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InfoQ Homepage News New Global VP of Marketing for Scrum Alliance

New Global VP of Marketing for Scrum Alliance


The Scrum Alliance has announced Renata L. Lerch as its new global vice president of marketing:

"As Scrum Alliance continues to grow and develop its global presence, Renata brings valuable experience in both global marketing and member-driven organizations," said Lisa Hershman, interim CEO of Scrum Alliance. "She is already passionate about our vision of transforming the world of work. I know she will hit the ground running and will play a critical role in our global expansion and in our market development plan in the future."

InfoQ interviewed Renata Lerch about what Scrum has to offer to teams and organizations and how that helps them to improve the way that they are doing their work, upcoming changes or additions to the Scrum framework, and her ideas for reaching out to Scrum and agile communities all around the world.

InfoQ: Would you briefly introduce yourself to the InfoQ readers?

Renata Lerch: Absolutely! I recently joined the Scrum Alliance team in Denver, Colorado, as the Global Vice President of Marketing and Communications. Before coming to SAI, I worked internationally in Fortune 500, advertising agency and not-for-profit environments. For more than 20 years I’ve managed global marketing and market development teams in a wide variety of organizations, and I’ve had the chance to work in frameworks such as Lean, Baldridge, and Six Sigma. For me, this variety fuels both an understanding of and appreciation for agile frameworks like Scrum.

At Scrum Alliance, I look forward to pulling from these experiences and initiating an even more global reach. Scrum Alliance serves leading innovators in the global workplaces – our trainers and coaches’ community. We want to expand on these connections and grow the Scrum Alliance voice of expertise in agility. Things like global thought leadership will be a key component to achieving our goals for community connection around the world.

InfoQ: What does Scrum have to offer to teams and organizations?

Lerch: Scrum offers a framework to help teams approach work in a way that fosters continuous inspection and adaption to complex knowledge. The repeating cycle of sprints provides a frequent opportunity for teams to grow and evolve both themselves and the product increment.

We’ve seen two areas of notable Scrum growth demonstrated at our Global Gatherings and in the State of Scrum Survey. The first is big-picture growth, which is an expansion of agile to a wider range of industries. Second is at the organizational level. Scrum and agile aren’t only expanding to the IT department of various industries – they are expanding to other departments within the organization as well.

Scrum Alliance will continue to provide resources for individuals and teams, but we are quickly seeing the need for resources and training that help ease and stimulate Scrum and agile adoption for entire organizations. Our Certified Agile Leadership program (CAL) program, which includes introductory education (CAL I), as well as an advanced path of validated learning and practice (CAL II) for leaders leading an Agile transformation. The program is designed for anyone leading an Agile transformation, regardless of this experience with Scrum or Agile in general.

In the marketing department, we hope to make programs like CAL more widely known offerings from Scrum Alliance.

InfoQ: How can that help them to improve the way that they are doing their work?

Lerch: Modern Scrum and agile use is no longer clear-cut. Scrum Alliance recognizes our community is facing a diverse and rocky terrain in practice. In turn, we are creating the resources, training, and certifications needed most by the trainers and coaches at the forefront of change in the field.

The 21st century is shaping up to be diverse and disruptive, and it is our goal to provide the materials, support and training our community needs to make their workplaces effective, impactful and sustainable. There’s a reason we refer to agile as a mindset. Organizations and project managers across the board have one goal: to deliver the highest value. However, the means to that end differ organization to organization, department to department, even team to team. The Scrum framework equips teams and individuals with the tailored tools needed to facilitate an agile workplace culture and allow companies to truly thrive.

One great example of this tailoring is Scrum for Hardware (Scrum4HW). Hubert Smits, who is pioneering Scrum4HW by bringing Scrum principles and practices to the manufacturing industry, often notes, "[With Scrum,] we can do twice the product in half the time." It’s this kind of innovative Scrum use that we look forward to continuing to foster and encourage in our community.

InfoQ: Are there any changes or additions upcoming for the Scrum framework?

Lerch: Definitely. The CAL programs I mentioned are perfect examples of upgrades to the Scrum framework that address the need for tailored tools for organizations taking agility to the next level. At our recent Global Gathering in Singapore, featured sessions discussed the use of agile in unexpected places ranging from the U.S. federal government to restaurant kitchens.

We look forward to proactively addressing these unique needs and supporting agile use in a diverse set of fields, industries, and departments. Part of that initiative will certainly require engaging new certifications and programs to provide the necessary tools for all agile uses. One of these we’re very excited to launch is a progressive model for Certified Scrum Professional (CSP), which will create a path to this robust certification that’s blended and customizable. Applications for the Path to CSP Review Team are currently open – stay turned for the official program launch!

InfoQ: What are your ideas for reaching out to Scrum and agile communities all around the world?

Lerch: Scrum Alliance already is a connected global community! However, I am excited to further link together Scrum and agile trainers, coaches, organizations, individuals and visionaries by promoting Scrum framework to international markets. By strengthening our global user groups and increasing accessibility to other markets and cultures -- even with small adjustments like increasing the number of translations -- can have a big impact in both the short and long term. We’ll rely on our global communities to help bring our international initiatives to fruition and will be announcing new volunteer opportunities through our website very soon.

One thing you can expect is a boost in content related to both understanding and predicting the future of agile and Scrum. Our community is full of thought leaders on a wide range of issues related to agile and Scrum, and we want to amplify those voices so members of our community can learn from each other on an international scale.

For example, we recently had the opportunity to speak with John Miller, a certified Scrum coach and trainer, and Principal Krissyn Sumare about how Scrum and agile transformed Arizona’s HOPE High School on an operational and, ultimately, cultural, level. Our community is composed of hundreds of stories like these. We believe telling them can be as empowering as the certification itself, because it allows interested individuals the freedom to think of agile on a limitless scale.

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