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Q&A with Paula Kvedaras

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Paula Kvedaras, Co-founder Consultora BK, Scrum.Inc Fellow Trainer.

How could you describe your career path in a few words?

I funded my first college degree in psychology by working as a software developer, gaining a unique perspective on development teams. By the age of 24, I became the Systems Manager for Mexico within a leading global human resources conglomerate. I earned my PMP credential and led key Latin American projects as a Project Manager. These experiences became the cornerstone upon which I founded Consultora BK®, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

As an Agile Coach, I assist organizations in implementing Scrum within teams to enhance productivity and collaboration. I also train how to use Scrum@Scale to transform from specific departments to the entire organization, harmoniously integrating both agile and traditional approaches.

I've always loved education, so teaching Agile to postgraduate students at the University of Barcelona and the Technological Institute of Buenos Aires is one of my passions, and the other is to train leaders to be certified as Scrum Masters, Product Owners, and practitioners of Scrum@Scale, and also Agile Coaches, since I am a Scrum Fellow Trainer.

I'm enthusiastic about transforming management structures and inspiring top-tier executives to wholeheartedly adopt Agile. From my vantage point in South America, I aim to bring a unique voice to the global Agile dialogue.

How do you think agile practices have transformed companies over the past two years?

Agile practices have been crucial for making organizations viable in a rapidly changing world. The main benefits gained by companies that have properly implemented Scrum and Scrum@Scale are :

  • Capitalising diversity: Scrum fosters environments where diverse voices are heard and valued. This inclusivity has catalyzed innovation, as diverse teams bring varied perspectives, leading to holistic solutions.

  • Navigating volatility: Scrum's iterative framework equips organizations to adapt swiftly to external changes, converting potential setbacks into innovation opportunities.

  • Elevated collaboration: Scrum's team-centric framework fosters cross-functional synergy, which is vital for communication and team building.

  • Customer-centric evolution: Through regular sprint reviews and feedback mechanisms inherent in Scrum, businesses are now finely attuned to customer needs, ensuring real-time alignment with market dynamics.

  • Organizational scalability: Scrum@Scale drives scaling of Scrum across whole departments or entire organizations effectively integrating both IT and non-IT members in each team, as well as blending traditional teams with agile ones.

  • Operational efficiency: With clear components like backlogs, sprints, and retrospectives, Scrum and scaled Scrum ensures that businesses remain lean, efficient, and focused on value delivery.

  • Adaptive objectives: S@S helps organizations to transition from fixed to flexible objectives allowing them to swiftly recalibrate their strategies in response to market fluctuations.

In essence, Scrum and Scrum@Scale have repositioned agility from being a mere

What successful cases of agile transformations have you had the opportunity to observe that have particularly stood out to you?

The transformations that have most caught my attention involve various public and private banks. At Consultora BK®, an Agile Education Partner, we didn't just coach teams in Scrum; we also trained internal coaches for each institution. This was achieved using the Scrum framework at the team level and Scrum@Scale to integrate business and technology departments.

In each case, the transformation was more than just a change in operational methods; it meant a deep cultural evolution, emphasizing transparency, improved communication, and a sharpened focus. Our collaborative endeavours were filled with a variety of learnings, often pushing each organization to step out of their comfort zones, challenge traditional paradigms, and always strive for excellence. The outcomes have been notably commendable.

Highlights of the transformations include :

  • Hundreds of employees working in dozens of Scrum teams across various sectors, from business-oriented divisions to support functions.

  • Teams composed of individuals from different departments, ensuring broad-based collaboration.

  • Effective implementation of all Scrum components within the teams and the majority of Scrum@Scale components in each organization.

  • Each of the banks entered a real continuous improvement process where in each sprint they improve both their results and their processes on their own.

The leadership's appreciation for our efforts and their continued commitment to Agile encapsulates the depth of this transformation's impact.

Will agile practices continue to generate interest? What challenges do you see in the context of deploying these practices?

Absolutely. In today's ever-changing environment adaptability is key. Agile, especially Scrum and Scrum@Scale, offer organizations a structured yet flexible framework to navigate these uncertainties. My work, especially in guiding C-level transformations into Scrum teams, affirms Agile's rising appeal.

I can list the following as key challenges in Agile deployment:

  • Cultural Shift: Transitioning to Agile demands a new mindset, posing difficulties for traditionally-structured organizations.

  • Depth Over Surface: Agile is more than terminology; it requires genuine understanding, commitment to its core principles and discipline.

  • Scalability: Scrum excels at the team level. For broader organizational changes, Scrum@Scale becomes essential, but maintaining Agile's essence during scaling can be challenging.

  • Multifunctionality: Agile encourages diversity of approaches, but active efforts are required to ensure comprehensive representation and effective utilisation of varied insights.

  • Continuous Evolution: The world of Agile is dynamic. Sustained learning and adaptation are crucial to remain updated.

Given the transformative potential of Agile practices, the journey is challenging but promises profound rewards in results, customer satisfaction, and overall organizational resilience.

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