Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: Professional Development

How the Scrum Values can be used on more than just Agile Projects

Agile, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), KAIP Academy, Learning, Professional Development, Project Management, Sacramento, Scrum, Training, Workforce Development

By Sumayyah Jackson, CSM

When I decided to attend the Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) class through the KAIP Academy, I had knowledge about the Agile / Scrum process. Being a Special Projects Intern for KAI Partners, we discussed these processes frequently. My team and I attend daily sprint meetings every week. It is always on a timed schedule and gives everyone a clear vision of the tasks to be completed for the day.

One of my favorite parts of the CSM class were learning the Scrum Values: Respect, Openness, Courage, Focus, and Commitment. Here’s how I’ve seen the Scrum Values at work in my life:

Respect: To me, respect in the workplace means encouraging your team to express their opinions and ideas. At KAI Partners, my opinions and ideas were always respected. It allowed me to be comfortable expressing my thoughts when executing any project with my fellow team members. There is a difference between hearing and listening. Listening patiently to others’ discussion allows me to respond with insight and earn their respect.

Openness: I look at openness as being willing to open your mind to different ideas and change. Openness promotes trust. Trusting your team to uphold the company values will promote a friendly working environment. Accepting that people have different backgrounds will allow us to get past any perceived differences and realize that we are all people with similar goals.

Courage: Having the courage to overcome your fears can provide you with a sense of security to gain self-confidence and focus your energy on strengthening the organization through improved productivity and innovation. Moving across the country was one of my fears that I quickly got over. It took courage to leave behind everything I knew and start over in a new city. Because of courage, I have discovered new opportunities that have been positively life changing.

Focus: I think focus is an essential tool for success and can help you deliver the most efficient results. The ability to block out distractions is paramount and key to being successful. Being focused is a skill that has to be mastered.

Commitment: Commitment is to show effort and motivation and to recognize that sometimes satisfaction means going beyond the bare minimum expectations which takes discipline. I am committed to self-improvement by continuing to self-reflect and being open to change and growth. Ultimately, mistakes can be the best teacher.

Now that I am officially a Certified Scrum Master®, I look forward to applying the skills I learned to enhance my career, as well as provide a structure for my studies as a college student. These skills are not only applicable in the workplace, but they also play a role in day-to-day life.

Interested in learning more about how the Scrum Values can help in your career and life? Register for our next CSM session! Click here for all our KAIP Academy course information!

About the Author: Sumayyah Jackson works at KAI Partners as a Special Projects Intern. She recently moved to Sacramento from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She attends Sacramento City College, majoring in Psychology. Sumayyah is committed to her education & tackling her career goals. After she obtains her Associates degree, she plans on attending a 4-year university and acquiring a PhD in Psychology. She has previously worked in customer service, time and expense coordinating, and social media coordinating. On her free time, she enjoys reading, volunteering for non-profit organizations, graphic design, traveling, and spending time with loved ones.

StateScoop’s California Innovation Summit Event Recap

Agile, Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Corporate Training, Digital Transformation, Event Recap, Government, Information Technology, Innovation, IT Modernization, KAI Partners, Lean Six Sigma, Learning, Professional Development, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Public Sector, Sacramento, Technology, Training, Workforce Development

Photo Credit: StateScoop

By Lucie-Anne Radimsky, CSPO

The ballroom at the Kimpton Sawyer hotel was lit in neon pinks and purples; stylish tulip chairs graced the stage and large screens sprouted up from each side of the stage. This was not your typical public sector event—you could feel a sense of energy and possibility usually reserved for private sector sales events.

The event was StateScoop’s California Innovation Summit, which brought together agency CIOs, technology vendors, consultants, and public sector employees who filled the room to capacity (exemplified by the crowd of latecomers who lined the back of the room two rows deep).

We can safely assume that this event benefited greatly from the new Governor’s recent pronouncements and Executive Order, which clearly sent a signal as to his priorities for a more innovative and dynamic public sector.

Speakers included a formidable group of CIOs—some who are innovating locally, such as Ann Dunkin of the City of Santa Clara, and some who come from agencies where innovation and technology are critical to provide lifesaving services, such as Carla Simmons from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

I’ve attempted to summarize the highlights and calls to action that I took away from the event, including:

  • The public sector needs to focus on solutions that are citizen-first.
  • Trending technologies in the government sector include players like Smart Communities, AI, Digital ID, Blockchain, NIST/IO, and Gartner’s Digital Government Framework.
  • Hybrid IT is the new normal.
  • Collaboration is paramount, i.e., sharing information and resources like templates and best practices.
  • Exploring the potential of Sacramento as a Public Sector IT Hub.
  • Technology procurement demands improvement to keep up with technology advancements and collective bargaining opportunities.
  • Workforce gaps are real due to the speed of technology innovation.
  • A cultural shift is needed to support innovation.

