Stacey Taurah, Senior Agile Delivery Lead @ Nimble Approach.
Joined December 2021
How did you get into your current role?
My current role at Nimble is based on relationships formed over 6 years ago. After returning from Maternity leave to my previous role, I really struggled to connect with the people I worked with and the changes that had happened in the business while I was off. After some reflection I felt I had learnt all I could and needed a fresh challenge not just professionally but personally.
The first company that came to mind was Nimble. I had worked with Chris and Raj in the past and I’d never forgotten their energy and the desire to create a company focusing on Agility/culture and excellence, I had no doubt they’d succeed. After a few chats with them, I was determined to make Nimble my new home. It felt like a perfect match for me, and luckily so did Nimble.
How did you end up working in tech?
It was an unusual path I would say….
When I left school to go to university I had passions for helping people, science and numbers. I did a degree in forensic science, where the practice of using facts in crime could help people. After my 3 year degree I got a job in a food testing facility, looking at micro- organisms in food and ensuring they were safe for consumption.
This didn’t tick enough boxes for me, so I secured a job as a forensic DNA analyst where I worked as a DNA expert profiling DNA found at crime scenes for around 6/7 years.
In this time a few projects came up that required us to change our reporting systems. When changes were needed I became a point person on ensuring these changes would not affect our accreditations and the rest of the system remained function at the highly stringent level needed in criminal justice.
I didn’t know that testing was a role, I just assumed people made sure they didn’t break things, but when I found out it was, I had to jump ship, I had a direct opportunity to help people and the systems they were using to report this extremely valuable information
I moved to a company as a manual tester – and I arrived in the tech world. It was a baptism of fire, and even though I no longer use my degree exactly, I still use all the skills I learnt. I’m methodical, accurate, driven by fact and focus on the goal and the value it brings.
What do you enjoy most about working at Nimble?
There’s a few things I could go on for hours about that I love! So I’ll pick my top three.
Firstly, the culture is exactly what I was looking for. To work for a company where you’re treated like an adult and trusted to make the right choices is right up my street and aligned with my personal values. There’s no micro management, everyone is treated as an individual and an equal. As a business, yes there’s a structure but hierarchy is not a thing here, the input of a new junior member is just as valued as a senior leader.
Secondly, even though we all mainly work from home, it’s great to feel part of a team. You know they have your back and you have theirs. I was struggling with the WFH aspect as I’m a person who needs connection, but because Nimble focuses on people when hiring, not just application of skill or hitting a ‘bums on seats’ vanity metrics, they take the time to hire the right people this allows these great connections in teams.
And Finally, the Socials…. What can I say, they’re fun, well planned and just a barrel of laughs. Sometimes with work events it can be like pulling teeth, knowone really wants to be there, dreading the talk of work and feeling you can’t relax because it’s ‘a work thing’.
It could not be further from the truth, every social I’ve been to it feels like I’m out with my mates, and if we talk about work it’s because we’re passionate about it, not because there isn’t anything else to talk about. I must say personally my favourite was the awards night I went to, it was my first ever ‘Mum night away’. I was super nervous but the gang was amazing and it was a blast – we didn’t win, but it felt like we did.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My role is the chameleon of roles, my title is Senior Agile Delivery Lead and in the consultancy world this means…. Regardless of title, add value where it’s needed.
Most days start with a check on slack both in the team and Client space, make sure nothing is on fire and the day I anticipated/ planned doesn’t need re-arranging. If something needs to change I like to give as much notice as possible.
We then have our stand up, which is a key feedback loop that sets up the day. We talk about the work in priority order, making sure everyone is supported and knows what the plan is today. I also share any client info, design info or planning/refinement info that may interest the team, or may need input from them. After stand-ups I move on with diving into the backlog and making sure the stories have the info needed to set the team up for success, if anything is missing or I have any questions I’ll need to find the right people to get answers or decisions.
I enjoy data and metrics, and think this builds a good picture for discussion. So extracting these from the clients is always a fun part of the day. In the current project this is difficult so we’re operating on minimal metrics, but again this will drive a conversation and possibly teaching session with the client on better tooling and the value it will give them.
