Being a Scrum Master is like a tightrope walker

Nidhal is a Scrum Master and Agile Coach in the IT Services division of ALTEN Switzerland and he is currently working on a project in the e-commerce luxury sector.

He is also a member of the organizational committee of the Agile Tour 2022, the biggest event dedicated to agility in the Lake Geneva area on December, 8 th . The event will gather agility experts who are going to share their knowledge and experience during conferences, workshops, and networking times. You can find more information on the website and book your tickets here: What is your career path?

I was always a little tech fan boy. Since my childhood I had the chance to get a PC (a Sanyo MPC-2 computer) and being able to play with BASIC to create little softwares or games.

Later, I made the choice to get a Software Engineer’s degree and start a career in software development. In IT we always say either you love technology, or you love people. I think I was in love with people and a little bit with technology! So, after going through developer, IT support, Product owner, and project management positions, I chose to explore more agile ways of work by embracing the Scrum Master role.

Going through multiple positions, could be seen as someone who is not sure about what he wants to do in life. To be honest, it was my case but as Steve Jobs once said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.”

What can you tell me about the project you are working on?

Today, I am a Scrum Master in a context where our client is going through an agile transformation.

The team I am working with is a central team providing a framework with multiple capabilities for multiple Maisons (in the luxury sector we talk about Maisons instead of brands) so they can integrate new features easily, such as payment methods, checkout processes, product customization, etc. So, in other terms, we are creating a product used by users so they can create their own product.

As a Scrum Master, my role is to facilitate the daily work of my team by understanding the priorities, what is expected, and what goals we are trying to achieve. Then I create a system where people can tackle daily problems, collaborate, and create value.

To me a Scrum Master is like a tightrope walker: you need to keep an eye on the team’s progress toward its goals while tackling day-to-day problems and impediments that exist in the ecosystem surrounding it.

What do you enjoy the most about your position?

What I enjoy the most about the Scrum Master role is the duality that this position presents. It is a servant leader role: you focus on what your team needs to create value for your clients.

I also enjoy the variety of postures that a Scrum Master can adopt. A Scrum Master is a facilitator to create a safe space for collaboration, but also a coach for the team and sometimes the whole organization focusing on continuous improvement and a team member mindset. He is also a mentor trying to share his knowledge across the organization and a change agent who push to expand agile culture across all organization level.

How did you come to be part of Agile Suisse? What is your role?

I was preparing my move to Switzerland, and as part of my preparation, I wanted to know the state of agile in the country in general and in the French-speaking part specifically. So, as any Scrum team member would do, I asked for help from the community and as it is the tradition in the agile community, I got help and was introduced to the Agile Suisse Association. I participated in one of their meetups and I loved the spirit around: sharing is caring!

We do not have a specific role in the association. There is of course the mandatory administrative role but for the rest, we are self-organized (a typical agile organization). We have multiple initiatives, each one is led by one or two persons and as a member, you can decide to participate in one of the initiatives. We have many initiatives: Agile Tour, Agile School, Clinique Agile, etc.

I decided to be part of the Agile Tour initiative. We are a group of people working together to organize the Agile Tour Lausanne 2022, which is scheduled for December 8th.

I made this choice because I never organized a big event so far. And since it is something that scares me, well I decided to do it, first to learn new things and also to help since it is our biggest event of the year!

What is the aim of Agile Suisse?

Agile Suisse is a non-profit organization created in 2019 by agility enthusiasts and together we make the organization shine!

We wanted to join forces to support initiatives in Switzerland such as conferences, seminars, workshops, and publications. Agile Suisse association aims to promote agility in Switzerland in order to help companies transform and free up their human capital. We organize events such as the Agile Tour, meetups, and meetings around agility. Agile Suisse is open to anyone who recognizes themselves in the purpose of the association, just contact us to join us!

The Agile Tour is coming soon on December, 8th. What is it and why it is interesting to join?

Agile Tour Lausanne is the biggest agile event in Switzerland! In figures, it is more than 20 speakers, 35 sessions, workshops, and talks, being enjoyed by more than 200 people over the course of a day.

Curious, passionate, or expert, this conference brings together everyone who is interested in agility: developers, managers, agile coaches, product owners, etc. It is a day of conferences, discoveries, and exchanges of methods, tools, issues, and feedback around the major themes of agility.