Haven’t been the same…

Today’s post is about preparing for a phone interview I have this morning. (I have a love/hate relationship with phone interviews.)
The situation is: I need a job.

  • This one is something I could do.
  • The pay is reasonable.

Now do I want to do it?
I view this initial interview as a conversation. This is a two-way street.
The interviewer is attempting to ascertain if I will be able to do what it is he envisions needs to be done to help his organization succeed.
Got it.
In my opinion, we have already completed this checkbox item, or else we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
I have asked for the Job Description – I really believe that anyone doing any kind of a search for someone should have taken the time to define what they really need and not just a gut level awareness that they need something. The response was so generic, that it gives me cause to pause, but reading the list provided me a little insight into the hiring manager’s style and gave me a hint about what has annoyed him in previous interviews.
I need to communicate with him that I am flexible and comfortable with change.
I need to get him to define his terms. What does he consider a ‘scrum meeting’?
I need to know how they treat contractors.

Ultimately, I decided to do the interview. It is scheduled. It will be a good opportunity for me to exercise my skills. This means, I was able to get beyond the gate-keeper in the process. My biggest challenge has been getting the youngsters to understand me as my non-traditional experience doesn’t fit well into the new millenia checklists that have been developed over the last few years. I don’t think it is ageism as much as it is inexperience.

since you had your little crash…’ The first lyrics I heard from the album that quickly became my favorite. It is one of those songs that I still remember where I was and exactly what I was doing when I heard it for the very, first time.
Note to self: write a post on the entire album, it might be a fun little trip down memory lane.

Eagles_HellFreezesOver

I hate resumes

Naively I assumed that the ability to survive and thrive for over 6 years in a turbulent, ‘fast-paced’ information technology organization delivering the tools that facilitated the ‘un-carrier’ revolution.

Maybe that is where I need to start. Instead of formatting a resume as a brochure to get the conversation started, I need to create the ‘roadmap’ that takes the reader through my experiences.

Connect the dots for the reader!

Job descriptions ugh!

Why I write in notepad rather than the web ui.
I always need to roll back!

I am in the midst of the job search. Joy of joys!
Means I am reading job descriptions. The problem with the descriptions is they rarely reflect the actual activity.
Add to the problem I am having to update my CV and explain it to the world, I am getting a little frustrated.

Had an appointment with a recruiter yesterday. Wouldn’t say it went incredibly well.
Okay, the first half hour was okay – the account manager had some specifics she wanted to discuss.
The opportunities are great fits, but –
1. I am on hiatus for x length of time. Unless blah, blah, blah
2. I am not doing that commute – you cannot pay me enough to do that drive daily!

The recruiter and I were left to discuss.
I really felt like this was a pity meeting because she had been given my resume 2 months ago when my other account guy moved onto something else.
We never connected.
When I found out about my end date, I reached out to my network. I have more than a few friends who work there and like working with me. She started getting bombarded with my resume.

Last week, we scheduled two appointments.
She missed the first one because of parking. I totally get it.
I cancelled the second one because it was at the end of the day I was waling out the door. I get EQ points for recognizing that fact.

This week we met, yesterday.
I was early. I did not want a recurrence of the parking fiasco last week.

Let’s just say, we didn’t hit it off.
She printed my resume as we walked into the room.
She made a lot of notes during our conversation.
She provided me feedback and gave me samples of resumes that had recently been placed in scrum master roles.
She provided harsh criticism. Well deserved? Maybe, maybe not.

I read the samples.
Good heavens! These look like a laundry list of activities I classify in the category ‘other duties as assigned’.

Back to the drawing board.

Below is a scrum master job description:

**Need Locals and Face to Face interview is required**Required Skills:
***MUST HAVE VERY STRONG WRITTEN AND VERBAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS***
3 years as a Scrum Master, not a Project Manager that ran scrum meetings, a designated scrum master.
Experience working on customer-facing applications (web and/or mobile)

Additional Skills:
Certified Scrum Master (CSM)

Job Description:
– Senior Scrum Master

Description:

The Customer Systems team at Client is responsible for continually enhancing our website, mobile apps and the applications our employees use to provide excellent customer service. We believe that routinely shipping increments of functionality, collaboratively planning and working to continuously improve will allow us to deliver innovations to our customers more often.

