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Scrum Volunteer Experience with SVPM amid COVID

Over the last six months, COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives in one way or the other. In the US, millions COVID-19 cases have been identified, hundreds of thousands people have lost their lives, states and counties have placed and extended shelter in place due to increasing confirmed cases, majority of offices and schools have transitioned to working and studying remotely, and a majority of countries shut down the borders to visitors. I was a frequent traveler before COVID-19. For the first time, I have to postpone all my 2020 travel plans. Similar to the majority of people, I have transitioned to working from home full time. While I think it’s best to wait a little longer in resuming any international travel, I started my volunteer journey with SVPM through The Job Hackers while Rohini Patel, the Product Owner of SVPM website, posted volunteer recruitment in Slack. The Vision and Mission of SVPM are inspiring and it offers significant advice, best practices, and training opportunities for Project Management professionals. The volunteer experience and contribution sound motivating. I saw great opportunities in sharing my skills and best practices while advancing my hands-on scrum skills. Hence, I started my journey.  

The High Level Process

  1. SVPM Volunteer Application
    • Complete to get started
  2. Introduction Meeting
    • A 30-minutes with Donald Stringari, SVPM sponsor, allows you to get great background and purpose about SVPM, exchange professional experiences, understand the current project scope and timeline, and clarify questions
  3. SVPM New Member Onboarding Training Meeting
    • Meet with the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and the new scrum team members to get an overview of the SVPM mission and vision, walkthrough the Agile Work Flow, the expected sprint timelines, and assign scrum team roles and responsibilities
  4. Product Backlog Item (PBI) Planning
    • Review Trello card, discuss the purposes and scopes of each Product Backlog Items, assign story points
  5. Sprint Planning
    • Review Trello card to decide which PBIs to be worked on for the sprint, assign PBIs to DEV, and let DEV to decide how to work as a team to accomplish them
  6. Weekly Scrum Meeting
    • A 15-minutes standup meeting to review progress, impediments, and determine ways to overcome impediments
  7. Sprint Review
    • The DEV team demonstrates the completed product increment to the Stakeholders and ensure Product Owner has signed off for implementation
  8. Sprint Retrospective
    • Scrum team reviews the progress and interactions during the sprint to identify potential improvements and potential process changes for future sprints

For my first sprint, I’ve joined the Content Management team, aka “Creative Agile Masters!” to be responsible for creating new content and making updates to SVPM website. In addition to getting hands-on experience with the scrum team/process, I got a chance to get familiar with some new systems I haven’t been exposed to previously. There are many business communication and collaboration platforms in the market. The best way to keep up-to-date with the latest popular technologies will be using them. Below is the list of the communication systems and platforms that are being used by SVPM. Using the combination of them allows our scrum team to work and communicate more effectively. I found it beneficial in connecting and using them altogether throughout the whole scrum lifecycle.

Systems/Communication Platforms Being Used

Journey Continues

It’s been a great SVPM volunteering journey for me so far, with learning new ways to work effectively, networking and collaborating with new people. While nobody would choose to go through this crisis, this could be the opportunity for us to learn how to cope with unfavorable changes and uncertainty, how to make things work better, manage home working and continue to experiment with effective ways to collaborate, and offer help to our community!

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2 thoughts on “Scrum Volunteer Experience with SVPM amid COVID”

  1. Nice read, as we can all relate to, as we stepped in 2020 and moving forward. Very helpful for a new person joining SVPM. It is a clear roadmap of the process of starting the Journey, understanding the opportunities, growth with SVPM, you walked other volunteers as well in your journey.

  2. As someone who just started volunteering with SVPM, I enjoyed reading about your personal experience, Michelle. Thank you for sharing! I think you did a great job outlining the process and platforms. I agree with you that “the best way to keep up-to-date with the latest popular technologies will be using them”. I found the recently added “Planning poker” to be useful and fun for estimating! Happy to add that to my toolbelt.

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