March 24, 2022
Scrum time! How 24i drives excellence in video streaming application development
March is Women’s History Month, a time when we reflect on the tremendous contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society, and celebrate International Women’s Day. To mark this occasion, our latest Spotlight blog by 24i’s CEO Dr Neale Foster focuses on the work of one of the brilliant women in the 24i team: Scrum Master Sylva Buršíková. She talks about the importance of communication when using Agile methodologies in video streaming application development projects, and highlights 24i’s work to encourage more women into careers in technology.
Like many software companies around the world, 24i uses the Agile methodology to organize both its product development and the custom projects it undertakes for some customers. Based in our Brno office, Sylva Buršíková is the scrum master supporting the teams involved in many of these projects.
Before we got into talking about her experience in 24i, I asked Sylva to explain what a scrum master does, for those unfamiliar with the role: “When you are conducting Agile projects, the team has a daily scrum meeting. It’s when everyone comes together each morning to briefly discuss progress towards the current goals and produce an actionable plan for the next day’s work,” Sylva explained. “It’s a concept that’s designed to ensure we keep focus on our goals and improve the self-management of everyone on the team so they’re all working towards developing the best video streaming applications for our customers. As the scrum master, it’s my job to oversee this process, to make sure the meetings are happening and to ensure effective communication.”
Communication is key
Sylva stresses that running daily scrums and other scrum “ceremonies” (the Agile term for the regular meetings that are key to the scrum framework) is important, but there’s much more to the role of scrum master: “When you’re working on complex projects involving people from multiple teams, it’s important to have someone who can take a step back and see the whole project from a much higher level. My job is to coordinate between product owners, solutions architects, developers, QA testers, engineers and more - across different teams and often in several different countries. I’m there to ensure communication is happening in the way it should, and to coach the individual team members to make sure they’re following the scrum framework.”
Sylva admits it can be difficult for organizations to put a number or a KPI on the performance of its scrum masters, but when the function is missing, it soon becomes obvious: “If you look at any kind of software development, the most common reason for projects getting off-track is a lack of communication. People can get angry that they don’t have answers - but then the scrum master comes in and points out that the right questions haven’t been asked. If a team is consistently late in delivering code, the scrum master can identify whether they’re getting the right kind of feedback and having their deadlines communicated effectively. You could almost see the scrum master as a kind of impartial intermediary that makes sure different roles are functioning well together.”
Putting a 24i spin on Agile for video streaming application development
The 24i product and custom development teams follow Agile principles because we believe it’s the best way to bring value to our customers and deliver high quality video streaming applications, while retaining the ability to adapt as requirements and priorities change. Like the majority of software companies, however, we’re using the scrum framework flexibly.
“I’m not an Agile fanatic, or one of the purists who believe you cannot deviate from the principles of Agile even a tiny bit,” says Sylva. “Actually, I think flexibility is important. You need to make sure that any process you implement is in line with the specifics of the particular project and team. That means adjusting your approach based on the platform, technology, release frequency, customer preferences, team maturity, etc.”
Inspiring a new generation of scrum masters
Sylva’s also passionate about encouraging more women to consider careers in technology. “In my previous job I was lucky enough to take part in a project which introduced local school girls to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities to inspire a love of these topics,” she explains. Since joining 24i, Sylva has also been part of our partnership with the organization Czechitas.
“The Digital Academy project organized by Czechitas is a fantastic initiative,” says Sylva. “Lots of leading tech companies, including 24i, have got involved to help women in the Czech Republic learn coding skills and retrain for jobs in IT. Many of the participants have taken time out from their careers to have families and are now looking for new opportunities. I was happy to join a session about Agile projects and explain the role of the scrum master in supporting developers, engineers and architects to get projects running as efficiently as possible. It can be a difficult job to explain to someone who has only limited experience of Agile development but the students had already picked up a lot about the framework and asked really interesting questions about the real-life experience of Agile versus the theory. I’m looking forward to getting involved with the next group this year and I’m hoping that one day soon we’ll have a Digital Academy graduate joining us in 24i scrum meetings!”
If you’re interested in joining 24i’s team of video streaming experts, we are recruiting for roles across several of our offices. Visit our careers page to see our latest vacancies.