I interviewed Felecia Ricketts, an SVPM volunteer about her journey with SVPM and how volunteering here helped her land her new role as a Scrum Master. Felecia has been with SVPM for more than a year, she started as a developer in SAM team, moved onto the SM apprentice role after 2 sprints and has been leading sprints as a SM in SAM and D&D teams for the last 3 sprints.
Q: Felecia! Tell us about yourself? Where did you start your career? What twists and turns did you take to get here?
Felecia: I always liked assisting and helping people and I started out as an administrator with a small company and then I moved to a marketing branch office in a large computer firm. While supporting the team with voice and data communications, I started learning all about information technology and became more intrigued about products and services. After some Introspection, I realized I wanted to pursue a career in Project Management, so I took the company offered training, got certified and managed on a lot of projects converting legacy systems to VOIP.
Q: Which brings us to our next question! How did you start your Agile journey? How did it lead you to SVPM?
Felecia: I was hearing a lot about Agile, and it was growing quickly, so I took a course about Agile in my PMI chapter. I had learnt about Agile management and I told my colleague it would be great if there was a platform where you could get hands-on experience. I found that many companies were hesitant to take you on if you did not have the experience. In Network engineering, if you don’t have the skills, you can learn in a lab, it’s difficult to lab it up in project management. But SVPM gives you that lab-like environment where you learn how to do Agile the right way. The rest is history!
Q: How has your experience been in SVPM?
Felecia: I have been here for a year, started out as a developer but was interested in the Scrum Master/ Product Owner role. After 2 sprints as a developer, I was a scrum master! I have been a Scrum Master for 4 sprints now.
The environment with SVPM is wonderful. It’s collaborative and nurturing, you can fail fast, and I will honestly say that really boosted my confidence. I feel like I’ve come out with a feeling of I’ve conquered the world, so to speak. I really like the group, it’s a feel-good group where you learn a lot and you are constantly learning. You have great support from Donald Stringari and David Bakhtnia, and the rest of the volunteers.
Q: You mentioned conquering your fears, can you share something more about how you did this?
Felecia: There is a fear factor that sometimes I would harbor within myself, which was a mindset that I’ve overcome with the support of the group. I’ve overcome my fear and was able to host ASVPM meetups and introduce Larry Apke. I’ve taken his courses in Job hackers and I found it so useful, so it was good to give back in this way. I have also been a part of the leadership group. In the Scrum Master Leadership group, we go over processes that can improve to engage the team and allow them to grow. All this has led me to my new role at the Gina Gibson’s Group.
Q: Congratulations on your role! It is well deserved. and I am sure you will do great things in this job. One of the questions that people who are looking to volunteer with SVPM will want to know is, how did SVPM help you get to this new role?
Felecia: What I have found is the hands-on experience, for instance, actually doing what you have learned, be it being a developer and going through the sprint process, participating in the events from the kickoff to the backlog refinement, daily scrum, planning, sprint review and retrospective going through all the ceremonies, helps you understand Scrum and in turn adopt it. It’s like building muscle memory. This gives you an understanding of how to apply it in these certain situations.
Q: Let’s talk about Agile Mindset. What does Agile Mindset mean to you?
Felecia: Learning to fail fast in a safe environment will help you understand failing is a part of learning and will help build the confidence and to me that’s Agile mindset. What I like about agile is it’s not a mandate, it is the ability to inspire, to really allow people to make their own decisions.
Q: Thank you for sharing that I really like this how you explained agile mindset, what is your biggest takeaway from this Agile journey?
Felecia: My biggest takeaway in all of this is that relationship building is at the heart of everything. You can sell products, drive towards the goal but at the end of the day it’s the interrelationships that you have with people that make it a success. It is trying to understand perspectives where that person is coming from, what their expectations are and establishing that rapport and an understanding you can agree to disagree with.
Q: Let’s steer away from Agile and move to the topic of looking for jobs. You’ve taught me a lot of this entire process, and I was hoping you can share some nuggets of wisdom with our readers who are looking to transition into Agile careers.
Felecia: Here goes. First, sit down with yourself. Be honest. What do YOU really want to do? Write it down, what you want to do, and what you don’t want to do, what environment would work for you? What Industry? How are you as a person? Do you want to work by yourself to work with other folks together? Find out what you do, what is your passion? What is your interest?
Then work on a list of target companies. Start networking, talking to a few people who share your interest or join a networking group to gain some perspective.
Q: I really liked how you said that the job is about YOU! Humanizing your job search! We meet once a week to practice interview questions and you have a lot of information about interviewing. Can we share some with our readers?
Felecia: Interviewing with ease is an acquired skill and this what I would say,
- Get a list of questions, technical and behavioral and try to answer them
- You start off with answering the question yourself you might record yourself a couple of times. It is not just answering it’s how you answer and I would suggest recording.
- When you answer, add a story, a par, or a star. It’s not enough to say I did this, it’s How you do it? What were the results? What were the outcomes? What were the benefits? What did you learn from it? How did it impact other people?
- Join a club, I’ve been part of an interview club on LinkedIn, professionals who are in transition give feedback to each other.
Q: What Agile resources have helped you in your Agile journey?
Scrum Alliance blog posts and Scrum training