A journey of determination with DVT

Saturday, 30 September 2023 13:21
A journey of determination with DVT

Siba Jili is currently in the midst of Dynamic Technologies’ group company DVT’s Scrum Master Apprenticeship Programme. This 12-month programme has achieved a flawless track record in mentoring, coaching, certifying, and developing scrum masters from the ground up, with a 100% success rate. Siba’s journey with DVT is inspiring, and it proves that skill, passion, and determination can indeed make your dreams come true.

Siba joined DVT in January of 2019 as a recruitment assistant and receptionist. She had just been retrenched as her then employer was closing down – joining DVT, she believes, was fate. She says, “I was young, had completed my Psychology degree, was doing my Honours at the time, and was still looking to find my niche. Being at DVT I was introduced to a myriad of new things. The back-office team which I had joined – known as the Business Enablement division –would often hold retrospectives to discuss improvement. During this time, we did a Strength Finder workshop to understand each other better, in order to work effectively as a team. I had no idea that these were a few elements of scrum, but I was really intrigued by the effective communication and the frequent discussions on improvement.”

Joining DVT may have been fate, but choosing to stay was a direct result of the opportunities for growth and development that were available to her. Siba went from being a recruitment assistant to working as the DVT Academy coordinator, working with local and international trainers to plan and coordinate training. She explains, “It was there that I was exposed to Agile and scrum training courses, and my eagerness to learn more was born. I could connect scrum to psychology, the concept of breaking down big tasks into small manageable items, fostering constant communication throughout, building trust and holding each other accountable, and it just made sense to me.” She adds. “The ability to be a servant leader, serving those you work with and helping them remove impediments, resonated with me.”

In 2020 Siba took on an HR role onboarding new staff. Before accepting that role, Siba’s manager at the time, Melani French, asked Siba if she had found her niche yet. She spoke with Siba about considering which role she would want to pursue as a career. Siba says, “I knew that I wanted to be a scrum master. Melani gave me information about DVT’s Scrum Master Apprenticeship Programme, and I resolved to stay prepared for when one of DVT’s clients requested an apprentice.”

The opportunity soon arose, and Siba grabbed it with both hands. The year-long DVT Scrum Master Apprenticeship Programme gives aspiring scrum masters exposure and experience to real tech teams and projects. Siba says, “As part of the programme, I started off by shadowing a few scrum masters for a while before I began running the scrum ceremonies with the teams while under supervision. The first year is about learning as much as you can and the principle of failing fast and failing forward is essential. These past seven months have been about applying the scrum theories practically, learning facilitation skills, establishing rapport, and adopting problem solving skills that remove obstacles so that the teams can focus on delivery.”

Mentorship and good leadership role models are often crucial to the success of up-and-coming leaders, and Siba has been blessed with both. She says, “When my transition from an HR role to Scrum Apprentice was announced, I received so many messages of encouragement from all over DVT and some scrum masters offered guidance whenever I required it. It was a true testament of the DVT culture. Kanya Mhlongo, Practice Lead: Scrum Mastership, is my current mentor as she is working closely with me and advising me as I navigate my first year as a scrum master. Melani French is someone I really look up to. She heads up a big department, and I admire her ability to walk into a boardroom and confidently articulate herself. She represents courage, authenticity, and just what ‘girl power’ looks like to me.”

For Siba, DVT has been instrumental in helping guide her, shape her career, and grow her skills. She says, “The programme has propelled my career as a scrum master. It has given me a once in a lifetime opportunity to prove to myself that this was indeed the right choice for my career. I always wondered how I would be as a psychologist as I am naturally reserved, but through the programme I have seen myself open up a bit more and I enjoy being able to apply my mind and serve my scrum teams.” The future looks bright, and Siba aims to pay it forward as she says, “I see myself speaking in scrum conferences and eventually becoming an Agile coach.”