By Erica Durso
This year the Women in Agile (WIA) gathering returned to the Global SAFe Summit. Even
though we were still virtual, we all set aside time to connect with each other and, maybe even
more importantly, connect with ourselves.
The event kicked off with a little fun as we struck our best superhero poses to get the blood
flowing. There’s power in posture! Then we heard from WIA co-founder Deema Dajani on how
WIA has helped its members through one of the toughest years we’ve ever seen. We heard and
saw some inspirational women telling their stories on how they’ve made a path for themselves
and for those that will follow them. It felt great to be a part of something bigger than myself.
After our kickoff, we heard from a new WIA voice, Hannah Howard Bink. She recapped the past
18 months and the hurdles we’ve all faced. She acknowledged that with all that we’ve endured,
very few have had the time or the energy to focus on career planning, especially in the way
we’re all used to planning—long-term goals. Hannah shared her method for Agile career
planning. She advised us not to create the typical five-year career plan but to use a more
realistic and less overwhelming time frame of six months. She shared her personal career plans
from the past year, discussing the things she wanted to accomplish and the questions she
wanted to answer. Some things she achieved, and some things continued to elude her. Perhaps
the most powerful piece of advice that she gave was that your career plan should not be a
secret document. We should share it! Share it with our bosses, share it with our subordinates,
share it with our peers. Doing so keeps us accountable, but it also opens doors for people to
help us achieve our goals.
After Hannah introduced her Agile career planning method and ideology, there was a short
workshop. Hannah had us simply open up a document and start writing. We all got a few
precious minutes to think and write about ourselves, our plans, our goals, and our questions for
the next six months. Then, in the spirit of sharing and accountability, we broke out into small
groups and shared our plans. Groups were randomly created to ensure diversity in the types of
roles represented, from developers to senior executives. There, women introduced themselves
and then shared their personal plans, and some even found someone in the group that could
provide advice and expertise.
We ended the session with a return to the larger group. There, the event organizers highlighted
the powerful donations made by Scaled Agile co-founder Dean Leffingwell and how that money
has been put to good use to provide scholarships for women to grow and advance their careers.
We spent the final minutes chatting and networking. We even saw two aspiring SPCTs get
connected with a gold SPCT partner to help them identify some steps toward their goals. The
event truly was a great way to grow ourselves, our network, and to chart our own paths forward.
I’m sure we’re all looking forward to what’s in store for next year!