Adopting Agile: Gaining practical experience through the SVPM Agile program

This article tells a story of how SVPM helped to boost my confidence and embrace change using the Agile Scrum framework.

Background – From Hospitality to Tech

Before I started my Agile journey at SVPM, I had years of experience working in the hospitality industry. Then I took a step back in my career to become a stay-at-home mom.

As my kids grew older and became accustomed to a school schedule, I had more free time and wanted to return to the workforce because I missed the professional engagement. However, I was anxious as I had a significant gap in my résumé and was also aware my skills were outdated. I knew I couldn’t return to the same level in my career and wasn’t sure where to begin.

Due to fewer opportunities in the hotel sector, I had to consider a career move. My family persuaded me I could move into a career in tech as I had some transferable skills from my previous work. To better understand the tech sector, I completed a bootcamp and obtained a few online certificates. This was the start of my tech journey.

Joining SVPM Community

A friend recommended Agile / Scrum to me because it aligned with my career goals and passions (working for and with people). I got trained and certified as a SAFe Scrum Master (SSM) believing that I would find a job quickly, but no one was ready to hire a new Scrum Master without prior experience. This was the most frustrating and challenging time in my life. I felt stuck and demotivated.

I did some research on how to get hands-on Scrum experience and came across the SVPM Agile program on a forum. I visited the website and signed up to volunteer. I was thrilled when Donald Stringari invited me to a call to talk about the goals of SVPM, and how I can contribute and gain experience with Agile.

After completing the welcoming and enjoyable onboarding procedure, I was given the developer position on the SEO / Marketing Scrum team (SAM). As a novice in my Agile / Scrum path, I was still daunted by many of the terminologies and processes. Over time, I got to witness it live in practice. 

My first sprint experience, which lasted two weeks, was with the SAM team during sprint 17, where we concentrated on analytics to get marketing data for the website. I was fortunate to work with a team of knowledgeable and encouraging professionals. We have Scrum team members working remotely from various regions of the nation.

This is the structure of our development team:

  • Scrum Master
  • Product Owner
  • Development Team – cross-functional and self-organizing

A team agreement outlining the roles, expectations, and duties of the team was presented at the start of the meeting. These helped to develop a common understanding of how the team functions.

All of the action takes place during the Scrum Ceremonies. I took part in the following Sprint Ceremonies:

  • Backlog Refinement –
    • Got familiar with each backlog item, objectives, and estimated the level of complexity (Fibonacci sequence). 
  • Sprint Planning –
    • understand the sprint goal and commit to a backlog item (self-assigned)
  • Stand-Ups –
    • 15-minute virtual standups every Monday and Friday. Zoom live standup on Wednesday.
  • Review –
    • development team presents and discusses the completed product increment to the PO and Stakeholders and receives feedback (Collaborate)
  • Retrospective – the development team shares their feedback on the current sprint: what went well, what didn’t and what to improve on? (Inspect and Adapt / Continuous improvement)

For my first backlog item (task), I had to create custom reports using Google Analytics, which I was not familiar with. David Bakhtnia and Apala Chandola (PO) took the time to walk me through the procedure and gave me advice. They appreciated that I took this on and were always available to help anytime I ran into problems. This gave me motivation and confidence to take on new responsibilities without fear.

I also got to use some great tools as a Scrum team member that helped with remote work:

  • Slack
  • Trello
  • Doodle
  • Zoom
  • WordPress

As a member of a Scrum team, I had the chance to take use of the Agile Scrum Process. I got to watch everyone’s work progress during the sprint (transparency), learn from and exchange ideas, receive support and respond to change in a safe environment.

To sum up, I would say the SVPM program not only offers practical experience using the Agile Scrum framework along with other resources. It also functions as a community where you build relationships and gain knowledge from great minds working toward a common goal. I am appreciative to be part of this community where I have been given the opportunity to learn, contribute and develop personally.

It’s been an incredible journey so far. I highly recommend the SVPM program to anyone looking to transition into an Agile environment.

Photo credit: Pixels-Pixabay


3 thoughts on “Adopting Agile: Gaining practical experience through the SVPM Agile program”

  1. User Avatar

    Returning to the workforce after a career break and simultaneously making a career change – it’s great that you’ve discovered a supportive community like SVPM to assist you in navigating the transition.

  2. User Avatar
    Bharti Hathalia

    Hi Asikiya,
    Your story is truly inspiring. I am hoping it inspires many other people and gives them an opportunity to change, adapt and join SVPM community (for people by people).

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