When I first started getting serious about Agile and scrum, I tried to understand what I would need to apply for a role in this sector and how I could gain proper qualifications, such as certifications, experience on certain tools, knowledge as project manager, software and different Agile frameworks. One of the topics I came across on several occasions was the importance of having prior experience and volunteering was suggested as a practical way to achieve that. I was quite surprised by that suggestion perhaps because after working for years I had never thought of volunteering as a way to improve my professional experience.
Either way that suggestion stayed on the back of my mind and after searching more I eventually bumped into blogs about scrum and Agile where conversations were around volunteering. However, I couldn’t find specific names of organizations or websites. In fact, it was quite a struggle to find those, but I finally found a forum with a very brief comment mentioning “how the ASVPM Scrum Team program was a great place to volunteer and get initiated in Agile”. Searching more on that, I managed to find the website, the volunteering section, and the registration form to join the group.
The process was extremely fast, two days later I received an email with an invitation to have a call and discuss the possibility of joining the group.
The whole onboarding process was fast and smooth. ASVPM Scrum Team program has a well-developed process to onboard new volunteers, it provides documents for the onboarding period, special sessions to outline the basics of scrum and the organization and the option to attend any ceremony if the volunteer joins during the middle of spring. That allows new members to get familiar with the framework more easily.
Sprints are well planned and well presented to the team, sessions are booked in advance to ensure as many people as possible can join and recordings are shared for those that can’t join during the agreed time.
ASVPM not only follows the scrum fundamentals and uses other Agile frameworks in its sprints, but also provides additional sessions for team members to experiment with new tools. It informs about new roles available in Agile companies, flags courses, organizes monthly sessions about career progression, provides educational sessions on agile frameworks and does team building activities to show, for example, how to transform ideas into well-structured Product Backlog Items (PBI)s. These are sessions that you really feel you have learned something out of and are all for free. ASVPM is a community that really invests time in offering quality sessions to all the volunteers and creating PBIs that improve the website. At the same time, it allows volunteers to be immersed into different and interesting tasks.
Volunteering in a group cannot guarantee that you will find a job. Your previous experience, background, personal capabilities, commitment and luck will play a role, but being part of this volunteering group will provide you with real exposure and help you get a sense of what a role in a scrum or an Agile company would look like. You will gain working experience and credibility since your name will be linked to the group and you can show you have been part of it.
If you want to be initiated into the scrum fundamentals and Agile frameworks, this is a place to start. You will discover a community to learn along with other passionate professionals and work towards the same goal, do scrum and Agile in the best possible way and improve the website to make this community larger.