Sabrina is an IT Scrum Master / Project Manager for a government agency within their finance sector.
What is your job description and what are your responsibilities?
I am a Scrum Master and Project Manager for a government agency, within their Office of Finance. I am currently supporting the agency in retiring two of their legacy financial systems, and implementing a new “next generation” financial portal.
What career path led you to your current role?
I love the field of Information Technology, because there is always a tangible and practical solution for every problem; if you can think of it, it can be built! I work for a consulting firm, and we are “staffed” out to federal agencies to work on various projects that support their mission. I aligned myself with our IT practice area, and am on a long-term IT project.
Describe your day-to-day schedule.
In a Scrum Master/Project Management role, a lot of what I do is manage and track the tasks, hour estimates, timeline and progress of our development activities. I run a status meeting every morning, called a daily stand-up, where the development team provides and update on the progress of the previous day’s tasks, any impediments to their work, and what they plan to do on the current day. I keep track and add their tasks and hour estimates into a tracking tool. I also engage our customers daily to provide updates and elicit system requirements/specifications for the new system we are building for them; I document these customer requirements for the developers and engage in application design meetings and communicate project/schedule baselines to our customers. We break our development activities into two weeks spans and iterate on those developments daily.
What programs/tools do you often use?
I use a task tracking tool, Rally to update development tasks and activities; I also use project collaboration tools including SharePoint and most Microsoft office tools.
Which aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy customer engagement. It is very fulfilling to be able to interact with customers, identify any pain points or frustrations within their current systems and provide a more functional and efficient software solution.
Which aspects of your job do you find most challenging?
The most challenging aspect of my job is managing resources, within a fixed timeframe and budget, while achieving the customer’s vision for their product. While we can build virtually anything in software development, we’re still constrained by budget, time and the availability of human resources. Sometimes to stay on schedule, we have to stick with the minimal viable product and defer the fancier “bells and whistles” solution for a later time, as time/budget allows.
How did you develop the necessary skill-set (e.g. courses, training, activities) to be a IT Project Manager?
The learning never stops. In the field of IT you are always learning new ways to solve problems more efficiently and creatively. I completed my college degree and continue to pursue post-graduate education, including certification programs, i.e., Project Management Profession (PMP), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and am currently taking a full stack coding development bootcamp.
Is there any additional advice you would give students who are interested in becoming a IT Project Manager/Scrum Master?
Start now! There is high demand in the local and global marketplace for IT professionals and there are many programs out there for young people who are interested in learning how to code or manage IT development projects. Reach out to your school’s career services and get involved with a local program/group/club initiative. Programs are out there and just a google search away!