In this article CGI partner Shena Deadman talks about being part of one of our technical communities and shares how it has played a crucial role in developing her Agile career over the past eight years.

January 2024

At CGI, we are much more than the sum of our parts. We belong to a team with a shared purpose and a set of common goals.

As a Scrum Master at CGI, I support and collaborate with my teams to deliver value and innovative solutions for our customers. I care for the well-being of my teams as well as their performance. We share successes and challenges and work together as committed professionals with the singular goal of continuous improvement and effective delivery.

Looking back at a journey that began eight years ago, I can now see the impact of being able to access CGI’s professional development and mentoring. Additionally, the coaching support from other Agile professionals has contributed to my arriving at this place of strength and expertise. In return, I feel compelled to work alongside early-career tech talent to give back to my community and facilitate their journeys too.

Being a Scrum Master involves being truly down in the weeds, which to me is about focusing on the details and the day-to-day issues we need to deal with. Not only do I support the teams in getting to grips with working with the Agile delivery framework and ensuring successful product delivery, but individually, each is supported in developing their skills and capabilities in alignment with their personal development plans.

The right support makes all the difference

I joined CGI as an Agile Delivery Manager. That role involved managing delivery from cradle to grave in a directive fashion, while also working at the granular level to coach and support the team to deliver a quality product. Later, through CGI's professional development programmes, I built up my Agile competencies to focus on the multi-faceted role of Scrum Master.

I am grateful for the regular mentoring and coaching from other CGI Agile professionals over the past year. This has improved my abilities as a Scrum Master, enabling me to tackle more complex projects with confidence.

Consultancy can be challenging. We don't necessarily work with the same people more than once or for very long. Mentally, I believe that a consistent and supportive network of like-minded professionals makes a tremendous difference. It provides that extra confidence and motivation to keep going when faced with challenges.

The ability to take a real-world challenge to a community of other professionals for advice is a game-changer for me. There’s always someone around who immediately understands the impact a particular challenge has on delivery and the role, and is then able and willing to offer advice and support.

Sparking innovation

I’d like to share an instance of technical collaboration sparking innovative solutions. In one particular project, the teams were divided into frontend/backend component teams. We delivered code as horizontal, architectural layers, but we found that keeping those layers in sync was very time-consuming.

Additionally, the client often had no business-coherent chunk of functionality to review. The business analysts found it hard to support the refinement process as the tickets were written in tech-speak, rather than business outcomes.

I supported the teams in testing out different hypotheses for how to restructure their approach. Ultimately, they reorganised into two full-stack, cross-functional teams that could deliver vertical slices of business features using BDD (Behaviour Driven Development).

This worked well.

All stakeholders gained a much better understanding of what was being delivered. It also enabled the business analysts to help the Product Owner refine user stories and eliminate wasted effort, all of which improved team velocity.

Sharing successes and challenges

Despite being spread right across the country and working in a hybrid model, our technical community has fostered a culture of collaboration and community.

I see my role as helping teams build a culture of empowerment, collective accountability and continuous improvement, all while delivering valuable product increments for clients.

I support my teams to learn, understand and leverage the Scrum framework and its values so we can move from a cooperative space toward high-functioning collaboration that creates innovation. This approach intrinsically fosters a sense of community whilst working towards the shared goal of delivering excellence.  

CGI greatly values its tech teams. I’ve been supported in developing my career as part of a wider technical community and now, I continue the work of building CGI’s technical community as a Scrum Master.

Think you might be a good fit for our tech teams? Head over to our career site to check out current openings.