As a Scrum Master at Client you will be responsible for being the rock-star facilitator between development teams and product owners while remaining the shining example of Agile Scrum. You will be expected to hold the standard Scrum events, assist product owners with achieving a well-groomed backlog, removing impediments, and empowering your team(s) to continually evolve. 

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES:
Facilitate the Agile Delivery Practice
– Facilitate sprint planning, daily stand-up meetings, reviews/demos,
retrospectives, and release planning meetings for 2-3 product teams 
– Track and communicate team commitments, velocity and sprint/release progress
– Remove or escalate team impediments that jeopardize sprint goals
– Ensure the development teams are practicing the Agile principles
– Identify, suggest and collaborate with development and product owner on measurable
improvements for the team(s)
– Coach, train and support other scrum masters within the organization

Support the Product Owner
– Promote and contribute to the betterment of the product backlog 
– Promote and contribute to internal and external communications, improving
transparency, and radiating information 
– Facilitate value-based prioritization and resolution for new stories

Support the Product Team
– Participate proactively in developing and maintaining team standards, tools, and
best practices
– Identify and escalate and remove impediments to sprint goals 
– Facilitate discussion and conflict resolution
– Empower the team to self-organize
Other duties as assigned
– Embody the Alaska Spirit and conduct oneself with Professionalism, Integrity,
Resourcefulness, and Caring

Qualifications
– Bachelor’s degree or combination of relevant education and experience required
– Minimum 3+ years of experience as a Scrum Master required
– Minimum 5+ years of experience in technology industry and customer-centric
applications required
– Comprehensive understanding of Agile, Scrum XP software development methodologies,
values, and procedures required
– Certified Scrum Master (CSM) is preferred
– Excellent interpersonal skills, ability to work with diverse personality types
– Ability to understand technical issues at a high level
– Exceptional communication, organization, and time management skills
– Ability to lead and coach the team to reach their highest potential
– Collaborative approach to driving decisions
– Strong analytical and problem solving skills with a high attention to detail
– High school diploma or equivalent required
– Minimum age of 18
– Must be authorized to work in the U.S.

Cold, cruel world

It is just business, but it is my business! I need a job.
What does that mean?
Updating the CV!!
Reviewing, rehashing everything done in the past assignment.
Meeting people.
Reading job descriptions.

I am a scrum master. I like facilitating success. I love continuous improvement. I used kanban to raise my kids!

Kind of gets my goat when I read something like this “The Scrum Master role does not consume a lot of time.” Yeppers, I am going to apply for a job there because of the level of respect included in the body of the advertisement.

No planning for you…

Good news is, I need not worry about the challenges around planning as I was informed yesterday that my last day will be next Friday.

Bad news is, now I MUST find a new job and quickly, if at all possible. My husband has a job, but he doesn’t get paid very well. I have stuck around, longer than I should have because the pay was fair. I am not over-paid by any means, but the commute wasn’t awful and I really did care for the team I had been instrumental in building over the last 6 years. We were finally doing things and I was enjoying my role, for the most part again, but all good things must come to an end.

Callout to anyone who might know of any positions for a Scrum Master in the greater Seattle area – preferably on the east side.

Here we go – planning week again

Two week iterations are perfect, as long as the team is mature.

What I really want to do is send out a bunch of reminders with links to training materials, so everyone is on the same page, but I would be reprimanded for being to forceful. The question is, how are we ever going to get better if we don’t address the maturity level issue. How is the team ever going to move ahead, if everyone doesn’t play fairly? Is it too much to expect that a team member who has committed to the team do everything in their power to be just as prepared as all of the rest of the team members?

I failed!

Agile checklist item number one – I failed. Not for lack of trying.

The way I read Agile – it is bottom up assistance.  ‘Hey Scrum master I need ‘blah’.’ The servant-leader scrum master takes care of it.

Here’s where I failed. I didn’t have support from up the foodchain. Kind of sad really that I can’t have the same space, every week, every day, so we can build predictability into our processes.

Quite frankly, without that next level of support, I am doomed to fail!  <sigh>