I’ll spend some time looking at the commercial aspect of the project. Updating, profiling and mapping out scenarios to best use the budget based on the team and the deliverables. Also with the commercials and reporting I like to reflect to ensure clarity and ease of communication, this may impact how a report looks or the content.
I do like to add my value to Nimble too, so I may be preparing a session to teach/mentor other Nimblers around Agility/Scrum mastery/Delivery etc etc. Sorting out the next ‘Women In Nimble’ session or even attending a ‘Lunch and Learn’.
Towards the end of each day I look at the rest of the week and ensure all the info for any sessions is ready/prepped. Do I need to move anything, do I need to block any time out for content creation etc, tick off any completed bigger tasks on my physical whiteboard.
Then, one final check of emails and slack, then off I go to pick up my little Hope!
What excites you the most about the work?
Making a difference, on whatever level that is. It could be just making someone’s day a bit easier by being supportive, securing a contract or even just teaching something that I’m passionate about and getting feedback. What is brilliant about being in Nimble is the trust and opportunity to do all of these things.
Is there any work you are particularly proud of?
Proud to me is a very strange word, it’s almost like if you’re not proud of something or a moment then it was a waste or not as valuable, but I’m very conscious of what and why I spend my time on things. Even if something turns out not as expected and I didn’t reach my end goal, I’d still be proud as I would have learnt.
So long and short is I’m proud of…..me!
It’s taken me 36 years, numerous companies and roles, many many ups and downs both personally and professionally. but, Yes, the work I’m most proud of is the work on myself.
Have you learned anything new since you started?
- Everyday is a school day, if we’re not learning what are we doing!?…
- SOWs (Statement of Works)
- Opinions on delivery and what it is
- Being a contractor
- Diversity and inclusion and how it manifests in tech
- How to adapt on the fly
- How to use a Mac(!)
- Endless amounts of Dad jokes
- How to have confidence in myself
What do you enjoy outside of work?
I’m obsessed with my little girl Hope – she is just a legend, I love learning about the psychological impact parenting has on children. Which, to be honest, I use a lot with adults too. I LOVE food and cooking, come check out my insta @chefproudlock. I recently learnt how to make a traditional Mauritian rougaille so my husband is happy. I enjoy some nice quiet walks with just me and my dog – take in some of nature and bask in the happiness of a dog’s life, and I enjoy the good old picture box, I’m actually a ‘qualified’ TV doctor with the amount I have learnt from medical shows, it’s the scientist in me, it can’t be helped.
Any top tips for people starting out in a role like yours?
Focus on soft skills – Reflection I feel is key for a role like mine, if you’re not self aware and don’t want to be, then this is maybe not a role for you.
This also includes being brave when things are wrong or going wrong, you have to be willing to be vulnerable. Many roles in the tech world rely on us and our role and skills as a mechanism for learning, sharing, communication, conflict resolution and much much more. Ego cannot be a thing (don’t mistake this for pride, pride is so important). You need to be able to lead by example and be honest to the truth.
On the technical side – Go to meetups, educate yourself on why Agile and why it is valuable. Look at frameworks but don’t be consumed by them, understand metrics and how to tell an accurate story using them, and finally get stuck in!
What was your dream job when you were at School?
This changed a number of times, my dream job started as a Vet (obviously), then moved into sports rehabilitation and physiotherapy and the final dream was to be a Forensic pathologist.
What do you love about working in Tech?
That everyday is different and there are endless things to learn, the possibilities are infinite. And what you do today may solve or change the future in ways you cannot even imagine right now.
What’s your favourite thing about working at Nimble?
Simple – The people.
What’s your favourite piece of technology?
The Oculus Rift VR, we have one at home and we don’t use it as much as we should but it is super fun. I also do love my soda stream but not sure if that counts as tech – it is electronic!
What technology are you looking forward to in the future?
I’m super curious about anything that can reduce the impact we have on the planet. It would be great to see the leaders of the world put the world before power and money, and I do think technology could be used in this area, not sure how… I’ll get back to you when I’ve solved it.