Being a Scrum Master at Speechmatics is a challenging and varied role, especially in a fast-paced industry like speech technology.
I joined Speechmatics over a year and a half ago and in that time, I’ve been involved in a number of projects, each exposing me to new experiences and opportunities to learn and develop both personally and professionally.
What does my role as Scrum Master include?
My main focus as a Scrum Master is to create successful teams with strong proficiencies in self-organisation and cross-functionality with a drive for continuous improvement. My role enables me to support the Product Owners in visualising progress, creating a transparent product backlog and maximising the product value. This means that I am constantly problem-solving and finding techniques for effective product backlog management.
Day-to-day I help the organisation to make Scrum successful. I do this by supporting management teams in changing processes, procedures, culture and behaviour. We’ve been using Scrum for about two years at Speechmatics with increasing levels of success. Due to this, and with a strong focus on the principles of Agile, one of my priorities is to ensure that the spirit of Scrum is truly understood by all.
We follow an Agile methodology which enables us to self-organise and make changes rapidly depending on what is and isn’t working. It’s my job to facilitate the team to follow Agile principles and to manage the process for how information is exchanged within and across teams.
As a Scrum Master, I want to be proactive in preventing potential problems. This requires an overarching knowledge about our core products and process. Over the last year, I have gained a lot of knowledge and exposure to wider company processes above and beyond the responsibilities of my role.
Being a Scrum Master doesn’t come without its share of challenges. For example, it has been a challenge to practice Scrum for a speech team where lots of research and experimentation work is involved. I’ve needed to tweak the Scrum process to better suit the team and periodically review it to ensure we’re continually improving and reaching our goal as a team.
To find success in this role, I’ve found that it is important to be a great listener and to be comfortable with silence so that you can truly understand the needs of the team. I really enjoy the freedom that Speechmatics gives me to try new things and present new proposals for process changes.
Speechmatics is a great place to work with lots of great minds to learn from and to bounce ideas off. We have lots of benefits such as massages and bike repairs as well as frequent social activities where we’re able to spend time with people cross-department. Not only is it a great working environment, but Speechmatics is at the cutting-edge of speech technology and I’m excited to be a part of it.
Venkatesh Chandran, Scrum Master
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