From KAI Partners’ perspective, this is an incredible opportunity to address the multitude of challenges facing the public sector and help ensure a seamless, secure, and efficient delivery system where citizens are considered from the onset in developing strategic plans and programs.

KAI Partners has the privilege of working with complex systems and diverse projects across the public sector, where we can apply best practices and technology solutions through our network of partners and subject matter experts.

We also work hard to address the technical skill gaps in the region through our KAIP Academy. Our training courses include Project Management, Lean Six Sigma, and Agile/Scrum—these courses empower everyone from beginners to those more advanced in their careers to build their professional skills and respond to the needs of the market.

Amy Tong, CIO of the State of California, closed the event by reiterating the importance of a culture of innovation and encouraged attendees to be bold in developing new and creative ways to address problems, even if there is a risk of making mistakes or failures.

It’s clear the new normal that is beginning to envelop the public sector is a step in the right direction. KAI Partners is excited to continue to do our part to encourage and support public sector leaders to ring in this innovative chapter of government.

About the Author: Lucie-Anne has over 15 years’ experience in communications and business development in the U.S. and Europe, on behalf of start-ups and non-profits. She has signed and represented clients within the technology, energy, and telecommunications sectors to government agencies, journalists, and industry analysts throughout the world. Lucie-Anne has both American and E.U. citizenship. She is fluent in English and French. Lucie-Anne is an active community volunteer and has served on numerous non-profit boards and led alumni groups in Paris, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Irvine. She currently resides in Sacramento with her Brazilian husband and two boys.

How Agile Can Provide Value on any kind of Project

Agile, Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Communications, Corporate Training, Information Technology, IT Modernization, KAI Partners, KAIP Academy, Learning, Professional Development, Project Management, Sacramento, Scrum, Training, Workforce Development

By Lucie-Anne Radimsky, CSPO

Agile knocked and I *sprinted* through the door.

I recently participated in a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) training through the KAIP Academy.

In my role as a Business Development Lead with KAI Partners, I serve as a connector between my organization’s service delivery team and public sector, non-profit, and private sector clients who need and would benefit from our services. I also help to bring individuals through our workforce development training programs.

Why is this important? Well, as you may notice, I don’t work on IT projects directly and I certainly don’t manufacture anything but opportunities. Agile isn’t necessarily a methodology that fits neatly into my role—or does it?

Prior to working with KAI Partners, my understanding of Agile was limited. I believed it to be a language or mindset that only IT departments, consultants, and the manufacturing industry would use.

Entering my CSPO training recently, I felt a mix of excitement and apprehension. Having spent the last 17 years as an entrepreneur in communications, I was used to making it up as I went along.

My apprehension quickly faded to comprehension and total awe of the simple framework that Agile provides.

As specific as some of the processes are, what I gained from this experience is a greater understanding of how to navigate a project more effectively—piece by piece, sprint by sprint.

This understanding of how to navigate projects of any kind—not just IT projects—gives me a sense of accomplishment, keeps my stakeholders and team apprised of my progress via daily updates, and allows me to deliver a valuable end-product.

As I learned in the CSPO class, Agile provides an excellent structure for developing a project/product by assisting in the following:

  1. Identifying key objectives—the why that should drive all projects.
  2. Defining clear and simple goals that are realistic.
  3. Encouraging constant interaction with the team/stakeholders to ensure progress and buy-in.
  4. Prioritizing tasks so you can focus on the essentials needed to deliver a valuable product to the stakeholder(s) in a timely fashion.

Now think about this for a minute—where wouldn’t Agile apply?

Which reminds me, I need to stop by the store to buy whole milk so my stakeholder children can eat their cereal in the morning which meets my primary objective to ensure they are healthy and well fed. But first I’ll check in with my husband to make sure he hasn’t already done so and doesn’t have any additional items to add to my shopping list.

Interested in expanding your knowledge, efficiency, and skills and learning more about Agile? Register for our next CSPO session! Click here for all our KAIP Academy Agile courses!

About the Author: Lucie-Anne has over 15 years’ experience in communications and business development in the U.S. and Europe, on behalf of start-ups and non-profits. She has signed and represented clients within the technology, energy, and telecommunications sectors to government agencies, journalists, and industry analysts throughout the world. Lucie-Anne has both American and E.U. citizenship. She is fluent in English and French. Lucie-Anne is an active community volunteer and has served on numerous non-profit boards and led alumni groups in Paris, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Irvine. She currently resides in Sacramento with her Brazilian husband and two boys.

