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Donna Ackerman

  

Sr IT Project Manager, Scrum Master/Coach, AIM Consulting

Location: Dallas, TX


Certifications

Certified Scrum Professional
Certified ScrumMaster
Certified Scrum Product Owner

Credentials

Biography

Donna Ackerman Learning and practicing the Scrum methodology has helped me to develop a healthy work ethic and expectations for myself and for others on my team. Scrum teams work very hard and are very committed but must also have a healthy work life balance. Scrum has provided this opportunity as long as all team members are committed to the Scrum tenets and remain transparent. The result was much less burn-out, unhappiness, and mediocre work in my teams. The Scrum methodology has enabled me to empower team members in embracing other roles and responsibilities, which were very unlikely in a waterfall environment, and without repercussions if mistakes were made. This helped them expand their knowledge and experiences and increased their confidence level. As a result I was able to witness them becoming more dedicated, happy team members who were actually excited to participate, volunteer for new things and help other team members. I have also been able to be a part of mentoring and facilitating solutions instead of managing and dictating a solution the team did not derive of on their own. The team was finally able to trust that if we tried something new and it did not work they were not stuck with that process indefinitely. I learned to have authority over the Scrum process by attaining team buy-in to the process while giving the team the freedom to determine new solutions on how to deliver their commitments according to the agreed upon definition of done. Being a Certified Scrum Professional has also given me the opportunity to observe and consult with various companies and teams in various industries. Those opportunities provided me and the companies I have worked for the confidence that I had the expertise to coach and lead new or mature teams. I am able to help the teams continually refine their processes and Scrum practice by sharing ideas and cultivating an experimental environment that can quickly react to change without penalty. Being exposed to many different teams in various companies and departments has allowed me to observe a lot of practices within Scrum that worked well and others that did not work well depending on the corporate culture, corporate structure, size, environment and available tools and support enabling me to document and share those experiences with others. I have had the ability to successfully coach cross functional Scrum teams that spanned across up to five nations by proposing creative electronic solutions to make the team feel as though they were co-located as much as possible that kept communications and work open and transparent. Being a Certified Scrum Professional has also given me the confidence not only to attend the DFW Scrum User group but to also actively participate and offer suggestions and scenarios based on my observations and experiences while continually learning from other Scrum professionals. The most revisited training that I tend to conduct with my teams is the estimation process in points. This piece of the Scrum manifesto has been the most difficult piece of the process for many of my teams to fully understand, adopt and become comfortable with. The DFW Scrum User group has had many discussions on this topic and conducted many different hands on exercises to aid in the understanding and adoption. I have been able to recreate these exercises for my teams and facilitate further discussions which helped in their understanding and adoption of points estimation. I continue to share my Scrum articles and knowledge and have started many Project Managers on the path to learning Scrum and remained their mentor as they were gaining experience. Mentoring new Scrum Masters has also helped me expand my exposure to additional corporate road blocks and issues one runs into when implementing change or establishing a new process or methodology. With each new environment, each new team and each new person I meet I gain more and more exposure to different ways of thinking and working, to new obstacles and to new solutions which continue to help fill my toolbox in which to share with the next team I work with. Mentoring and brainstorming with many Scrum Masters in combination with additional reading, education and practical hands on experience has proved to be invaluable in the learning process and has allowed me to develop into a confident servant leader.

Work experience

AIM Consulting, Sr. IT Project Manager / Scrum Coach
October 2015 - Present, Dallas, Texas, United States
Sr. IT Project Manager and Scrum Coach Customer: Home Depot Technical Center Team(s): □ Installations Infrastructure □ Installations Sales Rep GUI/Tools □ Installations Help Desk GUI/Tools  Leading organizational discussion on how to prepare for the reorganization and adoption of Scrum.  Leading infrastructure upgrade, and e-Commerce teams with new development and maintenance software projects.  Artifacts / Tools: Pivotal Tracker, MS Project, SharePoint, Excel, PowerPoint, VISIO.

