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Sandika Samarakoon


Agile Lead, Optus

Location: Sydney, Australia


Certified Scrum Professional
Certified ScrumMaster
Certified Scrum Product Owner



Sandika Samarakoon as an Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) and Certified Scrum Professional®, possess expertise and experience over 6 years in Agile project management which included SCRUM/XP daily meetings, grooming product backlogs,reporting, planning sessions, relative estimations and iteration tracking. Sandika demonstrates expertise in transforming traditional teams into Agile teams which includes training, estimation sessions and mentoring/coaching session. He has expert knowledge on prioritisation of work in delivering what is most important to client within timelines by facilitating product backlogs and sprint backlogs grooming sessions.

His ability to liaise and negotiate with a range of stakeholders to build and maintain strong working relationships and ensure positive outcomes and has closer to 7 years expertise in delivering strategic IT projects using formal PMO methodologies with extensive experience in handling all phases of the development life cycle from the feasibility/analysis stage to the design stage, right through to the implementation and maintenance phase (SDLC) and is a PMP (offered by PMI).

Sandika is experienced in mobile app development, Web development, systems architecture, database design and infrastructure for the past five years and also demonstrates expert knowledge in the online space including SEO, Webtrends, web accessibility, UI design and analysing user experience for the web.

He has worked with distributed teams across the globe from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, HK, India, Philippine, Egypt, UK and US.

Work experience

Optus, Agile Lead
December 2015 - Present, Sydney, NSW, Australia
The Agile Lead is responsible for planning, leading, organizing, and motivating agile project teams to achieve a high level of performance and quality in delivering agile projects that provide exceptional business value to customers. This role is also responsible for managing several concurrent high visibility projects using agile methods in a fast-paced environment that may cross multiple business divisions. Delivery Management Agile Lead manages/leads a team of designers, developers, testers; vendors etc. and are responsible for driving and operationalising programs/projects on-time, on-budget and delivering optimum customer experience in an extremely dynamic internal/external environment. Project Management • Develop, manage and improve stakeholder relations – both internal and external. • Use of project management artefacts to ensure effective outcomes such as: - Accuracy of forecasting, - Delivery timelines and schedules are met, - Adherence to quality standards. • Lead in the identification of business impacts resulting from project implementation and pro-actively manage them. • Deliver financial submissions and updates to sponsors and senior stakeholders in accordance with Optus capital management processes. • Prepare monthly financial forecasts and reconciliations against budget to ensure forecasting variance maintained within 10%. • Resolve program/project escalated issues and disputes while maintaining constructive working relationships and achieving schedule commitments. • Prepare resource plans and manage ongoing resource forecasts. • Lead motivate a core team of cross functional members from across Optus (including Commercial, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, IT, Engineering, Business Process resources) to deliver the best possible project outcome. This role also involves managing offshore teams & vendors. • Ensure a high standard and continuous development of market knowledge, business unit operations, consultative and presentation skills, education and experience relevant to the role.

Telstra, Iteration Manager
June 2014 - November 2015, Sydney, NSW, Austria
• Work with additional responsibilities to that of a Scrum master by managing the schedule, budget and over-all risks and issues related to the commitment • Construct and maintain various information radiators for the team including sprint Kanban, iteration and release burn down charts, risks and issues Kanban • Work with distributed feature teams based in Pune (India), Xi’an (China) together with team in Melbourne and Sydney • Work closely with IT Business Analysts through ‘feature elaboration’ to define the stories and scope for the feature/release and produce release plans • Manage all change requests according to Telstra’s change management process • Facilitate sprint demos, release/feature showcases and retrospectives with the team and respective stakeholders • Track the progress of the team against the commitment for the iteration and release schedule using various tools such as RTC, HP QC and with Kanban walls • Facilitate collaborative activities such as defect triage, Scrum-of-Scrums and retrospectives • Manage backlogs of features/stories with key business stakeholders such as Product Owner and Business Analysts from IT and Business organisations to maintain a continuous flow of work for the feature teams • Mentoring and coaching responsibilities for a minimum of two feature teams comprising of developers, testers and a business analysts in agile/scrum practices to align with SAFe as a framework • Play the role of a functional manager for the team members of the feature teams under purview

