My Somo journey to certified Scrum Master.

Sarah Bizal, Scrum Master in Charleston, SC
09 March 2021

Opportunities in life can be surprising. They come in many different shapes and sizes and can come and go in an instant. They are not always guaranteed. They are not always there for you to pick and choose. They are not always what you first expected. What really matters is your perspective about opportunities. Your perspective helps define if and when you take advantage of those opportunities and how willing you are to accept changes in circumstances. I think of my journey from Starbucks barista to Office Manager to Scrum Master in this way. 

I wasn’t one of those kids who knew exactly what they wanted to do when they grew into an adult. So, in that regard, when college came around I was at a disadvantage. I went in for English, switched to computer science, and left 1.5 years later not having a degree at all with no aims. About three years passed so long story short, my husband got a job at Somo Global’s new Charleston location as a software engineer and encouraged me to apply for the role of office manager. I did so not expecting anything. I had had some experience in that area as I worked for my father’s architecture firm in addition to Starbucks but nothing too extensive. To my absolute surprise and delight, I was hired, and with it a new perspective on opportunities.

I had not even been in the role of office manager for a few months when my line manager and company CTO, Mike, asked me how I wanted to grow at Somo. I was a little taken aback because I didn’t expect to be given that kind of opportunity. After all, I had just stepped into a new role and was learning how to be confident in that. It was an exciting thought, though, so I began to explore some options within the company. On the list I made, Product Owner and Scrum Master were near the top. And so my perspective started changing as I stood on the precipice of opportunity.

I dove into the world of Agile and Scrum a month before the Covid-19 pandemic threw a wrench into normal life as we knew it. Everyone switched from office life to working from home and teams were no longer meeting face-to-face on a normal basis. I was supposed to shadow a few facilitators and their teams and so at first, I was disheartened by this new development. However, in those first few weeks I realized that I had such a unique opportunity staring me in the face. I had been worried that this Scrum Master training would interfere with my current tasks as an office manager and that I would be stretched thin to keep up with both. However, with no physical office to manage during the stay at home order, the door of opportunity was open and ready for me to walk through. So I did. This willingness to adapt to changing circumstances is something that the Scrum methodology rides on. I could see that not only in my own circumstances but also in the Scrum/Kanban teams that I shadowed. I spent time reading and observing the theory while simultaneously seeing the application. This really solidified and I can see how much I have learned; all while being stuck at home during a global pandemic. That is not to say that this pandemic has been ‘good’ as many people have suffered from it. It is just to say that, because of technology, I have been able to take advantage of the circumstances and use it for benefit instead of a detriment.

In August of 2020, I was ready to take the Scrum Master Certification and I’m now on two teams at Somo as a Scrum Master. Throughout this one-year journey of pursuing opportunities, Somo has always supported me. Each and every employee that I encountered during my time shadowing teams were gracious and excited for this career change. All of the Scrum Masters answered all of my questions (even the really obvious ones) and were happy to hop on a call to walk through them. I’m excited to see where I go from here and am forever grateful to Somo for presenting me with an opportunity that I might not have gone for otherwise. Now my perspective is aimed at the horizon in a way that wasn’t before joining Somo. Where will I go from here? Only time will tell.