Meet Sunny Bradshaw, the Terminus Scrum Master
As the Terminus Scrum Master, Sunny Bradshaw is the Protector of the Realm — an apt Game of Thrones reference coming from a self-proclaimed binge watcher.
Sunny facilitates the software development at Terminus using the scrum framework. According to the Scrum Alliance, “Scrum is an agile framework for completing complex projects” and improving teamwork, communications, and speed. They’ve even created this handy flowchart to explain how it works:
So as wacky as it may sound to someone who isn’t familiar with software development, Scrum Master is a real job title — and a very important one at that.
Still a little confused? I asked Sunny to explain her job in the simplest way possible. “What I tell my niece and nephew is that I’m the person that makes sure others can do their jobs the best,” she says. “I’m responsible for making sure that we are using the scrum framework correctly, that we are continually improving, and that if the developers have any roadblocks or problems, I get them resolved so they can continue to work and deliver.”
In this installation of our Day in the Life of a Terminator blog series, we’ll get an inside look at Sunny’s daily work routine and learn more about her and her position as scrum master.
First, let’s learn some fun facts about Sunny Bradshaw.
What was the first job you ever got paid for?
My family has always been entrepreneurs. My mom opened up a business when I was about eight, so the first job I got paid for was working at her beauty supply store when I was ten. I got paid a dollar an hour.
What are your hobbies?
I like to paint and knit, and I love cooking. I make a ton of Korean food, so when I cook other types of food, I always add some Korean spices and flair.
My husband is a violinist, so I get to attend some amazing concerts and performances. I also love spending time with my 13-year-old fur baby, Sunshine. Why yes, it’s Sunny and Sunshine.
What is your dream job?
If money wasn’t a factor, all I would do is just do different types of volunteering activities. I use Hands on Atlanta, which is an organization that has tons of volunteer opportunities on a calendar, so you can see what kind of volunteering events are coming up.
A Day in the Life of the Terminus Scrum Master
What’s it like to work as the Terminus scrum master? Although Sunny’s job changes from day to day — sometimes involving organizing a ping pong tournament or being a moderator at a marketing conference — read on as she takes us through a typical day in her life.
9 – 9:40 a.m. — I get to work, say good morning to my team, check my messages, and get organized for the day. Then I mosey on over to the kitchen for some breakfast. I usually bring my own overnight oats, but on days I don’t prep there’s no need to worry as we have oatmeal, fruit, and tons of snacks in the office.There’s also a Starbucks and a Chick-Fil-A in our building.
9:40 – 10 a.m. — Every other week I facilitate a “How Terminus Works” presentation to a new hire orientation class. On the off weeks I’ll check-in with Jamaal Hutchinson, our QA engineer, to see how testing is going or follow-up with Seth Floyd, our dev ops engineer, to see how the deployment went over the weekend.
10 – 11 a.m. — I review our scrum boards, which are where we keep track of all of the work our scrum teams are projected to complete within the two-week sprint cycle. I check on the status of all the user stories to see if we’re on track to complete them and prep for our sprint review.
11 – 11:30 a.m. — We hold a sprint review session with our stakeholders in which we demo the work completed in the last two weeks during our sprint cycle, answer questions on upcoming changes and new features, and get sign-off from our stakeholders.
11:30 – 11:45 a.m. — This is the time we have our daily scrum stand-up where the engineers communicate what work they completed the day before, what they plan on working on for the rest of the day, and if there are any roadblocks that are prohibiting them from completing any user stories. This piece is really important because it is one of my duties to ensure the roadblocks are resolved.
11:45 – 12 p.m. — I do a lap around the office, talk to coworkers in other departments, and have my daily high five with Lucas, our director of sales development. He’s really tall and I’m really short, and he raises his hand high so I always have to jump to make it!
12 – 1 p.m. — Time to decide what to eat for lunch! Lunch is different every day. We may grab something quick and play games as a team, walk together somewhere close by, or break up into small groups and do our own thing. We have a large variety of places to eat within walking distance, so it’s really nice. Our go-to is Fresh2Order, which is a five minute walk from the office. Every now and again we’ll actually drive somewhere—usually to Buford Highway for delicious food. I’m also thankful for Terminus Tuesdays because the company caters food and we all eat together.
1 – 2 p.m. — Every two weeks, the entire development team gets together for a sprint retrospective to discuss what went well during the last cycle, what didn’t, and what we would like to improve moving forward. I like to start the retros off with a fun exercise like getting in a circle, holding hands with someone who is not next to you so everyone is tangled, and untangling ourselves without ever letting go. Scrum focuses on the people and is very team-oriented, so it’s very important to me that we incorporate fun exercises, further strengthen our bond as a team, and feel comfortable being completely honest. I get to be creative during retros and think of fun ways to execute them. During a previous retro I had the team write love letters and breakup letters. They wrote a love letter to the things that they wanted to keep doing in the next sprint and wrote break up letters on what they wanted to stop.