Pearson Lanka Ltd, Project Manager
June 2013 - March 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Background: A much matured organisation with SAFe being practiced at the organisation level. Feature teams are more accustomed to ‘way of agile’. Coaching experience For newly recruited team members As part of the induction program, PMO members had to work on a roster conduction training session introducing them to Scrum and practices of agile within Pearson including the tools used such as Jira and confluence. Keep the ‘agile culture’ PMO is responsible for managing the ‘Agile Tip of the week’. Tip of the week will capture a topic related to agile elaborated in a eye catching format highlighting the practice use of scrum/agile. Agile week – each quarter, PMO is to organise the agile week comprising of debates, workshops (with guest speakers from the industry) and a quiz competition requesting the feature teams to participate. This was mainly to introduce a ‘fun’ way of keeping close to Agile/scrum and improve on knowledge. Other responsibilities of the role • Oversee and drive iteration planning with project teams to determine and refine estimates based on departmental abilities and constraints • Conduct requirement analysis for software development initiatives, feature enhancements and changes to existing products with product management and various other stakeholders • Escalation and coordination on project risks/issues with stakeholders based in Sri Lanka, India and US • Author, maintain and apply detailed project plans to support software development, hardware installations and a variety of integration projects • Perform risk analysis and risk management for projects under purview • Facilitate lessons learned or retrospectives at project and product level on behalf of the PMO • Act as an Agile coach and process expert resource for development teams and the PMO

HSBC, Manager, Digital Publishing
December 2010 - May 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Team size: 18 (based in Colombo and Manila) Team composition: Solution SMEs, developers, testers, project coordinator Project: Strategic Publishing and Knowledge Management Programme (USD 2,500,000) This programme aims to deliver a platform to maximise the efficiency of publishing and knowledge management processes within selected global businesses in HSBC. Background -- Reason for transformation Lack of visibility on the progress of the team, no tangible value delivered for 8 months resulted in escalations from project sponsors and senior management Team was not at 100% utilisation with ambiguity around priorities as general direction for the team was lacking My approach for the transformation Determine the cadence around development and testing as infrastructure was not available to be 100% agile driven with TDD and Continues delivery. Defined definition of done as development with developer testing completed and deployed to UAT with two weeks as the iteration duration Testing to commence and complete within one week after the iteration. Defects to be allocated back to the backlog to be prioritised for the coming iteration Conducted training for the team and groomed an two scrum masters from Colombo and Manila Conducted sessions with stakeholders explaining the process, roles and responsibilities as product owners were nominated from the business partners Cadence around prioritisation, planning and backlog management was introduced to the product owners and facilitated the process accordingly Introduce the showcase and retrospective ‘culture’ to the team Established information radiators using physical walls, excel and SharePoint for tracking backlogs (project and sprint), burndown charts (sprint and release) and for risks & issues Introduced effective use of HP QC for defect tracking and QTP for automation where applicable More discipline over how the stories were split and participation of the whole team in estimations Introduced team bonding activities such as team lunches, team outing on release milestones Created more visibility on value delivered by the team with newsletters after each release to improve teams’ moral

HSBC, Web development lead
March 2009 - November 2010, Colombo, Sri Lanka

• Lead and manage technical projects and teams on advanced Web user interface development using standards-compliant XHTML, CSS, XML and JavaScript, as well as a range of applications including template development for HSBC Group-owned Web content management systems, application development within Microsoft Microsoft Office software, and application development for Web platforms including SharePoint, SQL server, Plone and PHP as needed by clients
• Web content management on all HSBC Group content management systems 
• Web metrics reporting and analysis using Group-standard WebTrends
• Search engine optimisation, including best practice meta tagging, to improve results for both internal verity search as well as internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo
• Information architecture to map out site structure, navigation and user journeys
• Website migration management and execution
• Website rebranding management and execution

HSBC, Web developer
January 2008 - February 2009, Colombo, Sri Lanka

• Produce bespoke Web UI code (HTML/CSS/JS) according to client requirements under the guidance of a Web Development Lead or independently as needed
• Build Ajax-based interactive applications and data applications using industry-standard JavaScript libraries and toolkit
• Develop HTML/CSS code for use in the Group’s range of Web content management systems
• Work with designers to convert Web design into usable Web-standard UI code
• Engage directly with clients on the delivery of requirements


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