Visa Cape Town, Scrum Master
November 2013 - Present, Cape Town , Western Cape, ZA
I am privileged to have been appointed as Scrum Master for a major, global company. My journey with Visa started with two development teams, a distributed team in Chennai India and I was seconded for a 6 month period into the Support team as scrum master. The teams have been exposed, trained with various levels of maturity to the scrum process. Even with this foundation in place, always time for inspection and adaption. Within this environment, I started equipping and learning the engineering practices of TDD, PP and BDD. My next level of learning of the SDLC on a more technical level. I used the retrospective to campaign for the kind of training or knowledge transfer the team members required, then set up brown bag lunch time developer sessions to secure this knowledge transfer session between team members, and any other interested parties in the organization.
I was also exposed to KanBan while I was in support. The challenges were huge at times, given the client severity for remediation. I worked closely with the technical analyst and product to ensure that we have the prioritized bug list for the team to work on. It was also ensuring that WIP limits were adhered to and that team members do not create bottlenecks with testing or speaking directly with the clients. Communication was essential and key for releasing back into production.
My biggest challenge was the distributed team in Chennai. It is a ten member team, with a rotation every 6 weeks for two members, to sit onsite in Cape Town. They were not exposed to scrum but were keen to learn. I decided that KanBan was the better suited technique for the project we were working on. The team has an electronic KanBan board which everyone has access to and the Cape Town team has a physical board for their focus points. I brought structure and opened communication to tele-conferencing in our daily standups versus only email. My impediments resolutions had to be timeous as it affected the offshore team too and I had to always consider the time zones. What I enjoy most was how the team held me accountable for my tasks.
I have, and still building great relationships with the people I work with. Being a servant leader to my teams, standing back, watching them succeed or fail is what it’s about.
Alacrity Technologies, Scrum Master
July 2011 - October 2013, Cape Town, ZA
Alacrity Technologies is a privately held software company that provides services and crafts software solutions to fit a specific business and technology domain. For more than a decade Alacrity has provided the South African financial services and retail industries with exceptional software solutions, strategic services and technical teams.
I was based at a Client site with two development teams. One being new to Scrum and the other more intermediate level of experience in the Scrum process. This was a great opportunity for me to be able to "teach" through inter-active scrum 101 workshops. By this exercise I was able to gage the maturity levels in both teams. It gave insight on what to focus on, identify the gaps in understanding of scrum and then to facilitate and take action on the improvement areas in the process. By going through this teaching method, it gave me a chance as scrum master to assess my level of understanding and part knowledge to increase the teams IP with scrum. Going forward, it was about inspection, adaption and transparency.
I have was also tasked to be involved with the presenting Scrum to new employees of the business as part of their induction. This involved the setup of material, presenting and fielding challenging but sometimes interesting questions on the process. The presentation became a standard practice at the client. As more scrum masters joined, we were able to use the standard presentation, and we improved on it going forward. We introduced agile games to the teams and a coaching circle. The time I spent at this client developed my potential to great scrum mastery. This was possible because there was buy in from the top down, positive influence and guidance which allowed the transition to take place.
Metropolitan EB, Project Co-ordinator/Scrum Master
September 2004 - June 2011, Cape Town, ZA
Metropolitan is a leading financial services and healthcare company in South Africa, has over a century's worth of experience in providing clients with affordable and innovative insurance, cover and investment solutions.
I began my career at Metropolitan as a Project Coordinator. During this time most of the projects I worked on used the PMBOK framework in Waterfall. I was tasked on a project to implement a satellite Project Office into our Business Unit and worked on a huge migration project which involved a distributed team based in Bangalore India.
In 2010, I was introduced to Scrum. We were privileged to have an onsite trainer Peter Hundermark and 2 Scrum Coaches. I assumed the role of Scrum Master, and with coaching was taught how to evolve into this new role. Understanding each scrum role intimately, how to facilitate the ceremonies and build trusted relationships. My journey started with 3 development teams and at this point we were all novices at this new way of working. We had many challenges like team dysfunction, team members struggling to open up about what they are doing, allowing me to assist with impediments and for management to trust the process. We faced the challenges to together, through perseverance, endurance and learning. Our roles matured over time and we successfully progressed into healthy Scrum development Teams.
I have learnt through this experience that living the Values and Manifesto in your daily inter-actions underpins building of relationships and strengthens the Team foundations. Reading was my source of inspiration, being part of the Scrum community gave great guidance, joining a coaching circle and attending the scrum gatherings solidified my foundation within my Scrum Master role.