Get To Know… Laurens Bonnema

As you may have experienced yourself already, our trainers are at the heart of our company. Yes, we’re knocking on an open door here, but it’s good to acknowledge that without trainers, we wouldn’t have been a training company. Their expertise, enthusiasm, and teaching skills are vital to our—and your—success.

Kicking off our “Get To Know…” series is Laurens Bonnema, our returning Xebian with almost too many certifications and interests to mention. We’re going to give it a try, though. Get ready for a Q&A with our one and only Obeya Sensei.

30 May, 2024

Who are you and what do you do at Xebia Academy?

“My name is Laurens Bonnema and I’m a trainer with Xebia Academy. I have been for quite a while; I think about two and a half years now. And I’m also an agile management consultant. So, I do that and I train.”

“Approximately 80 percent of my time, I spend delivering excellent training, and 20 percent I spend doing management consulting. To make sure that I have real stories to tell in class.”

“My studio at home really came onto its own when the pandemic started […] . So, that’s when I upgraded my pretty basic kit to an ‘Are you kidding me?’ kit.”

You’ve done quite some different jobs in the past. How did you become a trainer?

“I became a trainer, actually a full-time trainer, about three and a half years ago – but it was a long road to get there. Actually, in a sense, I’ve always been a trainer, but I only recognized this about three and a half years ago.”

“When I was in middle school, even preschool, I started teaching people origami. And every time I learned something new, I really loved teaching it to others. So, when I learned about Agile, I almost immediately started also teaching it to others.”

“And, I loved that. I loved it so much that I decided to spend most of my time doing that. And that’s why I became a full-time trainer.”

So, what do you like most about being a trainer? What is in it for you personally?

“What I love most about being a trainer is the impact that I can make by sharing the knowledge that I’ve gained over the years, being an agile management consultant. And in sharing that knowledge, I can almost immediately see the impact when people are really getting it.”

“And then, almost chomping at the bit to get back to work and implement the stuff that we discussed in class. And that really makes me tick to see that happen.”

We always receive so much good feedback about you as a trainer. What do you think makes you a fun and a good trainer at the same time?

“That’s a tough question. I would probably not say that about myself, but the things I hear back are my enthusiasm for the subjects that I teach and the fact that I really have real-life war stories for almost everything. And, I’m not just able but also willing to share them with a little, well, a twinkle in my eye.”

“Also, I always share some abhorrent failures that I’ve witnessed and experienced. And, of course, my own failures as well. That makes it fun and a really great learning environment.”

You teach many different training courses. What kinds of certifications did you achieve yourself to be able to do that?

“You know, what kind of certification I achieved myself is a bit of a trick question because you also wanted me to keep it brief. And I think I have a lot of certifications.”

“The most important ones to me are my certification as a Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) and as a Safe Practice Consultant (SPC). Those are the ones I use most. And recently, I’ve added to that the Obeya Sensei certificate, which is what I love doing most at the moment.”

“Those three certificates are what helps me to be able to teach all the other classes. But yeah, I’ve gained most certificates in that field. So, Obeya, SAFe, and Scrum. For Professional Scrum (=, I believe I have attained most of the certificates. And even Certified Scrum (= Scrum Alliance). For SAFe, most of them. And for Obeya, actually all of them.”

Some people may know you’ve written about coming back to Xebia; not once, but twice. Maybe that makes you an expert in knowing what makes Xebia (Academy) stand out. So, what is different about training with Xebia Academy?

“I indeed came back to Xebia twice. So, I wrote a blog post titled: ‘A company so nice, I came back twice.’ The first time I left was because I felt I was a failure. Second time I left, I was not really happy anymore with the fact that I couldn’t become a full-time trainer.”

“And that last part is also why I came back, because – come to think of it – I could become a full-time trainer. So, I was asked back and I happily said ‘Yes!’, because at Xebia, I can work with people like Evelien Acun-Roos. And that is really what I love doing: work with the best.”

“When I was in middle school, even preschool, I started teaching people origami.”

Stepping aside from your training activities and work, what are other things that you like doing?

“Well, maybe sadly, I also do a lot of work in my personal time. I’m a ‘community animal’, so to speak. I do a lot of work in the Agile community, but also in the Obeya community. I really love doing that.”

“But if I were to mention a hobby, it would probably be drawing and animating. And some amateur videography, because that is really what I love doing. Together with my son, who also is heavily into that.”

Talking about that, we heard you have a big studio at home. What do you use it for?

“Yeah. My studio at home really came onto its own when the pandemic started, because then I had an excuse to buy all the good stuff. So, that’s when I upgraded my pretty basic kit to an ‘Are you kidding me?’ kit. I actually titled it that and shared what I bought with the community within Xebia.”

“And they had to laugh because I really do have a pretty decent studio at home with very good dynamic mics, hooked up to Universal Audio Apollo Twin, which is for all the nerds among here.”

“It’s like the industry standard and really serious mic technology. I run real-time audio filters and all that stuff. And that’s what I use to deliver – mostly – instructor-led classes. Live from home, with multiple cameras and a cam switcher.”

“So, I have fun doing that, also with a soundboard. And that all comes from making podcasts because that’s how I came to have the gear in the first place. Again, I leveled it up and totally geeked out on it, which is a typical Xebia thing to do. Why keep it simple if you can also just get everything.”

Thank you for reading and watching the interview. We would love to share more about what motivates our trainers, what made them topic experts, what they do besides work, and why they are so passionate about their jobs. Keep an eye out for interviews with our other trainers. Next up: Sander Dur.

Check Laurens’ trainer profile on our website for more information, content, and upcoming courses with Laurens.

Trainer Profile

Learn more about Laurens

Gather more insights shared by Laurens, or find one of his upcoming courses. So, check out his trainer profile.

Laurens Bonnema