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Tackle RTE Exhaustion

What you'll learn

  • Why Scrum Masters and Team Coaches should be able to coach and consult on a team level, including helping product owners.
  • How a lack of experience or knowledge of Product Owner's job can create discomfort and how to avoid this
  • It's crucial to foster a team mindset between Scrum Masters, Team Coaches, and Product Owners, as they are all members of the same Agile Team

Welcome to the second video of the series “Tackle RTE Exhaustion: 6 real-life experiences with possible ways out”.  

In the last video the advice was “Delegate, delegate, delegate” because “You and your Scrum Masters and Team Coaches are a virtual team” 

So your Scrum Masters and Team Coaches have to take care of the team level events and also coach the agile team members. 

So your Scrum Master should coach and consult POs.   

Who of you feel comfortable with that? And why not?  

A possible reason is, one needs experience in coaching and experience in the content relevant for the Product Owner. How to consult if you know nothing about the job? So your Scrum Masters and Team Coaches should be able to coach and consult on team level. They should know what the job of the PO is and not only in Theory! 

This is not always given! In some companies scrum master is a role people get volun-told and not volunteered. Which by the way is a completely different problem. But I see a lot of a scrum masters having their heart in coding because that’s their background. 

So one problem is also the Scrum Masters and Team Coaches don’t know much about the Product Owner's job. In my early days as Scrum Master, I was not comfortable to consult POs. How should I help him or her? 

Also often the POs are more senior than the Scrum Masters or Team Coaches. Why should they listen to them. Let’s go one up the “hierarchy”. Let’s go to you – the RTE! 

So for you as an RTE it’s an easy and sweet trap to fall in. You are the experienced Scrum Master/Team Coach of all – that’s why you are the RTE. It’s easy to jump in, if a Scrum Master or a Team Coach feels not skilled in supporting the PO.  But that is one of the reasons for RTE exhaustion. Because the PO will now start bypass / skip everyone else.  And there are many POs to coach in a train! You don’t want to coach every single one. 

There can be a distance between PO and Scrum Master or PO and Team Coach. Sometimes a physical one. Sometimes a hierarchical one; meaning they are located in different departments or even companies. 

Enough with these problems. What can you do? 

So the way out is taking the team mindset of the agile team serious. Scrum Master and PO are team members of the Agile Team. They are sitting in the same boat. They row together.  

So you have to coach your Scrum Master to engage with their PO.  

One way is that the Scrum Master offers help regularly. Not help in the meaning of “Let me teach what agile is!” but more like “How can I help you achieve your and or our Goals?” 

One can only help someone, if he/she knows more about the job. In SAFe we have role-based trainings. So POs are trained with POPM. My biggest advice is, that the scrum masters and Team Coaches visit this training too.  

Next to the learning; They connect to the POs and their PO which is one member of their team. 

Also for the POs this is an enrichment of the training. They see also more the Scrum Masters/ Team Coaches perspectives. They see that we have already skilled people in the train they can rely on, if they have questions about SAFe. 

Also, discuss in the Scrum Master CoP, Community of Practice, topics covering Coaching POs, help each other and grow in this area too.

At the end once again the take away: 

Engage Scrum Masters and Team Coachs to connect their POs for example by attending the the POPM Training together. So SM and TC understand the POs job better and are so able to better support their POs 

So Bring people together -> Scale together 

I’m Niko Kaintantzis,  SPCT and Systemic Coach with KEGON Switzerland. Rentouch behind and I think this is an important topic: “RTE Exhaustion” and more important “ways out”. If you know others in your organization that you think struggle with this topic, do them a favor and send them the link to this video series.

About the course

The role of an RTE in managing matters related to the ART and SAFe Transformation is demanding, leaving them with little opportunity to take a break. Therefore, prioritizing their well-being is crucial to prevent overworking and potential burnout.




Beginner / Intermediate



Last Updated

April 3, 2023

Meet your Expert

Peter Pedross

CEO & Founder PEDCO AG, Chief Methodologist Applied SAFe

Creator of the product Applied SAFe. Started to program for money at the age of 14. Ex-professional sportsman with a passion for software and a knack in engineering. 30+ years working experience with 50+ publications. SAFe SPC since 2011, Agile (XP) since 1999. Happy father and married to a wonderful woman.

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Silvio Wandfluh

Head of Product, SPC5

Silvio is a certified SAFe® Program Consultant and as Head of Product at Rentouch responsible for the innovation of

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Shane Harrison

Business and Agile Leadership Coach

Shane is a business focused change agent, specialising in enterprise level digital Lean/Agile transformations. More than 17 years consulting experience across a variety of industries from pharma to banking Shane is a specialist when it comes to context and culture-specific transformations.

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Ian J Franks

SAFe® 5 Program Consultant & RTE

Ian has a deep knowledge of Scrum, Kanban and Scaled Agile, and 30 years’ experience in international IT Transformation Programs. He is a successful PO, SM & RTE and as a Consultant/Trainer he coaches his clients develop a strong Agile Mindset that delivers real change and measurable improvements.


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