SCRUM for Educators

How We Get Things Done, Accomplish More, and Stress Less


  • Mike Smart Intermediate District 287
  • Ben Drewelow Intermediate District 287


SCRUM, Agile, Project Management, PBL, Productivity, Efficiency, Workload, Caseload


Educators frequently find themselves overwhelmed with workloads and caseloads. Teachers report that they feel pulled in a thousand directions. Simply put, we have too many directions, too many initiatives, too many needs to meet, and not enough time in the day. Enter SCRUM, a project management process widely used in the software development industry. This highly effective methodology for managing work can be adapted to personal workflow, administrative initiatives, staff or student projects, professional committee work, teaching and learning, and more. This session answers the often unasked question in education: How? How do we get things done? How do we achieve our desired results? How do we break out of the endless cycle of clarifying and analyzing challenges (talking), and into a pattern of developing and implementing solutions (doing)? You'll leave this hands-on session with an overview of SCRUM, be able to apply practical SCRUM techniques immediately in your work, and have knowledge of free and open-source tools for managing SCRUM.

Author Biographies

Mike Smart, Intermediate District 287

Mike Smart is an Innovation Facilitator with Intermediate District 287 in Minnesota, where he works to bring novel approaches to learning to staff and students. Current areas of emphasis are human-centered design, creative preferences in the workplace, and Agile approaches to education. He is a certified SCRUM Master and FourSight trainer. Mike is the 2007 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. He has an M.A. in Education from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in Economics from Harvard College.


Ben Drewelow, Intermediate District 287

Ben Drewelow is an Intsructional Coach with Intermediate District 287, where he works on the implementation of quality instruction at North Education Center in New Hope, MN. Ben is a Certified SCRUM Master and has worked for the past three years to help educators become more efficient and more productive in managing workloads, caseloads, projects, and all the "extra work" that educators do beyond teaching and learning. Ben was named a 2014 TIES Exceptional Teacher for his integration of technology in the classroom.