Firdows joined Jumar as a Graduate Developer in 2019. Through the support and guidance of Jumar's Development team Firdows has progressed quickly in her career. She is now a qualified Scrum Master. Here more about her journey with Jumar in this Q&A. 

Tell us a little about yourself. What did you do before starting your Scrum Master journey here at Jumar Technology?

Before starting the Jumar Academy I was studying for my Master’s in Management and International Business following the completion of my Undergraduate degree in Computer Science.

My journey with Jumar began at the Jumar Academy assessment day for a Graduate Developer position at Capgemini. The assessment day consisted of psychometric tests, and individual and group activities. This was followed by a more formal interview process.

I was successful in being selected for the Graduate Academy and began a 9-week training period. The 9 weeks were split into three parts with each focusing on a different technology: CA GEN, Java and COBOL. For each technology there were one or two weeks of tutor lead learning followed by a week of assessment. During this period, we focused on technical skills as well as professional skills including teamwork, presentation, and communication. 

Throughout the Academy, I was able to explore the different careers options which ultimately led me to change my focus from Software Developer to Scrum Master.

Why did you decide to change your focus?

I developed my coding skills throughout university and during the Graduate Academy, but having studied management and business during my Masters I had developed other skills which made a career in management and leadership more appealing. The Jumar team guided me towards a Scrum Master career where my skills were better suited. 

How did Jumar support you through the change?  

My knowledge of the role of a Scrum Master was limited before the Graduate Academy. During software development modules at university, we studied Agile vs Waterfall, but this didn’t cover roles within the Scrum framework. After joining the Academy, I researched the role of a Scrum Master.

Once the Academy had finished, I was given time to learn about Agile and Scrum. Pluralsight was a great source of information, observing the teams in the office (pre-covid) and also taking time to speak to the team to understand each of their roles was helpful in gaining a deeper understanding of the Jumar Development Practice as a whole.

At Jumar, we are allocated mentors which has been a great support for me on my Scrum and Agile journey. My mentors have helped me learn about the role, have assisted me in finding the recourses I need to develop my skills as a Scrum Master, and have observed my stand-ups, giving me feedback and guidance points to enable continuous improvement. I have always found that mentors are willing to spare some time to answer questions or listen to ideas I might have on how I can improve my skills and processes in the teams. 

How has your understanding of the role changed since starting your Scrum Master journey here at Jumar?

My understanding of the Scrum Master role has developed massively from the little understanding I had when I started at Jumar in 2019. A lot of this learning has come from my training path created with my mentor when I started as a graduate. To develop my understanding of the role I studied for my Professional Scrum certifications which have broadened my knowledge of Scrum principles. Whilst studying for various certifications has developed my understanding of Scrum, I would say that being able to apply the principles to real projects is where I have learnt the most. I have been given the opportunity to work with different teams at different stages of their respective projects. Some teams were newly formed and working on new projects. Other teams have been working together on projects for a longer period.  Newly formed teams require a Scrum Master who facilitates communication in the team and with external stakeholders, and coaches the team on Agile and Scrum processes to become self-managed. Mature teams are more self-managed and require a Scrum Master who facilitates external conversations, removes blockers, and encourages continuous improvement in the team.

What would you say has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced since becoming a Scrum Master?

With the first few projects, I had little experience working with teams. I found applying the theory I had learnt into actual practices a struggle which affected my confidence in the role. Over time, and with help from my mentors and teams, this became much easier, and my confidence continues to grow now that I can learn from real-life experiences.

Tell me about a day in the life of a Scrum Master at Jumar

I normally start the day reviewing actions of any outstanding issues and blockers from the previous day making sure that the team are in a good position to start the new day. Daily stand-up’s start from 9am where the teams collaborate and raise any blockers. Each day can hold different challenges for Scrum teams, but the main aim of my day is to minimise unplanned activities so that the maximum value can be achieved for each work item.

What has been the best thing about becoming a Scrum Master at Jumar? 

The number of projects I have been given the opportunity to work on at Jumar has been amazing. As a graduate and junior Scrum Master I have been able to work on more than 10 projects so far.  Working with both new and mature teams offers different experiences.  I have been given the opportunity to run projects from beginning to end. The opportunity to try new things is always welcome which helps to make the sessions we have as a Scrum team more engaging while also trying to gain as much value as possible. 

In terms of the proudest achievement, what would this be since becoming a Scrum Master?

Completing the Scrum Master exam has been one achievement I have been very proud of. From starting off not knowing anything about Scrum to completing my exam in 5/6 months, gave me the knowledge I needed to start working with Scrum teams.

I also feel a great sense of accomplishment at the end of projects and releases. While we see the progress and value created by the teams at the end of each sprint, seeing the final product is a proud moment. During a recent project we had regular interaction with our customer and the team worked extremely hard to create a product that was outstanding and met all the expectations of the customer.

What’s next for you?

For me, the next steps are to continue my Agile journey, building on the Scrum principles I have learnt over my time at Jumar and experimenting with other Agile methodologies, like Kanban. I also want to understand more about other roles such as Project Management. I am doing this by completing a Project Management Apprenticeship alongside my Scrum Master Role.