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InfoQ Homepage Podcasts Deema Dajani & Shannon Mason on the Women in Agile Community and Supporting Women in Technology

Deema Dajani & Shannon Mason on the Women in Agile Community and Supporting Women in Technology

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In this podcast recorded at the Agile 2018 conference Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Deema Dajani (Advisor Transformation Consulting) & Shannon Mason (VP Product Management, Agile Central) of CA Technologies about the Women in Agile organisation, their own experiences as women in the technology industry and ways to support and increase diversity in organisations.

Key Takeaways

  • Women in Agile is an incorporated not for profit focused on supporting, enabling an empowering women and allies in the agile community
  • The unconscious bias that comes in to so many aspects of work, particularly as it impacts recruitment
  • There is data which shows that the more diverse a team is, the better the solutions they come up with are
  • The need to coach and support women candidates for promotions and new roles to encourage them to overcome their own self-evaluation, which is often more judgemental than it should be
  • There are pools of qualified people with diverse backgrounds not just a few isolated individuals – helping ensure that the ratios in our organizations match the ratios in society

Show Notes

  • 00:25 Introductions
  • 00:52 The Women in Agile community and events
  • 01:30 Women in Agile has officially incorporated as a not-for-profit organization
  • 01:44 What Women in Agile is and what they do
  • 02:22 Programs that Women in Agile is running – seeking new voices, helping new women speakers through mentoring and guidance
  • 02:55 Conference ally-ship – influencing conferences to adopt codes of conduct and behaviors that bring diversity
  • 03:27 Launching local Women in Agile communities in cities all around the world
  • 04:20 How the mentorship program is helping women who have not spoken at conferences get their talks prepared and submitted
  • 05:05 The unconscious bias training that everyone in Agile Central at CA Technologies has been through and the realizations that came out about bias in job posting language
  • 06:40 Training people to remove biases during the interview process
  • 07:01 There is data which shows that the more diverse a team is, the better the solutions they come up with are
  • 07:34 Exploring how to lend privilege and support underrepresented groups
  • 08:20 Echoing as a way to ensure a voice is heard that otherwise might be overlooked
  • 09:02 “I heard you” as an indicator of support
  • 10:05 Aim to be the inspiration and empower women to step up
  • 10:25 Coaching and supporting women candidates to encourage them to overcome their own self-evaluation, which is often more judgemental than it should be
  • 11:21 Being fully transparent about pay information to ensure inequalities are removed
  • 12:02 The changes in the Rally Central product since the product team has been led by a woman
  • 12:14 Shannon’s own story and experiences as a woman in technology
  • 13:52 Shannon’s leadership approach – when we do a good job, we do the job, when I mess up, I mess up
  • 14:42 How Shannon’s background and approach have impacted the design decisions being made in the Agile Central product
  • 15:18 How women are encouraged and expected to consider all the ways things could go wrong, and how this can be an asset to product design
  • 16:46 Approaches to ensure that inclusion is not tokenism – small steps
  • 17:32 The board of Women in Agile and the activities the board is undertaking
  • 17:42 Advice and conversations that conference organisers who should be aware of
  • 18:35 Ensuring that there are pools of qualified people with diverse backgrounds not just a few isolated individuals – helping ensure that the ratios in our organisations match the ratios in society
  • 19:40 When you see things more often it becomes less odd and less of a token
  • 20:13 Have an organisation that reflects the ratios of society at large

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