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Tackle RTE Exhaustion

What you'll learn

  • Do not take ownership for tasks just because others don’t have time or don't volunteer 
  • Focus on ART-level events and delegate problems and challenges to Scrum Masters and Team Coaches.
  • Bring people together and scale together by engaging Scrum Masters and Team Coaches to connect their Product Owners and become better coaches.
  • Consider Job-sharing
  • Connect with other RTEs
  • Remember, you are not responsible for everything, let others do their jobs too.

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

In the last videos the takeaways where delegate and scale together with peers in the company and also take help from the teams. This last part is important for RTEs new in this role and is also valid for scrum masters and team coaches. 

The problem I would like to address here – I call it the parent reflex. As young parent you may have been in the situation that you don’t have much time to leave the house and your youngest is so slow in using the zipper of the jacket or put on the shoes. How many times you just did the job, because it’s faster and you‘re better.  

The same as an RTE, Scrum Master or Team Coach. You can do it with closed eyes, sleepy or even drunk. But others are so slow and asking question after question. So you do it. Fast and Perfect. 

You look for a volunteer and no one is raising the hand? So you do it. 

The PM on ART level (or on team level: the POs) don’t have time and the deadline is approaching. Of course, you do it. The deadline is important and you are faster on your own. 

And now you wonder why your days are long? And why at the end of the day YOUR job isn’t done? 

Take Away: Do not take ownership for tasks just because PM or POs don’t have time or don't volunteer 

In systemic leadership coaching: I often have to ask: Is this your responsibility?  

The next questions is “Can you take the responsibility not being responsible?” If you are not responsible but you take responsibility for something; You have to find out: why are you doing this? Is this a parent reflex and is it healthy to do so? 

In most cases you can be sure (and you know it already) it’s not on you.  The organization will grow, if you motivate PMs and POs to grow into their responsibility areas.  

Example: It is much easier for you to write features and stories in your ALM tool like JIRA, … you name it. Team members with business background never used this kind of tool and maybe never worked this way before. So they have a learning curve. Assist them in this learning curve instead of taking over this responsibility as well. You will better scale if the PMs and POs facilitate through refinement and content preparation meetings. 

Another example: During retro meetings as scrum master/team coach -- or Problem-Solving Session during I&A as RTE… Is it really your job to note the learnings and Action Items? You facilitate the process: yes. But it’s not your job to put everything later to your improvement backlog or confluence site or whatever your tool is to document and develop forward the items in the process.  

Maybe you remember from the last video: In the PI planning: Whose responsibility is it to explain the planning adjustments after “Management review and problem-solving”? Yes, the Business Executive, not you! 

So the Take Away is: Do not take ownership for tasks just because PM or POs don’t have time or don't volunteer 

So, you're not responsible for everything. 


This was the last video in this series named “Tackle RTE Exhaustion: 6 real-life experiences with possible ways out” lets reflect again on all the key take-aways of the whole series.  

  1. First: Focus on ART-Level Events and Artifacts. Delegate Team Problems and Challenges to Scrum Masters and Team Coaches 
  1. Second: Bring people together -> Scale together. Engage SMs and TCs to connect their POs. Help them to become better Coaches 
  1. Third: You are not alone. Connect to other RTEs 
  1. Fourth: An ART with 2 parttime RTEs is possible. So think about Job Sharing 
  1. Fifth: Ask for help and organize backups and organization committees for big events 
  1. And finally: You're not responsible for everything. Let others do their job, too 

I’m Niko Kaintantzis,  SPCT and Systemic Coach with KEGON Switzerland. I hope you enjoyed the series. 

I would like to thank Rentouch for the support in making it possible to address this important topic. 

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

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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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