🏡 City: Rome ➡️ Oakland ➡️ Santa Barbara ➡️ San Francisco ➡️ Barcelona
💼 Job title: Head of Agile
🎓 Studies: BA in Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara
🔮 Languages: English 🇺🇸 and Italian 🇮🇹. I’m learning Spanish 🇪🇸 — just got my 1A certificate!
👣 How do you commute at work: First I take the train and then I walk a few minutes: this is a good opportunity to feel Barcelona’s energy.
🧳 Travel dreams: I have always dreamed of going to Greece, but I also have a lot of friends all around Europe and I want to visit them.
📚 Favorite book/film/song: “Pulp Fiction” by Tarantino, because the first time I watched it I was with a group of friends and we had a really great time. I found the movie funny and loved the overall experience of that amazing evening, making it my favorite movie.
📌 Why did you move to Barcelona all the way from California? And how do you feel as a part of the Stuart family?
Firstly, I love Barcelona and being here means that I am closer to my family who live in Italy. I miss California a lot actually and am occasionally homesick, but because I enjoy living in Barcelona so much, that goes away pretty quickly! What is more, Stuart offered me an amazing opportunity to make a big impact by doing something that I love. At Stuart I feel really great and am excited by my new job! First and foremost the people here are amazing: everyone is friendly and dedicated, I am convinced that the people at Stuart are the best in the tech and logistics industry — they are creative and they see things from a fresh perspective, using this as an opportunity to create new possibilities. Moreover, it is more than just a job : you know you’re in the right place when at lunchtime you all sit around a long wooden table and eat and laugh together! The Stuart business model is very appealing to me, as we have direct impact on our customers and drivers. It’s important for me to have a direct line of sight between technology and people and to see our solutions making people’s lives better and easier.
📌 What is your current role and that of your team?
Above all else, I am a Servant Leader. My main goal is to serve and bring value to the company. As the Head of Agile I do this by having two main activities on my team. First of all, Tactics — i.e., ensuring the successful delivery of our most important initiatives. Secondly, Strategy — driving the Agile Culture at Stuart with an eye for continuous improvements. I have several specific tasks in my role. The first one is to be involved in our new Mission Minded Development Methodology. This is a system that we use to define what our product and engineering teams will be working on during their sprints. The first week of each mission is known as the “shaping” week: the team define the problem to be solved and the risks of not taking care of it. Once the team decide what their structure is going to be, then my team will help out by facilitating the Scrum/Kanban ceremonies. I find that some Agile ceremonies are useful in Scrum and Kanban, for example: backlog grooming (to prioritise and understand the work to be done), daily standups (to improve collaboration, remove impediments, make quick decisions and set stakeholder expectations) and retrospectives (as a part of inspect and adapt cycle of Agile to promote continuous improvement).
The second task is running retrospectives for continuous improvement, and the third piece is training the organisation to help them adopt the Agile Mindset. The agile mindset is best described as the adoption of the 4 values of Agile: (1) individuals and interactions over processes and tools, (2) working software over comprehensive documentation, (3) customer collaboration over contract negotiation and (4) responding to change over following a plan. A good book that I would like to recommend to everyone is “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. It is a great introductory book focused on business outcomes. The best part? That you don’t need to know a lot about Agile to get something out of it!
For instance, I am a team of one so I am hiring new Stuwies to join my ranks. As I grow the team I am looking for people who are enthusiastic and passionate about team facilitation, coaching, training and mentoring others, as well as learning new and exciting ways to be lean and agile. The challenge is to find someone who can do both: the tactical and the strategic. It took me many years to develop both skills sets, but they are both vital to be able to be impactful in this role. From a hiring standpoint, I need someone who can facilitate daily meetings , helping teams to achieve continuous improvements and remove obstacles. Because each team uses its own methodologies and have different ways of working, the facilitator needs to be flexible and have the strategic eye to look across the teams and find the gaps where improvements in methodology can be made.
It’s important for me to have a direct line of sight between technology and people and to see our solutions making people’s lives better and easier.
📌 What are some of the biggest challenges you see ahead of you at Stuart?
Stuart is growing quickly, and the tech element is central to that growth. The main challenge will be in how we scale our processes and stay ahead of our growth I envision us as surfers riding a wave towards the beach. Our first task is to ensure that everyone across the organisation has the tools and skills to successfully ride that wave. The second task is to ensure our processes work for us, not the other way around, and that these are scalable. Our third task is to make the Agile Mindset a reflex in the company, so that we cannot imagine being any other way! One of the challenges is to work with our remote teams,. t Although the fact that we have remote teammates is a great advantage for the company, there are challenges to keep team collaboration and team dynamics on a high level. Whilst we encourage everyone have maximum flexibility and work from home, remotely or from whichever Stuart office, we believe that we should get everyone together for our“shaping week” — which is what we call the first week in our mission minded set up -. In this occasion we meet in the same location in one of our four offices and kick off our missions. Keeping this balance is the best way to stay ahead of the challenges and is beneficial for everybody!
📌 What methodology do you use?
I love this question because the truth is I don’t use any methodology exclusively. If you think of Agile as a framework or a mindset that tells you what you should be doing, then the methodology informs and shapes how you should be achieving your goals. I am partial to Scrum and Kanban because of their proven track record. However, I have also worked in Test Driven Development and Lean Software Development, but let’s be honest, these are just fancy terms if they don’t bring any value and don’t work for the organisation. I prefer to pick the methodology that works best for the particular team and use case and I often take the best bits from different approaches and mix them together. That is what being Agile means to me. The methodology needs to work for the team, not the other way around!
📌 What value and influence will your team bring? What is your long-term vision for the company’s Agile culture?
I have a lot of experience with continuous improvement and managing large teams and initiatives. In my previous company I was the Director of Platform Integration and we were successful due to our Agile Mindset and use of Agile Methodologies. The first thing I will focus on is enabling the team to be successful and do it’s best work. The second thing I want to do is to focus on strategic training and coaching efforts to enhance existing skills and bring new ones into the company. My goal is to have an impact on the entire organisation, both in the way in which we work and on individual skills I want Agile to be so ingrained in our culture that it becomes a natural part of who we are. I love it when teams try something new and then come to me later and say “look what we just did!”. I have a natural curiosity and thirst to learn new things.
📌 What do you like to do on your free time?
I love to spend time with my dog (American Staffordshire Terrier) and my husband (please don’t tell him I listed my dog first). I am a bit of a history nerd which makes Barcelona the perfect place for me. The first thing I did when I moved into my new flat was to google the history of the 13th century church across the street. Tell me an interesting fact that I don’t know and let’s geek out on it. If I can give you one travel tip to have a good time and visit something interesting in Barcelona — go to Montjuic because it has amazing series of gardens. The other place that I can really recommend you is Monestir Pedralbes build by Reina Elisenda (https://monestirpedralbes.barcelona) — it is a magical but relatively unknown place. I love exploring Barcelona!
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