Rajive Chopra (Raj), an agile evangelist and thinker.
Agile Coach/Trainer | CSPO | CSM
Why this blog?
Well – before I answer this questions, I feel it is important to share with you a little bit of my background. I finished school in 1997 in India and moved to the US in 1999 to pursue higher studies. I did my bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida and started working as a software developer for a major pharmaceutical company in 2003, where I had been working as an intern. A year later, in spring of 2004, I decided to pursue my MBA in Information Technology & Operations management, part-time at FAU.
In the fall of 2004, it was during my operations management class, where my professor mentioned the word “Agile Software Development” (something that I had never heard before). This came up in his conversation about the various software applications development frameworks that were out there, and how Agile was an upcoming framework against the traditional waterfall way of SDLC. He used the term “Scrum Master” (once again, something completely alien to me) and mentioned about this local training company in south florida that was offering the Scrum Master training and the certification, and there were 2 seats that were being offered for no charge to the students. Still lost in these new terms and unknowns, I signed up for one of the available seats – and that move totally changed my career path, for good reasons. Thank you professor!
About 2 weeks later, I spent 3 full days of sharing a meeting space with about 20 other students from various technology companies, learning and exercising the core principles of the Agile framework and the Scrum methodology from one of the best Agile advocates, I ever met. The passion and energy that he reflected during his sessions, just sunk into my system, as if it was all meant to be. Every lesson and exercise that we did made so much sense. I feel this introduction to Agile early in my career, when I had not spent too many years practicing waterfall, made me non-skeptical to easily embrace the Agile framework, with open arms. Within those 3 days, I was transformed to see things in smaller iterative cycles, and had learnt to be prepared to collect feedback and adapt as I go. The meaning of terms like “perfect”, “done” etc were not same anymore. My mindset shift had triggered in.
Anyways, I was back to work with my Scrum Master certification and a big smile. I was lucky to have a team at work that was not just open to listen to what I had to share from this experience, but was also willing to try this methodology out for one of our smaller projects. What a great team – thank you guys! So without further delay, we found our product owner, who had the vision for that project. I put on the Scrum Master hat and we took a dive in. It did not take us long enough to start seeing the difference. It did not take too long for the fire to spread in the rest of our company, where we started seeing more and more Scrum Masters erupting and running in their journey to change the world. I knew this was not a fad that would disappear with time. This was meant to stay and expand, as time passed. And it did.
Fast-forward 10 years – I am still a big believer and advocate of the Agile framework. Over the past decade, I have been fortunate enough to work in various Agile driven technology companies and have got opportunities to wear various hats at different times – from a team member to a Scrum Master to a Product Owner. Over the last few years, I have been coaching and mentoring my co-workers and development teams to get on-board in this Agile journey with me. Conferences, boot-camps and certifications have been a big help in keeping up with the fast changing world in this field. I have reached a point, where it has become important for me to start jotting down my thoughts and experiences in the world of Agile on paper, to vacate some room in my brain to take more information in. There is so much, and so many people in this field to learn from that the information is in abundance. More importantly, a selfish motive to create this blog is to use these writings later to remind me of my past experiences and act as a guide to hold my hand and walk with me, as I take this journey and do my little part in bringing a change.
….hence this blog.