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Q&A with Savita Pahuja

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Savita Pahuja, Founder & Senior Agile Coach.

How could you describe your career path in few words? 


I started my tech journey as a Java Developer after finishing Computer Science Masters. I experienced work hassles like awkward hand-offs and shaky estimations in traditional project management, which led me to explore Scrum. This game-changer showed me the magic of teamwork and clear communication. 


From coding trenches, I climbed to a Scrum Master role, scoring certifications like CSM and CSPO. Xebia became my playground, exposing me to diverse clients.  


Life took me to Singapore, where Palo IT and DBS welcomed me as an Agile Coach. Later, I moved to Canada to explore different cultures and worked with Scotia Bank and TD Bank. I focused on developing my coaching skills via ICF-PCC(Professional Certified Coach), CTC (Certified Team Coach), and CEC (Certified Enterprise Coach) certifications. 


Two years ago, I started CoachingSaga. It's more than a business; it's where I mentor new Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches. Plus, I provide Agile coaching training, including the ICP-ACC (Agile Coaching Certificate). 


This journey from a bewildered coder to an Agile mentor is about facing challenges. My dedication to the ever-changing Agile world is unwavering. I'm on a quest for knowledge, excellence, and the joy of guiding new talents in the Agile realm. 


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


There are a lot of ups and downs in the market. Companies struggle to navigate employee engagement and work culture during the pandemic and post-pandemic. The Agile mindset, focusing on communication, collaboration, and adaptability, has proven valuable in remote work. The rise of remote or hybrid work and distributed teams has accelerated the adoption of Agile practices. The flexibility and communication-focused nature of Agile practices make it well-suited for organizations with team members working from different locations. 


Users' preferences regarding many products and services have changed. Agile helps adapt to those changes. For example, Scrum provides many inspect and adapt events to help companies improve as they go. Also, Agile methodologies strongly emphasize understanding and responding to customer needs. Companies have been leveraging Agile frameworks to enhance their customer-centric approach, incorporating feedback loops and iterative development cycles to ensure that products and services align with customer expectations. 


Lastly, the knowledge economy is changing significantly with the rapid development of technology and innovations like AI. Experimentation, open mindset, adaptive learning and continuous improvement mindset are essential for refining AI models and development practices.AI projects often involve dealing with uncertainties, and Agile practices allow for adjustments based on emerging information. 

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


In my experience, I've witnessed successful cases of Agile transformations that have left a lasting impression. These instances shared the following common themes: 


  1. Articulating a Clear Vision: 

  2. Learning Culture: 

  3. Celebrating Success and Failure: 



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


The principles of Agility, with their focus on adaptability, customer value, and collaboration, have proven valuable in navigating the rapidly changing business landscape. This interest has likely persisted, and there are several reasons why Agile practices will continue garnering attention: Market Dynamics, Innovation and Time-to-Market, Customer-Centricity, Remote Work and Distributed Teams. 


Challenges in Deploying Agile Practices: 


  • Cultural Resistance: Shifting to an Agile mindset requires a cultural shift. Resistance to change from team members, management, or other stakeholders can pose a significant hurdle. 

  • Incomplete Implementation: In some cases, organizations may adopt Agile practices superficially without fully embracing the principles, leading to suboptimal results and disillusionment. 

  • Organizational Structure: Traditional hierarchical organizational structures may clash with the self-organizing nature of Agile teams. Adjusting organizational structures to support Agile practices can be a considerable challenge. 

  • Tooling and Technology Integration: Integrating Agile tools and methodologies with existing technology infrastructure may present technical challenges. Ensuring seamless collaboration and communication requires effective tooling. 

  • Lack of Leadership Support or Understanding: Insufficient support or understanding of Agile principles among leaders can impede successful adoption. Educating and aligning leadership with Agile values is crucial for sustained success. 


What’s your key message to aspiring Agile Coaches? 


Emphasize self-growth and mastery on your journey as an Agile Coach. Practical experience is invaluable—immerse yourself in real-world scenarios to deepen your understanding of Agile principles. Seek guidance from a mentor who can provide insights and share experiences, accelerating your learning curve. 

Honest self-assessment is paramount. Acknowledge and comprehend your areas of improvement with candour. This self-awareness becomes the foundation for targeted personal and professional development. As an Agile Coach, continuous improvement isn't just a principle; it's a way of life. 


Build a diverse toolkit of coaching techniques, communication skills, and facilitation methods. Adaptability is critical, as every team and organization is unique. Cultivate empathy to connect with individuals and teams, fostering an environment conducive to collaboration and growth. 


Stay connected with the Agile community—attend conferences, participate in meetups, and contribute to collective knowledge. Networking allows for exchanging ideas and best practices, enriching your coaching repertoire. 


In summary, aspiring Agile Coaches should focus on self-growth through hands-on experience, mentorship, honest self-reflection, and active participation in the Agile community. Mastery in Agile coaching is a continuous journey, and the commitment to learning and adapting sets exceptional Agile Coaches apart. 

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