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Charlie Pfeiffer

  

Portfolio Manager, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources

Location: Davis, CA


Certifications

Certified Scrum Professional
Certified ScrumMaster
Certified Scrum Product Owner

Biography

I earned my CSM in February 2011, CSPO in December 2011, and my CSP in May 2014.  Like many Scrum practitioners, my Project Management background began working primarily with Waterfall methodologies.  I was a huge advocate of PMI and the PMBOK guide, but kept hearing about this mystical "Agile" methodology.  When I began researching Agile in 2010, I found that many of the advantages written about Agile were tied directly to the areas my projects consistently struggled with using Waterfall.

At the time I was the Director of the PMO for a small organization in South Florida, and was given the freedom to obtain my CSM and implement Agile.  The implementation was bumpy, and I knew my lack of experience wasn't helping, but I am pleased that they are still using Agile.  It was shortly after the implementation that I was offered a position as a ScrumMaster at another organization.  It wasn't easy to leave a Director level position, but I knew I needed to be in an environment where my peers had more Agile experience.

In early 2011 I joined Qpay, Inc as a ScrumMaster (also in South Florida).  They were in the early stages of implementing Scrum, so it was a great opportunity to get in at the ground floor.  The main difference at Qpay was it wasn't one person, or one small department implementing Scum.  Starting with a very strong CIO there was buy-in and full engagement from the executive level down.  With everyone focused on the same goal the implementation Scrum was quite successful.  One of the great things about the Scrum environment at Qpay was the implementation of Scrum was never really "over".  We continued to evolve and improve our Scrum processes throughout my tenure there.  We were never satisfied with having a status quo, and always strived to improve.  I feel very proud and fortunate to have been a part of Qpay for those years.

While at Qpay I was also able to transition into other roles, which helped me achieve an even more comprehensive understanding of Scrum.  After about a year in the ScrumMaster role, I transitioned to a Product Owner role and acquired my CSPO.  A year later I was promoted to a Director position in the Operations department, which put me in a key stakeholder position for many of the Scrum teams.  I was also able to have a small project team of my own for managing Operations projects, which included implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  Overall it was a phenomenal experience to work with such a high-performing organization, and to gain experience from a ScrumMaster role, Product Owner role, and a key stakeholder role.

In January 2014 I was offered an IT Project Manager opportunity with an organization in my hometown of Sacramento, CA.  Once again I found myself making the difficult position to leave a Director level position, but could not pass up the opportunity to return home.  It helped that the organization was interested to transition from Waterfall to Agile, and desired my expertise to assist in the transition.  Unfortunately, the transition was met with great resistance from IT Leadership and IT Governance.  Even after bringing in a Certified Scrum Trainer to educate all of IT, as well as stakeholders, the organization ultimately put a much larger value on heavy processes and heavy controls over individuals/interactions and working software.  Portions of Agile were adopted, but I would not consider the processes implemented to be true to what Agile is.  Although IT did not implement Agile, the Marketing department did recognize the value of Scrum and had me provide Scrum training to their team.  And while I was not satisfied with the Agile adoption in IT, it was a small victory to assist the Marketing department in implementing Scrum, which they continue using today.

I joined University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR) in March 2015.  They have never had any project mangement processes in IT, and brought me in to establish processes and potentially build a PMO.  In my short time at UCANR it is apparent Scrum would be a great fit for the software development teams.  They have a large number of products they support, and not a very large team to support them.  As a result, there is a large amount of backlog items that need to be organized and prioritized to balance maintaining Production environments, as well as developing new software.  Thankfully the leadership team and the development teams seem excited about Scrum and are eager to implement.  More to come on how the Scrum implementation at UCANR goes.

Work experience

University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, IT Project Manager
March 2015 - Present, Davis, CA, US
Implementing project/portfolio management processes in IT, which will include a Scrum implementation.

California Earthquake Authority, Project Manager / ScrumMaster
January 2014 - March 2015, Sacramento, CA
Working as an IT Project Manager, and tasked with converting the organization from Waterfall to Agile. In my time at CEA I have been working to design Agile processes that will work for CEA using my Scrum background, providing education to the IT Management staff on Scrum practices, and developing an implementation plan to convert to Scrum

Qpay, Inc., Scrum Master and Product Owner
March 2011 - December 2013, Miami, FL, United States
I worked as a ScrumMaster and as a Product Owner at Qpay. I also worked in a team member role as a primary stakeholder (as a Director in Operations).

 

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