Inspiring Women in Project Management is a column in which I interview women who inspire and are able to inspire others in project management.
Today, Natalie Warnert is speaking. She set out to support and promote Agile for women. I asked her about it.
Natalie, what do Women in Agile do?
WomenInAgile is a place for women to meet, share their experiences, and promote diversity in the Agile community. Its mission is encourage women to get involved in sharing their ideas with the Agile community and expose them to others who have done it.
We host informal meetups both locally and at large Agile conferences. About 100 people attended our first sponsored event at Agile2016 in Atlanta last year.
That’s a great turnout! It’s a great idea!
Although I organized the Agile2016 event, I didn’t set up the entire movement. It has been in the works for several years through many channels: a twitter hashtag (#womenInAgile), blog postings, informal networking at Agile conferences’ open spaces and informal networking.
It was created to encourage more women to participate in Agile communities and to provide a place for them to start with a low barrier of entry like blogs that have been set up or the hashtag that anyone can use.
OK. How successful do YOU think it was?
It’s been hugely successful, I believe. It is evident that the number of women attending Agile conferences has increased. Five years ago, the speaker lists were more diverse than they are today.
Women are more connected and can ask for help, mentorship and sponsorship. It has given women more voice and provided more ideas for infiltrating the Agile community. That’s a win-win situation for everyone!
Definitely! Just before Agile 2016, you hosted a #WomenInAgile workshop. What were some of the highlights?
It was a great opportunity for people to connect. We brought in a great keynote to spark conversation and increase motivation.
We also discussed my thesis research results, which helped to identify reasons why women are less involved. The discussion was then open to small groups who could dissect these reasons and relate their own experiences.
They formed a Slack channel to keep the conversation going throughout the conference and beyond. It was amazing to hear so many people discussing “why” and planning for future events, presentations, blogs, and the like. It was inspiring.
You are a Scrum Master. What is the job description?
ScrumMasters are servant leaders to the development team. They make sure the team has everything they need to achieve the goals they have set together. They ensure that the team is familiar with Scrum’s principles and ceremonies – they are the ones who enable and facilitate the Scrum process.
They do so much more, but this is what I can summarize.
How did you get to that position?
My development background led me to Scrum and Agile. While I enjoy development, I also love the process and continuous improvement. I enjoyed helping others succeed. Agile is all about relationships and interactions.
I love to learn new things and to try new things. I am also drawn to the process of adapting and inspecting. These two interests were combined into a career through agile practices.
It sounds great! Do you have any tips for women who want to take on a similar role?
It’s worth it! There are many resources available to you, from blogs to online and in person trainings to books. You don’t have to be an expert in everything – far from it! All you need is the willingness to learn, fail and help others.
This type of job is great for women because they are good at the relationship side of things.