On being a Scrum Master: A Quick Chat with Ania Hellwing
On being a Scrum Master: A Quick Chat with Ania Hellwing

Today, we are sharing another #VenturePeople story with you. Introducing our talented Scrum Master, Ania Hellwing, who is chatting with us about her work, experience, and passions.

Without further ado, meet Ania!

How did you come across the Scrum framework?

I was introduced to scrum in my first IT job where I worked as a Project Manager. Through that role I quickly realized how scrum’s benefits reach far beyond managing the product creation process, as they are easily transferable to everyday life and relationships. I also felt that scrum’s core values of Courage, Commitment, Focus, Openness, and Respect aligned with mine, so I began applying them to my professional work.

What do you appreciate most about Scrum?

Scrum is interesting because the entire team equally shares the responsibility of managing the project. There isn’t a specific manager who distributes tasks to team members, creates estimates, Gantt charts etc. Instead, the whole team decides how to implement business requirements, distribute work, and creates delivery forecasts. This approach allows them to work more efficiently; after all, who knows what is needed to achieve the desired result better than the project team? Additionally, in scrum, each member of the team has a full understanding of the product business goals throughout the development process, not only the manager or product owner. Thanks to this, we can see the project not only from the technological side, but from the business side as well, which significantly increases the value and impact of our solutions. Lastly, because scrum positions the team and customer as partners, we are able to deliver the highest-quality product in the shortest possible time.

What is your role on the team?

At first glance, my role isn’t easily viewable. To start with, my main duty is to support the Product Owner. I help with preparing and managing requirements in order to maximize the value of the product delivered. When it comes to the team, I am responsible for supporting them in developing common habits, values, and setting up ongoing communication. Ironically, my ultimate goal as a Scrum Master is for the team I’m working with to reach a level where it can perfectly “self-organize,” controlling the process of work without me. What does it mean, to reach that maturity level? The best teams are those that can rely on themselves. They support each other within the team and are not afraid of making mistakes. As a result, team members are encouraged to take more initiative and take risks because they see mistakes as opportunities for improvement rather than as moments of failure. When you work together like this, constantly growing and improving together, the project is not some boring process of simply ticking off tasks. So, in summary, Scrum Masters help create this positive working environment where people feel inspired and empowered and are thus able to deliver the highest quality product. As you can guess, this role brings me great satisfaction!

What does your standard workday look like?

Each day is different, but what’s constant is that every morning begins with a short “daily” meeting. We use these daily meetings to track the progress of our sprint, plan our day, and discuss any problems. In doing so, problems don’t exist in a vacuum but instead are discussed in the open, which allows me to actively help the team solve these problems.

Enough about work. What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

Sport and exploring the outdoors are two very important parts of my life. My favorite activities are biking and swimming, and my dream is to pack up my camping gear and carry it with me on a bike trip, so I can set up camp along the way! I am also interested in the “van life” movement, where you live nomadically out of a van. This lifestyle allows you to be closer to nature, travel more often, and learn about new cultures. I hope that one day I will be able to try it out!

Can you share with us some sources about scrum framework you recommend?

Sure! I strongly recommend:
- The Scrum Master Toolbox - Podcast
- Food for Agile Thought - Newsletter
- Hands on Agile - Community on Slack

And for people who are new to the topic, I especially suggest taking a closer look at:
- Mariusz Chrapko, Scrum. O zwinnym zarządzaniu projektami, Gliwice: Helion, 2015

- Jurgen Appelo, Management 3.0, Boston: Addison Wesley, 2011

I started my journey in scrum framework with these materials and I often come back to them.

Thank you Ania for your recommendation, and good luck with all of your plans!

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