Laure Pain (formerly Catrou).
With my ESEO engineer diploma in pocket, I joined HP in 1996 as a software developer in the telecommunication software division. I developed features on signaling platforms on top of which our customers were developping Intelligent Network (IN) telephony applications.
At that time, being a developer meant working alone behind the PC and fighting against the machine. This is the reason why being a Project Manager was kind of "revelation" to me. I much appreciated taking a more relational role.
From that point in time, started 8 years of Project Management activities in waterfall approach.
I had the opportunity, during this period, to mature my Project Management "know-how" in an organization that reached a level equivalent to CMMI level 2, even level 3 in some areas. I also moved from project manager role, managing pure engineering projects to release manager role, managing more global projects including engineering, delivery, support, documentation, marketing activities. I much appreciated taking "Release Manager" role, and getting a more global picture of the business.
In January 2008, our department had to part with contractor workforce. That meant losing 12 testers. The senior management then asked the Project teams to work using Scrum framework on the signaling program. Developers were informed they had now to do more various activities, including tests.
I was asked to be Scrum Master for a team of 10 people. I got the CSM certification in January 2008, but from that point, I had learnt many things but that were not so easy to apply!
Resistance to change came first from Team Members but decrease a little more as every iteration ran better and as team empowerment was so satisfying, though hard to setup in minds. I tried my best to encourage people to go for activities out of their expertise domain from time to time, including adaptive planning. I fostered collective knowledge, fair task repartition, roles rotation. I also pushed for cross-functional backlog items, having Done criteria for User Stories more and more complete.
One key success factor of scrum adoption in our case was a weekly rotation of 2 people exiting from sprint activities and ensuring urgent support activities. It required polyvalent people capable to ensure new feature activities and maintenance but it was reached combining a maintenance expert with a new maintainer on certain weeks.
We gain much from adopting scrum: team better morale, higher productivity and predictability on our release commitments in term of scope, schedule and cost. We grow much more disciplined in an intensive communication context: discipline during meetings, more rigorous also on our sense of ownership, commitment, on our way to take decisions. Finally the team succeeded in delivering the same products on the same frequency but with 12 people less.
The HP agile community helped a lot on our way to scrum, as well as a 3 days coaching: among much other awareness, it yielded to comprehend the gap between a traditional project manager working in controlling mode against a detailed plan to a Scrum Master working in supporting mode.
Then came resistance to change from Managers who had “lost” the project manager with whom they were used to work. Discussing this point later with another scrum practitioner, I assume one or two team members should take the responsibility of ensuring communication with Managers or Stakeholders. Because we cannot ask them to deal with a group of people, there must be some team representatives.
One of the last handled project, when I was in the Scrum Master shoes, ended on scope, ahead of schedule with a larger scope and my team was proclaimed HP CMS Heroes, an internal HP recognition!
From January 2008 to January 2009, I also led an agile community with involved Managers and other Scrum Masters to share lessons learned, good pratices, experiences with other groups on HP Sophia Site. In that context we have also been in contact with other teams in India which were on the same business area and promoted them the scrum methodology, gave advices as fas as we could to help them adopt also agile and better manage their support activities versus new product activities.
I then come back to my beloved Release Management activities in January 2009, endorsing also the role of Product Owner while one Team Member took over the role of Scrum Master.
Release Manager being the Product Owner was the appropriate formula for two reasons. First reason was I could build a product backlog with stories enough detailed to the team. Second reason was that I could speak as one unique voice to the team after having consolidated needs from both the Program Manager and the Support Manager.
I learned a lot until january 2010 in this Release Manager & Product Owner role about how to how to deal with agile projects and dependencies with non-agile groups, how to respect big IT company constraints such as cost control, roadmap annoucements, reporting rules… with agile project teams.
Since January 2010 I worked for the Central Project Management Office (Central PMO) group of Amadeus company. Amadeus Top Management indeed is interested by studying how agile could serve at most their business interests. Interest also comes from teams.
My activities in this position are to “evangelize” agile approach within the various divisions of the company, to contribute to an Agile Amadeus methodology definition that is compatible with CMMI level 2, to help teams adopt agile frameworks, delivering them presentations, coaching sessions, trainings. I also drive an agile community, who gives feedback on the corporate agile methodology the PMO team has drafted. This community is the Product Owner of PMO team in a sense.
Early May 2010, to complement my scrum knowledge, I followed a CSPO course given by Martine Devos.
I much enjoy the central and relational role I have as a Central PMO consultant in Amadeus. This job allows me to look at many different project management contexts and allows me to develop coaching skills. As well as I am fully conscious of the time, energy and impacts it will take/request to adopt agile in a larger scale than what is going on today in Amadeus. Fortunately I have much energy coming from my personal convictions!