On weeks we aren’t doing a sprint retroactive, this is when I’ll plan for our monthly team outing or help with something fun going on in the office. Right now we have a companywide ping pong tournament that I’m co-organizing, so there is a ton of excitement around the office. I am a huge fan of cross-functional team activities. Our CEO, Eric Spett, once called me the Queen of Cross-Functional during a monthly blast-off meeting! I think it’s really important within a healthy organization to develop relationships with coworkers in other departments. I have a feeling someone from the development team will be the ping pong champion, but maybe I’m just being biased.
2 – 3:30 p.m. — We have a sprint planning meeting with our product director, head of engineering, CTO, and CPO to discuss which user stories to prioritize for the upcoming two-week sprint. We hold grooming sessions throughout the weeks prior to review our product backlog, so by the time planning happens there are minimal unknowns and the user stories are clear with detailed acceptance criteria.
3:30 – 4 p.m. — We take a break from the busy day and head over to the game room for some ping pong action. I typically watch and instigate some friendly banter — trash talk may be more accurate 😉 — with others that aren’t playing. We laugh a lot.
4 – 5:30 p.m. — This is the wrap-up period of the day where I finish up any daily tasks, chitchat with team members, have a snack, have a dance party with our data scientist, Paul Kasay, check in with our product team, schedule future meetings, and set up my calendar for the next day.
“What does a Scrum Master do?” Makes sure others can do their jobs the best,” says @sunbuns83
Protecting the Realm at Terminus: Account-Based Marketing
As you can see, working as a scrum master is an impressive feat. So, how did Sunny end up in this role? Read on for a Q&A to find out.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I started off at Georgia State as a psychology major, but a little into it I realized that it was not what I want to do. I took a little break, and then I went to the Art Institute of Atlanta for culinary arts. I worked in the restaurant industry for about seven years. Then right around age 27 or so, I decided I did not want to live that life anymore because you typically don’t have benefits and paid time off, and you’re always working evenings and weekends and holidays. So I decided to change everything up and go back to school for business. I went to Kennesaw State, where I studied finance. I got my bachelors in finance and then landed a corporate job about a month later.
What was your most recent job before Terminus?
I worked at CareerBuilder as an operations lead for their software division.
How did you get your job at Terminus?
My interview process was very interesting. I was leaving a large organization, and I knew that the next place I wanted to go was a smaller startup that had an emphasis on culture. I started researching the top startups in Atlanta, and Terminus came up on multiple lists, including Startup of the Year. So I went to the Terminus website, and the first thing that caught my eye was a group photo of the Terminus employees, and I was like, “Wow, that’s amazing.” So I went to the team page and I saw that there were pictures of everyone, from the interns to the executives. So that told me that everyone at this company values every other team member.
I applied to a customer success role, and Kipp Ramsey, our employee success manager, gave me a call. I had a thirty minute screening with Kipp, and everything went really great. He send my info on to Sydney Smith, the director of customer success. When Sydney took a look at my resume and saw that I’m a certified scrum master, she actually pinged our CTO, Eric Vass, and said, “Hey, I know you’re looking for a certified scrum master, and one just landed on my desk! Do you want to take a look at her?”
I had a great one-hour phone conversation with Vass, and then the next step was to have lunch with the engineers. They used a “boat model” — so for everybody they interviewed, they decided if they’d be okay being stranded on a boat with them. If the answer is yes, then let’s bring them onboard!
Then there was a third step: to meet with the other members of the executive team, Sangram Vajre and Eric Spett, for thirty minutes. Then Vass walked in with my offer letter, and I signed it right then and there.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned while working as a scrum master?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is how to deal with so many different personalities in order to bring out collaboration and get everybody working toward the same goals.
What’s the biggest challenge you face at work?
Because Terminus has only been in business for about two years, scaling is a challenge. What do we need to do to scale to the size we want to be? It’s not a negative challenge, though; it’s actually a really fun challenge! I’m very process-oriented, and continual improvement is a big agile principle. I have to look at how we can continue to get better. How do we minimize risk? How do we improve quality? I make sure that everybody communicates and that what we’re working on is transparent to everybody else in the company.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to work on the Terminus development team?
Be a team player. If you’re the type of developer who likes to sit with your headphones on and not talk to anybody, this is not the place for you. Also, come with ideas and have a positive attitude! You have to be fun and you have to have a sense of humor on this team.
What is your favorite thing about working at Terminus?
The people. It’s so much fun working here. I don’t feel like I’m coming to work in the sense of, “Oh man, it’s such a drag.” It’s really fun working here. I laugh so hard all the time. I have a very distinct and loud laugh, so the people on the other side of the room always know when I’m not in the office because they don’t hear me laugh. It’s a great, healthy environment to work in, and there very unique personalities on the development team.
Now, for the most important question: what’s your favorite office snack?
I should say fruit, and don’t get me wrong — I love the fruit. But deep down on the inside, it’s the chocolate covered almonds.
Want to Join the Terminus Development Team?
Are you interested in joining the Terminus development team? We’re always looking for positive, supportive, and self-starting people to add more fuel to our fire. If you think you’d be a good fit for our development team, check out our careers page. We’d love to hear from you!