Insight Global Consulting, Sr. IT Project Manager / Scrum Coach
June 2015 - October 2015, Dallas, Texas, United States
Project Manager that oversaw four Scrum teams. Customer:  Fidelity Investments  Lead two on shore and two off shore (China) Scrum teams with new development and infrastructure / maintenance projects.  Assisted in removing obstacles and impediments, escalating issues to find quick resolution, and liaison between cross functional and project dependent teams.  Statistical analysis of health of projects and generated Scrum reports utilized for transparent team progress, forecasting and planning.  Continued to improve the PMO process and tools that enabled the advancement of the PMO and Scrum methodology.  Artifacts / Tools: TFS, SharePoint, PPMC, Excel, PowerPoint. Team: FocusPoint Financial Rep Customer Service Tool/GUI

Sabre, Sr. IT Project Manager and Scrum Master
April 2010 - June 2015, Southlake, Texas, United States
 As the Program Manager, managed a portfolio of large software development projects in a traditional waterfall / Scrum fusion software environment.  Project Manager for multiple, large (50k+ man hours) software development projects concurrently that were distributed across multiple teams (typically 6-20), and across three to five nations / time-zones (Mainly the US, India, and Poland).  Implemented the Scrum methodology for the eHotels team and continued to coach and mentor the team in effective adoption and use of agile principles and practices.  Organized and facilitated sprint and release planning sessions, demos and retrospectives; removing obstacles to ensure successful delivery by the development teams.  Drove business conversations at all levels of the organization, both strategic and tactical, negotiating business priority, driving key decisions and managing stakeholder expectations.  As the Delivery Manager, partnered with Product Management, Marketing, and technology teams for development and launch of all initiatives including integrations with key joint venture partners, outside customers and new tools.  Actively advanced the Scrum Project Management methodology within the traditional / waterfall environment through coaching, training, and leading by example while performing all phases of the traditional SDLC.  Artifacts / Tools: VersionOne (Backlog and Iteration Planning), JIRA (Bug Tracker), MS Project, PowerPoint (Project Reporting) MS Excel (Milestone Planning, Resourcing, Forecasting, Dependency and Risk Logs), SharePoint (Project Sites), Business Objects (Budget Tracking), MS Word, VISIO. Teams within the Airline Travel Reservations Management System: Pricing, Ticketing, PNR, Inventory, Merchandising, eHotels, eCars

Pegasus Solutions, IT Project Manager II and Scrum Master
October 2008 - April 2010, Dallas, Texas, United States
 Successfully implemented the Scrum Project Management methodology in a traditional / waterfall software environment and continue to coach and mentor team while serving the role as Scrum Master.  Trained developers, Testers and Product Owners in the Scrum process and on Rally Agile Project Management software.  Planned, scheduled, and facilitated project kick off meetings and Scrum meetings, including the Daily Scrum, Sprint Planning, Sprint Demo and Review / Retrospective.  Increased productivity by promoting and ensuring open communications and self managed teams through leading, coaching and training Scrum teams in the Scrum methodology.  Risk mitigation by identifying and facilitating the removal or mitigation of obstacles and roadblocks, including scope creep management.  Monthly capitol resource forecasting.  Responsible for implementation and continuous improvement of product development’s Scrum framework.  Artifacts / Tools: Rally, MS Project, SharePoint, Excel, PowerPoint, MS Word, VISIO. Team: Hotel Travel Reservations Management System: Customer Reservations Management

Idearc/SuperMedia, Scrum Master
April 2006 - October 2008, Dallas, Texas, United States
Scrum Master for several analytics and new software development teams.  Documented program level dependencies and risks which assist in project planning.  Planned, scheduled and facilitated Scrum team meetings and cross-functional Scrum of Scrums that ensured open communication and mitigated any project roadblocks.  Facilitated the translation of business requirements into technical requirements between Product Owners and technical teams.  Facilitated cross-organizational employee think tank sessions in search of the next corporate competitive advantage.  Worked closely with the SOX documentation specialist to ensure a full understanding of new processes for all financially impacting projects.  Artifacts / Tools: MS Project, SharePoint, Excel, PowerPoint, MS Word, VISIO. Teams: * Analytics/Reporting * Online Advertising * Legal

 

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