APLM Strategic Alliance

My first professional network in the US was SVPM!

I learned from interviewing for a consultant position in San Francisco, that the Agile Framework/Scrum methodology was an important skill to have. While I was proficient in Lean Six Sigma and understood the Agile framework well, I was eager to get some hands-on experience in the Agile Framework/Scrum methodology to enhance my professional experience. I wondered how I could get this experience when I was not working here. When I discussed this with my friend, she had a solution for me! 

My friend was already volunteering with SVPM then. She told me great things about her experience as a volunteer at SVPM and about some of the awesome projects she worked on during that stint. She immediately connected me to Donald Stringari who is one of the Product owners of the Silicon Valley Project Management website. Donald and I immediately spoke and he got me on board as a volunteer for the SVPM Scrum team and I started off in the next Sprint. So far, I have completed two sprints and I am currently on my third. It has been a fabulous journey so far. 


Before joining, Donald took me through the history of SVPM, where he mentioned that it was the first-ever blogging website created by a few Project Managers of UCSC Silicon Valley extension, where Project Management professionals could share their experiences and thoughts about Project Management. Later, David Bakhtnia inherited this website and runs a program where volunteers are welcome to work on the website using Agile/Scrum methodologies. Such a win-win situation I thought! The reality is that there is so much emphasis on the volunteers to learn the Agile Framework/Scrum methodology rather than running against a deadline to renew the website. I really found this to be a profound way of enabling volunteers and aspiring PMs to learn! The team is always helpful and teaches each other to learn and grow!

What have I learned so far?

The team uses Slack for communication, Trello for keeping track of backlog items and WordPress for website content management. All our meetings happen over Zoom. A few sprints into this volunteer program you will also be fluent with the Agile Framework and Scrum methodology because the language spoken here is Agile !

So what are you waiting for?

If you are a student, professional or anyone who wants to be a part of a professional network that focuses on Project Management using Agile and Scrum, you have landed on the right page! This is also a community for you to build your network! If you wish to be a volunteer, simply fill out this form. All the best!


4 thoughts on “My first professional network in the US was SVPM!”

  1. User Avatar

    Riya, excellent description of the Silicon Valley Project Management (SVPM) volunteer opportunity. I learned about the program through Melinda Wright. She and I met on a LinkedIn networking call. She directed me to the web site where I applied and was contacted by Donald Stringari November 18, 2020. Like you, Donald gave me the history of how he and David Bakhtnia launched this program using the University of California, Santa Cruz web site. Donald invited me to join the program, I quickly accepted. Then, to my surprise, he also invited me to participate in my first Scrum ceremony, the November 19, 2020 Design and Development Team Sprint Planning Meeting for Sprint 11. I am officially assigned to my first three SVPM Sprint Backlog items!

    Why did I join this team? I have led Agile teams where we followed the SCRUM Framework. I have contributed to Enterprise Programs where we used the Scaled Agile Framework. I am PMI PMP and SAFe Agilist certified, and I have many hours of corporate Agile training. But, as a leader of self organizing teams, I don’t have many hours of hands on Scrum experience. The SVPM program’s immersion approach gives me the hands on experience I need to be confident with the SCRUM Ceremonies as a team participant. This knowledge allows me to be a better servant leader for my teams.

  2. User Avatar

    Hi Riya,
    I just started my first sprint ( sprint 11) , and meeting with the SVPM team, and I have to say I was bit lost for a moment there, but everyone is open for explanations and discussions, I feel so welcomed in the group.
    It is great that even after having knowledge in Lean Six Sigma and Agile, you did not stop there and continued to learn and improve your self in the area of Agile/Scrum. I applaud you.
    I found out about SVPM by chance, by google-ing the web about volunteering opportunities in the area of Product owner/Product Management, and after many failed searches I enrolled with SVPM as a volunteer.

    I recommend to anyone SVPM volunteering position to anyone looking to start with Agile and scrum.
    I am so excited, and can’t wait for the following Scrum events. Lets make something great together.

  3. User Avatar

    That’s great Christopher! Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts 🙂 This will surely help future volunteers.

  4. User Avatar

    Like yourself, I heard wonderful things about being a volunteer with this group.

    After receiving my CSM only a month ago, this is my first time diving deep into properly applying the scrum framework. Having no real experience, I had to jump right into the backlog refinement phase, as everyone was preparing the PBIs for the upcoming Sprint. That was no problem as they found a place for me right away. No questions are silly ones because that’s what everyone is here for. To learn. I’m enjoying the collaboration and networking with a really kind group of people I’ve never met before.

    I agree with you. Picking up new skills along with more coaching and development is what I’m looking forward to being on this team.

    Thanks for sharing your experience Riya!

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