As a PSM I certified Scrum Master I’m trained to help facilitate groups working on complex projects using an Agile/Scrum framework.
I first became interested in making teams more efficient and better performing while studying Film and Television (with a focus producing) at The Savannah College of Art and Design. No other college program gives hands on leadership experience like film school, because we were constantly involved in numerous simultaneous productions with teams ranging from two to thirty or more. The deadlines were tight, the competition steep and because it was student filmmaking, you never quite knew who you’d get working for you.
The job of a leader, I found, is not to have all the answers or to make all the decisions but rather to help each individual on the team unlock his or her full potential benefits to the group as a whole. By studying personality types and the psychology of group dynamics I began to better understand what team characteristics are most likely to result in a highly productive, and happy, group. Helping individuals, teams and organizations become more efficient and productive was something I found I could do well.
The tech industry, more than any other, was and is at the forefront of new ideas and developments related to organizational structures and maximizing team efficiency and productivity. I wanted to learn how the tech industry did it. I began teaching myself Ruby and experimenting with building scrapers and web apps. I wanted to dive deeper, so I enrolled in a six month ‘coding bootcamp’ at UNC Chapel Hill and learned full stack web development and built a portfolio with the skills I learned. I also started learning about Agile and in particular Scrum and was impressed by the alternative and innovative ideas those models put forth. I read more and more on the subject and eventually earned my PSM I certification.
Ever since college I’ve been fascinated by what makes some teams and organizations high performing and others not. Similarly, I’ve been interested in how to balance the relative benefits of large organizations with the relative benefits of small, lean teams. Large organizations usually benefit from superior resources, both human and financial, but they are often less adaptable and therefore less able to seize opportunity and respond to problems.
Scrum and other Agile approaches address this problem in the complex and fast moving world of software engineering. The waterfall approach could not keep up with the rapidly evolving industry, so a new paradigm for structuring teams was born. Scrum teams are more independent and self sufficient. They are better able to take ownership of and pride in their work, and they are better able to tackle problems organically, taking advantage of frequent customer feedback and evolving to solve real problems in ways users actually want, rather than depending on speculative documentation created at the onset.
There’s always more to learn about human nature and, by extension, organizations made up of humans. I’m excited to continue to be a student of Agile, Scrum and leadership generally and I look forward to new ways to help teams and organizations become more efficient.