So, you’re probably wondering: how does this all connect with now being a Scrum Master? Well, early in my career I found myself wanting to explore the IT field. I went back to school and started working in support, FTP coding, and all that. However, as I stepped into roles, I didn't like the way I was being managed. This was in-line with my past experiences from the Coast Guard, where in order to move up in rank you had to test well, and in order to test well you had to have a good manager. In talking to a lot of my friends about this, their consistent response was: “Well, Cory, why don’t you get into project management where great management is what you do?” With this encouragement, I ended up back in school, again, and learned all about project management and Scrum.
As I was making the change, I couldn’t stop thinking about one of my own project managers from a few years prior — Jeffrey. He’s my main inspiration. Jeffrey made sure that people had what they needed. He also spotted my willingness to jump into a lead role. Because of this, Jeffrey would take time out of his day to sit down with me and just coach me through things. Even though he’s now retired, I still talk to him almost every week. I learn so much from him every time we have a chance to connect.
It’s actually funny to look back and see how the relationships I’ve made throughout my life have impacted my professional career. It was my friends who prompted me to consider project management at first. Also, in an interview for a role the interviewer actually stopped his questioning and brought attention to the Dungeon & Dragon minis that were displayed behind me. In my free time I dungeon master a lot of Dungeons & Dragons — I have been since I was 14 years old. I run games for people located across the world from me, and in this interview the interviewer spent over half of our time asking questions about my style as a dungeon master, how I run games, and how I make it all work. My answers were just what he was looking for: an individual who can connect people from different cultures and timezones, schedule them to meet at one time, facilitate them coming together, and align them to do something. It was then when I realized that I had been a Scrum Master my whole life.
Also, in college I took a lot of philosophy and psychology courses, and actually thought I’d be a psychologist when I grew up. I find that I bring a lot of that into how I project manage. I think that’s the best thing about being a Scrum Master: getting to figure out what makes people happy.