Playground and ABC's

Resilience and Transformative Lessons at the SVPM Village Playground

Learning through the experience of doing, adapting, and reflecting enables continuous improvement and resilience.  Sounds easy yet how to do it?  How does one get practical hands-on experience in a safe environment?  How does one take all the knowledge gained through a multitude of academic training, certifications, meetups, frameworks, and events and apply it creatively and pragmatically to produce a worthwhile product that is meaningful?  

Enter Silicon Valley Project Management (SVPM), which advocates a mindset shift that aligns to the principles of Lean and Agile while utilizing a hybrid of approaches and tools.  The SVPM Scrum team is the first program offering from the new non-profit organization, Agile Scaled-Value Project and Program Management (ASVPM).

SVPM combines the key concepts of adapting to a Lean Agile mindset by applying the models often found in Experiential learning and Design Thinking by leveraging a hybrid of frameworks.  It produces a platform to build a community of Lean Agile practitioners that share best practices.  It is a meeting place to collaborate globally and practice collective leadership while producing a product.  Within this context it may be positioned as an open platform for anyone that works on projects or programs. These three words quickly summarize the benefits I have gained from volunteering with SVPM: Village. Playground. Transformative.

It is a village of mentors, allies, and thought partners. It helps to develop the skills of next generation leaders and enables those shifting direction to find clarity.  The SVPM Slack channel has a town plaza feel to it as it is where people congregate to explore ideas, exchange info, give sprint updates, and create space to uplift others and move forward together.  SVPM is the essence of a learning organization that truly values humans first.   It strives to live up to the principles of Lean and Agile by eliminating waste and always valuing people and interactions.

In this collaborative circle it sparks your curiosity as it expands your network and can lead you to discover what truly excites you and new ways of working. It happened for me from when Rohini nudged me to reconnect despite the pandemic to my chats with Agnita and Dianne while discovering our shared passion for digital literacy.  When the sprint set sail there was an energy of collaboration, building on ideas, and learning together.  It was refreshing!  As captains of the ship, David and Donald are always smiling and sharing key insights and guidance to propel the teams forward, individually and collectively, while creating an impact with meaning and purpose.  

It is a playground of collaboration and collective leadership.  Developers use a sandbox to test software and this SVPM playground includes the sandbox.  It is a learning platform for all players that work on a project or program.  As a holistic learning and supportive environment, it uplifts you to work together, solve problems, analyze systems, and find breakthroughs to push to the next level. It has a vibe similar to participating in Toastmasters or giving a Tedx talk since it is a learning platform and safe place to launch your ideas, try something out, and just do it!

“Stretch goals” is the common term used In many workplaces.  On a SVPM Scrum team it is called “try on a new hat” or “push the boundaries” as you test the waters to connect academia to real life.  It is similar to the approach I took with my kids when our elementary school was closed.  I purposefully chose a new school with an environment that helped them develop skills to think out of the box and celebrated learning, exploration, and collaboration.  In today’s world it is especially important to practice critical thinking skills, be curious, explore uncomfortable ideas, and always practice civility, inclusion, and debate with an open mind.  You may not know the other person’s story, fears or trauma and yet it is possible to shift mindsets, untangle views, and build things together when the approach is with an open mind, open eyes, and open heart.

It is an experience to practice being mindful whilst transforming inward and outward. It starts first with the mindset as it is the foundation. SVPM is a place where next generation leaders can practice new skills as a scrum master or building a wireframe.  Seasoned project leaders might try out a new role, mentor a future leader, or experience a project from a different seat or workstream.  It enriches our life experience in the workplace and in our communities.  Whatever path is taken there is learning waiting to happen and transform your thoughts and interactions.

SVPM breaks down barriers and opens new pathways. One morning I was discussing an idea with Ana who is located halfway around the world from me.  As we discussed an issue about methods and user outcomes it evolved into an active discussion.  The conversation lit a fire within each of us as we exchanged ideas and insights to clarify our learning objectives and the approach used to define user stories and use cases. Our collaboration evolved into working together in the next sprint on a shared task to measure volunteer experience.  By creating space for diverse views and applications in the workplace we built an understanding of complex issues and incremental change that is beneficial for both SVPM and our own learning objectives.  As a bonus, it creates new relationships and I hope to connect with Ana in person when I travel to Europe in 2022 for a cousin’s wedding. 

As with everything in life, the experience of working on a SVPM Scrum team is what you want it to be.  It has the potential to be life-changing as it connects training and theories to practical life application. It is important to be aware of your learning style to know if it will be right for you. Most important is to come in with an open mind to learn and explore.  It can help you pivot from job or compassion burnout and find new meaning in your work and purpose.   If you come with a closed mind, then the choice is to allow yourself to grow or to remain stuck.  For myself, I gained clarity with new tools, expanded my network, and reignited the spark of fun and creativity with teamwork and resilience!

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2 thoughts on “Resilience and Transformative Lessons at the SVPM Village Playground”

  1. User Avatar

    Great post! Thank you for this post, Nancy Moreno. This is an appropriate way to portray SVPM as a playground where Resilience and Transformation have successfully been adopted into the agile project management environment. At SVPM, challenging situations within project teams are used as springboards for the next iterations of ourselves and the organization as a whole. In fact, from my experience here at SVPM, Transformation is all about using our challenges, stresses and failures to catapult us forward in a collaborative manner, leading to faster delivery of high-quality business value.

  2. User Avatar
    Dianne McGaunn

    This is such a wonderful way to describe the experience of collaborating at SVPM: it is indeed a safe space, a playground, in which we can truly innovate, fail, and learn through reflection and continual improvement. A key component to the success of SVPM is the psychological safety that we consciously build with each interaction. This is truly a gift and it creates a rich, fertile ground for learning and growth to blossom. Leaders in all organizations would do well to uphold psychological safety as a priority to support growth and transformation for all. I have always known this to be true but it has been deepened for me through my experience here.

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