As a scrum practitioner, you have so many personal and professional possibilities once you discover transformative ways of working. For Lucy, following her passion for guiding people has led her to scrum mastery, founding her own company, and becoming a team coach; now she’s on a journey to become a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST).
Lucy is a business owner, scrum practitioner, and agilist based in North Carolina. She is a Scrum Alliance Certified Team Coach (CTC) aspiring to become a CST as well.
Lucy got her start in IT as a software developer after she graduated from college. She went on to become a systems analyst and a product manager. She also started a family and built a life. She eventually crossed paths with the scrum framework.
“In 2012, I was at a project management and business analysis conference in Orlando and one of the speakers was talking about scrum, and I was thinking, ‘Why are we not doing this?’” she said.
“When I got back to work, I said to everybody, ‘We really need to start doing this scrum thing.’” She began by adopting some of the scrum practices within her waterfall team. They saw benefits even without using the scrum framework in its entirety.
A big early win was a reduction in project defects from hundreds of defects down to 13 total for the life of the project. They experienced this improvement after adopting a weekly incremental approach to their work similar to sprint planning, combined with an end-of-week review and feedback.
The organizational leadership chose to adopt scrum after seeing this success. “I was a member of our first scrum team,” Lucy said. She started out as a developer within her first scrum team and then went back and forth between the product owner and scrum master roles until that last role stuck.
“I totally fell in love with being a scrum master. I love seeing and helping people succeed, seeing what motivates people, and adopting these new ways of working that make a lot more sense.”
After working as a scrum master for a couple of years, Lucy was inspired to take the role even further and pursue certification. “I got my scrum master certification in 2015 and by that time I was just completely in love with scrum,” she said.
“Scrum completely changed my life, to be honest with you.” She had been experiencing uncertainty in her career and not feeling particularly passionate about what she was doing.
“When I found scrum, it was something that I was really passionate about. Everything changed at work for me. I started getting these really high reviews at the end of the year and was just doing really well.”
“I became more extroverted. I chose to be in software development because I didn’t want to talk to people. And scrum really helped me get out of my shell. Especially being a scrum master and feeling like I was responsible for people being successful.”
Later, at another organization, Lucy continued to grow and evolve as an agilist and scrum practitioner. “Six months after I was there as a scrum master they were asking me to become an agile coach because my teams were so successful.”
She embarked on this new role as an agile coach at the organization and found she really enjoyed teaching and guiding people. Over time, a fellow agile coach and CST, who had been Lucy’s mentor for a few years, encouraged her to pursue her own Certified Team Coach certification. “So I got my CTC in October of 2021.”
Lucy has always been the most passionate about training people. “My passion for training is when they see how it’s common sense and that lightbulb goes off, and you can see when it goes off. I love seeing that.”
“Through my passion for scrum, in 2019 I decided that I wanted to have my own company where I’d be able to train, coach, and consult with people.” She is the founder and CEO of her own consulting company.
“Finally, in May of 2022, I decided that it was time to stop working for someone else. With a little nudge from my mentor, I found the courage to leave the security of a job and went independent. Once I made that decision, everything started falling into place.”
Through her company, she’s had the opportunity to provide scrum training and coaching to people in Brazil and Italy, as well as the US. She speaks Portuguese and Italian. “Being able to help people in their own language adopt scrum – it’s just been the greatest experience ever.”
“It’s been an amazing journey. I can’t wait to become a CST and be able to do even more of this.”
“As a CST, I will be able to certify individuals as scrum masters and product owners, something that will give them a leg up when searching for jobs and/or transitioning between jobs. I’m also passionate about helping military individuals transition to civilian life.”
“For me, scrum is common sense” because scrum allows people to collaborate and break things down into smaller bites, “which is what we should be doing anyway,” she said.
“When it works it really works, and you’re able to see how successful people can be and how much happier their customers can be.”
Like many agilists, Lucy finds agile practices blending into both her personal as well as her professional life. “For me, scrum is not just something I do at work,” she said. “I’ve taught my kids how to use scrum. My oldest daughter used scrum in college to help her prepare for exams. For me, scrum is a way of life. It’s the simplicity of how to get things done.”
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