What is your name, age, location?
Natalie Warnert, age 26, Minneapolis, MN
What's your background?
I started out as a web developer on an Agile redesign of Travelers.com. Then moved into BA work, Project Management and finally Scrum. I worked as a ScrumMaster at Travelers Insurance on a large internal project, then moved into Agile Project Management of a User Experience (UX) team at Thomson Reuters. I now am a ScrumMaster at Surescripts, LLC coaching five teams on Agile/Scrum practices and helping them to continually improve through inspection, adaption, and self organization. I also have spoken at numerous national Agile and Scrum conferences over the past two years.
Please walk me through your day as a ScrumMaster/Agile Coach, what's a typical working day for you?
I start out the morning by reviewing the teams’ progress from the previous day by looking at burndown charts and Scrum/Kanban boards. I then go to three to four daily scrum stand up meetings. The rest of my day is spent in backlog grooming or planning with the teams and Product Owners, helping them to get ready for the next Sprint or release. I also review more metrics and collaborate with my fellow ScrumMasters on issues they’re seeing.
You hold a BBA in Information Systems from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and are working toward a MA in Organizational Leadership – Strategic Management at St. Catherine University. What inspired you to go into tech and specifically Scrum and Agile?
Honestly, I went into tech because I knew it was a lucrative industry with plenty of jobs. At the time I graduated, the economy was underperforming and it was the best choice. I think Agile is a better way of working and I have seen what it can do to transform organizations. I’m very passionate about helping teams to improve and I love the Agile niche.
What’s the most common misconception about working in the IT world?
That everyone thinks you can fix their computer.
When things get tough how do you keep yourself going?
I try to apply Agile principles to things. I break down my work into sizable tasks, plan and prioritize it, and ask for help when needed to remove blockers.
What “rules” do you live by?
I always try to do the best I can and learn something every day. I also think there’s a solution to every problem; it just might not be the most obvious one. I never give up.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Everyone is replaceable - make sure you never get stagnant.
You're joining us as a speaker at an upcoming event: Twin Cities Geekettes + Surescripts Presents Intro to Agile and have spoken at major conferences. What advice do you have for women wanting to speak?
Just go for it. You won’t know until you try! I have also written a blog post on getting talks accepted to large conferences here.
What achievement are you most proud of?
The first articles I got published by Methods and Tools and Better Software.
What keeps you working in the Twin Cities?
I grew up in Minnesota so that’s a big factor. There are also so many great companies and opportunities here.
Any advice for the Twin Cities women?
Keep your options open, do informational interviews and learn more about different companies. Try different sizes of companies and different industries to see what you like. Move internally. Just don’t get comfortable in a job and forget to look at what else is out there.
Natalie's website: http://nataliewarnert.com/