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Tackle RTE Exhaustion

What you'll learn

  • You don't have to be the hero, ask for help and organize back-ups who can take over when you are overwhelmed.
  • Focus on content work, such as preparing sessions and coaching speakers, by having helping hands for admin tasks.
  • If your energy is dropping, ask your backup person to jump in and take over.
  • Listen to your body and take breaks when needed

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. Now the question is: what do you do if you have too many things to do on your ART and on your level? – And you have no job sharing with another RTE as discussed in the last video. 

As an RTE you are responsible for – and have to organize – many events on ART level. Let’s take for instance the PI Planning.  

What has to be organized if you do it onsite? 

Location, Coffee, Food, Snacks, Water, Cups, Tables, Flip charts and Pinboards, Sharpies, Post-its, the Team areas, the speeches and the mics. 

Extra monitors, space/area for people you need because they have a significant input to the PI planning, but also have to work on something else too. 

If you do it onsite without tools, you need a lot of physical material:  The top candidate features for the PI Planning in cards. Also tape - tesa film - string and scissors for the dependencies,  

And don’t forget the social part. Usually, we have social engagements  during or around PI planning. 

So for the whole admin preparation stuff: You are responsible for the PI Planning, but you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Include Scrum-Masters and Team Coaches for their own team area. Name some coaches or Scrum Masters to be also co-organizers and give them some specific tasks - like reserve Flipcharts and build up the needed areas. Or having dedicated people to print out the features for the PI planning (if you do it without tools) 

Let one scrum master be in charge in organizing snacks and coffee machines.  

I love to have an organization committee to organize the social! 

So much on the admin tasks. After having helping hands for these admin things you can focus on content work like: Prepare the sessions in the morning of the first day. So you have to coach the speakers, take care that they nail the message – short and effective. Maybe ask to run rehearsals. Especially the business context should motivate the teams —showing why their work is important for the company! And also make sure that features, vision and roadmap are ready and updated.  

The most important job you have is: Moderate through the whole event and make it a success. This for the full two days. Have you ever wished that the PI ends earlier? 

What could be a way out?  

Care for a content wise back up or helping hand that is there for you during the PI Planning Event. In an early stage this can be your coach. In a later stage when your coach is not present at the PI Planning ask a scrum master or a team coach if he/she wants to be your backup. Of course you ask in advance and explain what back up means. 

How do I interpret back up? 

Normally your battery starts low in day two. And I’ve often seen as an RTE coach that during the risk roaming part, the RTEs are praying that the day ends fast and smooth and the confidence vote will be high enough. This is dangerous because you try to wipe things away. And you have the standing and the power to do so. You have also the skills to do so without someone noticing it. But as my uncle told me once “with great power comes great responsibility” 😉 

And taking your job seriously, is: Listen to your body and let someone other moderate. 

What I mean with that? 

Ask in advance one Scrum Master or Team Coach if she/he want’s to do the roaming session in case you are exhausted.  Also ask her or him to step in with good questions if she or he has the feeling the risks are note handled with the necessary serosity.  

By the way: Why is the battery of the RTE on the second day of the PI planning so empty? Sometimes there are the short nights between the Session “Management review and problem-solving” and “Planning adjustments”.  

One big misunderstanding here: It’s not the Job of the RTE making slides over night to show the adjustments. It’s OK to have a flipchart – THE flipchart you used in the “Management review and problem-solving”-Session. 

And it’s also not your job to present the adjustments. It’s the job of the business owners or highest business executive! 

The Take Away of this Video is: Ask for help and organize a backup. You are not the hero. If your battery is going towards 0 give the stage to your backup person. (or helping hand). 

So organize help and back up for big events (like PI Planning). This for admin and for content jobs 

I’m Niko Kaintantzis,  SPCT and Systemic Coach with KEGON Switzerland and I’m happy to sit in the studio bringing closer to you this important topic “RTE Exhaustion” and more important “ways out”

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

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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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