Say Insurance

Worked On

June 2015 to Present

How I got it done

Angular Craft Git JavaScript jQuery PHP Scrum Twig Vagrant

This project was an initiative to launch a new, web-based subsidiary of a larger insurance company.

The company used this initiative to experiment with new technologies and workflow methodologies. Among these new technologies and methodologies are:

New to me:

  • PHPUnit
  • Jasmine unit testing framework

New to the company:

  • Linux
  • MySQL
  • PHP

New to everyone involved:

  • Agile, specifically Scrum
  • Craft CMS
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Angular

As a result of these experiments, I have grown as a developer and a coworker in leaps and bounds. Most notably, I discovered agile methodologies. Upon discovering Scrum, I quickly began to read everything I could find on agile and Scrum. I went to Agile Dev West and Agile Gravy, became a Certified Scrum Product Owner and Certified ScrumMaster® through Scrum Alliance, and joined a local agile users' group. I quickly began to advise my team on how to better apply these methodologies, and to the organization at large through feedback to the agile coaches guiding the organizational agile transformation. 

After about a year with the organization, our team's Scrum Master moved to another position within the company. My team, our existing Scrum Master, and our management recognized the work that I had been doing and asked me to take over as the new Scrum Master for the team. I took a data-driven approach to Scrum Mastering. I spent my first few sprints as Scrum Master getting comfortable in my new role, meanwhile gathering data that I believed would highlight areas where our team could improve. Upon examining the data, I found several areas of improvement and presented those options to the team. Our team recognized the value in the data and several improvements resulted. 

Furthermore, I relentlessly focused on removing impediments to the team. One of our largest impediments was an entrenched waterfall culture. This meant that some of my primary roles were those of an educator and evangelist regarding agile principles. Working with other Scrum Masters in the organization, we slowly pushed the organization to better work with the teams that have chosen to adopt agile methodologies.

From a technical perspective, I grew in several ways. Though the site utilized the Craft CMS to a degree, much of the initial development we were doing did not utilize the CMS. The lion's share of the initial work involved building a custom plugin for generating insurance quotes via calls to APIs built by other teams within the organization. This work afforded me the opportunity to use PHP in ways that I had not known it was capable, specifically using it as a middle layer between an Angular front end and the APIs.