International Women’s Day - Q & A with Chelsea Rowley

 

Congratulations on your recent certification to Scrum Master at MASS. It’s been over 10 years since you joined the business, how would you describe your development here?

Thank you! It’s been a great 10 years with MASS where I’ve had so many opportunities and exposure to all areas of the business, starting with developing my skills on the IT Service Desk, moving into management and then building my knowledge around ITIL and Service Delivery. Since I’ve been a part of our Digital Services Group, I’ve had opportunity to learn so much and take on new challenges such as Agile and Scrum. Of course, there is a lot of hard work involved in developing and taking on these challenges, but it is the greatest help to be supported by Jack (my line manager) and a business that absolutely champions my development, supports my aspirations and listens to my ideas.

What is the role of the scrum master?

Scrum masters are the facilitators of scrum – which is a specific Agile methodology that is used to facilitate a project. As facilitators, we play the role of coaches to the rest of the team, we are not managers. A good scrum master is committed to the scrum foundation and values but remains flexible and open to avenues where the team can improve its workflow.

How long has the training taken?

I have been a Service Delivery Manager and an Agile PM for a few years now and continuously building on my knowledge of frameworks, standards and methodologies. I completed the Scrum Master course in January after months of studying and learning at the end of last year.

How is scrum a good fit for some of our MASS projects? What impact does it have?

Scrum is a really good framework that helps our teams work together on complex projects. It is about learning through experience, timeboxing activities, prioritising and organising project tasks, self-organisation and also reflection about outcomes to inspire continual improvement.

Many projects are moving to an agile way of delivery instead of waterfall, although waterfall is still appropriate for certain projects, we are seeing a lot more PQQ/ITT questions around how we deliver change and projects in an agile way. Using scrum is a further steppingstone to developing our agile capability within MASS.

How does it feel to be one of few women to hold the role of Scrum Master in what seems to be a role that is predominantly taken by men?

In all honesty I don’t ever see it like that, I have a great network within MASS who all celebrate my achievements and other Scrum Masters within the business have offered such great help and support whenever I need it. Jack (Stark) has always been a great mentor and advocate for my growth, supporting any goals I have, no matter how big they are!

What message do you think your new role sends to other women aspiring to have careers in the tech industry?

I believe it sends a message to believe in yourself and you can absolutely achieve so much when you put your mind to it. That being said, you don’t have to do it all by yourself, have a good support system and a good mentor, it’ll help with your development.

Any advice to young women out there looking to build a career in tech?

Always be yourself, advocate for yourself and never be intimidated. Your talent won’t be seen unless you put it out there. Collaborate with others, continue learning and never underestimate or downplay your abilities, you’ll be an absolute asset to someone’s team.