourself. I’m with , someone local is probably best. They do all my VAT-taxes (BTW), my business year-report and my income taxes (and of my wife’s) every year. Costs per month: 1/2-1 hours of work with my hourly rate. They also make sure I get all my “starting up” tax discounts.
  4. Simple (Google) sheets with your daily hours (payed and not payed) including your travels and distance. With some pivots you get a lot of overview and insights.
    • Data for your invoices
    • Overview of distances travelled (taxes
    • Year over year data on your performance
    • How much you do for clients 
    • Etc. and so on…
  5. Doc for your invoices (for me also through Google), I just copy paste the last one, chance the numbers, download as pdf and send
  6. Buy almost everything you need as a business expense, your “accountant” can help (see point 3). This means laptop, phone, internet bill, paper, pens etc. If you already have them, get them on your expenses anyway as starting expenses, your accountant knows how.

💸 Backup

And last but not least, start saving money! Make sure you have at least 4-6 months of living costs saved up over time as a backup for the times you are out of an assignment or something else happens. Do this before you invest in other stuff!

❓I’m probably forgetting some things I now find natural, so if you have any questions or things you miss, just ask!

My week of running ( Nov 28 – Dec 4)

My week of running is still not running.

I have a whiplash in my calf and it’s still sore. The first was a couple of weeks ago. I thought I recovered. I did a test run (30 min of 5 min run, 1 min walk) and that was fine. Checked with the Physical Therapist (PT) and everything was good, so I could start running again. Building in 3 weeks towards 1,5 hour run.

Waited to days and did a 35 min (5 min run, 1 min walk) sessions and on the third 5 min, “Tjak”, whiplash was back.

That has been 1,5 weeks ago and it’s still just a bit sore.

Did some biking, but it’s too cold now. Did the mandatory 30 min walking every day. Today it was 50 min but after 40 min felt the calf again.


Tomorrow session with the PT to see what I need to do.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.”

I heard this saying (a Chinese proverb) a couple of times in the last days. Today again in Buitenhof, a tv talkshow. And I think I read it in “Steal like an artist” from Austin Kleon (highly recommended by the way). As it is December and almost everybody is thinking about new years resolutions, the saying resonates.

🤮 One part of me mentally throws up a bit every time somebody talks about new years resolutions. The reason is that you can start with something new every day. Every day can be a new beginning, a new year, so start now.

⏰ On the other hand, it helps to have some kind of marking moment to try to get the right start. It helps to give a basis, a “special” moment in time to give the starting moment a bit more emphasis. And it helps if others do the same, so you can keep each other accountable.

🎬 The proverb also helps to realise, that yes, a needed change could and maybe should have been done earlier (days, months or even years), but there’s no changing the past.

What you can do is to start NOW.

My one goal, feel free

That is to feel a certain freedom again I’ve lost in the last 2 years.

I need to feel free and I don’t feel it right now. I don’t feel free today because:

  1. I’m out of an assignment right now
  2. I don’t have that capital right now to go without an assignment for a couple of months

Dude, but you are a freelancer, so you should have a backup, right?

I did, but it’s gone. Not because I did something stupid, but because we had to do a couple of things.

  1. Last year my son was sick for a long time, bad case of Mono’s (Pfeiffer) so fortunately as I had backup, I could take care of him and stay home with him
  2. We had some things to do in our house
  3. We really wanted to go on an extended vacation with a mobile home to Germany, Denmark and Sweden.

We all did the above and we are very happy with it, don’t get me wrong.

So, even when I’m writing this I feel like I’m whining, so rationally I know there’s nothing to complain about, we’re healthy, we have and had a lot of fun and we did and still do a lot if things others can’t.

But my Feeling Brain (thanks Mark Manson) still feels trapped. That means 2 things.

  1. I want to be more stoic (thanks Ryan Reynolds) about what’s going on
  2. I’m going to be more intentional and make sure I get that backup again.

That means landing a new assignment of course.

Antifragile instead of Agile

I think Antifragile is a better term than Agile.

Agile for me is a term related to flexible, able to go with the flow, and “bend” to change and able to move quickly. But do you really want to bend to change? Do you really want to move quickly all the time?

Antifragile is a term introduced to me by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book with the same name: Antifragile, things that gain from disorder.

The definition is: “Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better”

For me antifragile includes agile, but you need more than just agile. The idea is that you get better with every change or set back you have, you come out stronger. That’s what you want as a company.

Stop hiring Agile Coaches

You don’t need them on a permanent basis.

First, I’m all for the values and principles in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. And I believe these same values and most of the principles apply beyond the realm of software development.

Second, I’m all for collaboration within and between teams. If the Scrum Framework is a set of instrumental rules that helps use them. As a means, not as an end in itself though.

Third, I’m all for outside help with these values/principles and collaboration rules if needed. 


If a team/department or even an entire organisation needs permanent help with this, there’s something wrong within your team/department/organisation that has nothing to do with Agile/Scrum. There might be something wrong with any or all of these things (and the list is not exhaustive):

  • Leadership, especially with leading by example
  • Basic work ethics, such as showing up for meetings on time
  • Meaningful work as a team (ticking of to do’s, instead of solving problems)
  • The right person for the right job at the right time
  • Team dynamics on a more personal level

In any of the above things, leadership needs to step in!

Of course Agile coaches can help to teach and coach on the Agile values and principles and with the chose Agile collaboration framework of choice (except SAFe or LeSS, they are just evil). But it is a temporary thing, not a permanent thing. Here are some examples and a timeframe.

New Team > 3 months max

If you have a bright new team, with people that have never worked together an Agile Coach can help to set up the right rhythm of feedback loops and meetings, helping to crate a safe working environment and the “rituals” the team needs. So no by the book Scrum implementation please. If in 3 months the team hasn’t found their rhythm, something else is wrong. By the way, this is not full time work for 1 Agile Coach, so if you don’t have an Agile Coach that coaches several teams (5-10) hire a freelancer.

Existing team with “challenges” > 1-2 months max

If an existing team faces challenges, an outside coach can help to sort things out. Emphasis on outside coach, a person not in the team and preferably not in the organisation that reflects with the team on what’s going on and helps them out. When deeper shit surfaces and/or the problem cannot be solved in 1-2 months, there something else going on an normal management needs to step in.

Large organisation with 10 teams or more

Preferably, have a network of a couple of freelance Agile coaches that can help out. If that’s not possible, hire 1 or 2 Agile Coaches on a permanent basis to help out teams when they need them. These Agile coaches need to be fully independent and self-starters, their only job is to help solve a problem and then leave the team again. Or if new teams are formed, get them started and then leave.

Leadership that isn’t Agile > 3 months max

Now you definitely need an outsider. Never, ever use an inside Agile Coach to teach you the simple values and principles. Leadership needs to live it, action it and not just know it. If you as leadership cannot do that, look in the mirror! And for a max of 3 months you need that mirror to come from outside your organisation.

By the way: Same applies for Scrum Masters…