My name is Sonya Petkunas. I started at Applied Systems in March of 1998 as a software tester for what is now one of our legacy products. About a year and a half after starting, I moved to be a tester for one of our newer products. About a year and a half after that move, I was promoted as a manager for the software testing department. Eventually, our legacy and new product groups merged and I was responsible for all the testers from those two products. Back then Software Testing moved around under different departments such as Development and our Support group. We were using the waterfall approach and went through many growing pains along the way. We managed to get software delivered to our customers, but more times than not, testing was up against unrealistic deadlines because everything pushed past time estimates. For a short time (2006-2009), I spent time as a supervisor for one of our Support teams and was away from product development and testing. Testing had then been renamed to Quality Assurance and moved out from Support to the Development department. My time in software support was very rewarding and opened my eyes to how our clients used our products and how important even the tiniest bug was to them.
In mid-2009, I was ready to move back to Quality Assurance and did so as one of the team’s Supervisors. I brought with me a lot of experience working with our customers and that ultimately proved to be valuable. We continued with waterfall delivery of our software. Frankly, we didn’t know any better. In late 2011, we were introduced to Agile/Scrum. This concept interested me greatly. So much so, that in early 2012, I was part of a group that formed the first agile/scrum team for our company and have been a scrum master of at least one team ever since. Eventually that year, we grew close to having 17 scrum teams. We have gone through three releases for one of our products using agile/scrum. Our acceptance rate of features is at an all-time high. Our defect ratio at release is at its all-time low. Obviously, along the way we had bumps and agile/scrum is not for everyone. People had come and go, but we are still agile strong.
Today we have merged some teams to be higher functioning and have eight people that hold a scrum master title. We have several other people who fill the scrum master role. Recently, I have moved into a scrum master supervisor role. My new role will still allow for me to be a scrum master, but it will also provide me with the ability to formerly coach other scrum masters in our company.
Applied Systems, Inc, Scrum Master Supervisor & Scrum Master
March 1998 - Present, University Park, IL, US
For 30 years, Applied Systems has led an industry we helped to create with a mission to continuously improve the business of insurance. Insurance agencies and brokerages have faced new challenges and demands on their businesses over time, and we have been there to guide them. Since 1983, Applied has been at the forefront of insurance technology, leading the way through innovation. As the insurance industry becomes increasingly global, we are delivering new technology and expanded multinational capabilities for this changing marketplace.