KAI Partners Internship Program

Agile, Business Analysis, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Corporate Training, Hiring, Human Resources, Information Technology, Internship Program, KAI Partners, KAIP Academy, Learning, Onboarding, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Professional Development, Sacramento, Scrum, Technology, Training, Workforce Development

KAI Partners recently graduated the second cohort of our Internship Program in Sacramento! With interns from Sacramento City College and Sierra College, we were honored to have such hard-working interns adding value to our Special Projects team for the past few months.

We wanted to check in with our interns to get their feedback on the internship program. Here’s what they had to say:

Sumayyah Jackson: Since I was young, I have been exposed to IT consulting—my aunt is in the Organizational Change Management (OCM) field and my father is an IT Consultant. While I had some prior knowledge, IT is not something I usually focus on, so I knew this internship would be stepping out of my comfort zone. I have always been open to change and learning, so this opportunity caused excitement rather than fear.

During my time at KAI Partners, I learned about each field in IT Consulting and I was able to gain background on these fields by interviewing a few of my colleagues. I became a Certified ScrumMaster, learning the ins and outs of the Agile/Scrum methodology. I learned to facilitate meetings, assisted in planning and executing events, and mapped out Business Process Diagrams using the BPMN 2.0 standards. Overall, this internship sparked an extreme interest in me for IT and Business. My internal personal skills strengthened along with my analytical and research skills.

Shyanne Long: I wanted to be an Intern for KAI Partners for a few reasons. I have family members who either are currently in the business or were previously in a similar line of work. However, they were never able to give a solid answer of what they actually did on a daily basis for work. I never had a clear understanding until I started working at KAI Partners.

The KAI Partners Internship Program exceeded my expectations! I was able to become a Certified ScrumMaster and practice using Scrum methods throughout the program. I learned how to create and maintain a LinkedIn profile, how to plan and execute events, and how to write a blog post. I also learned BPMN 2.0 standards and applied them by mapping KAI Partners’ business processes. I supported special projects, the communication team, and the business development team. I was forced out of my comfort zone many times with facilitating meetings, events, and conducting interviews with team members. It felt great to do things I never thought I could do before!

Says Stephen Alfano, KAI Partners’ Fall 2018 Intern Program Manager, “I’ve participated in many internship programs in my career. Of all the programs that I helped construct and lead, this one was the most rewarding for me personally. In addition to helping me drive special projects forward faster, this program provided me with a golden opportunity to deliver on our firm’s workforce development and diversity agenda—creating commercial value for our business in the process.”

Stephen continues, “Shyanne and Sumayyah were engaged and all-in from Day 1; I couldn’t ask for a better cohort.”

KAI Partners wants to thank our superstar interns for their diligence and dedication over the past few months. We know you will go on to do great things and we are excited to be just one small part of shaping your future!

Interested in applying for KAI Partners’ next Internship Program cohort? Email your resume to recruitment@kaipartners.com.

KAI Partners Staff Profile: The OCM Consultant

Business Analysis, Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Communications, Continuous Improvement, Corporate Training, Government, Healthcare, Human Resources, KAI Partners, KAI Partners Staff Profile, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Learning, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Process Improvement, Professional Development, Prosci, Sacramento, Six Sigma, Technology

There are many paths to success and while not everyone takes the same path, we often manage to arrive at the same destination. In our KAI Partners Staff Profile series, we share interviews and insight from some of our own employees here at KAI Partners. Our staff brings a diversity in education, professional, and life experience, all of which demonstrate that the traditional route is not necessarily the one that must be traveled in order to achieve success.

Today, we bring you the journey of Denise Larcade, an Organizational Change Management (OCM) Consultant for KAI Partners. Denise recently supported Business Process Re-engineering implementation for a KAI Partners client before moving on to implement some special projects at KAI Partners headquarters. Denise’s next client-facing role starts soon—she will be an OCM consultant for a California public sector state agency to help them move from a paper system to an electronic process.

KAI Partners, Inc.: How did you get into your line of work?

Denise Larcade: I started in grocery retail working in the stores—I found areas where I excelled and was able to implement Human Resource, Technology, and Operations practices. The grocery industry, much like banking and airlines, fell into mergers and acquisitions. I was placed on various mergers and acquisitions teams and due to my experience, eventually led activities to support retail mergers and acquisitions. My last merger came with a relocation from Idaho to Minnesota which didn’t work for my family at that time, so I chose to go back to school and get my bachelor’s degree. Not enough to fill my time and still residing in Idaho, I looked for local opportunities where my skills would transfer outside of the retail industry. I was hired on as a contractor to a local tech firm headquartered in Boise, Idaho to work on HR restructuring. While creating a plan to support HR restructuring, I saw an opportunity to move from paper-based manual processes to electronic stream-lined process improvements. My next venture, also outside of my roots in retail, was to lead training and development efforts to support the implementation of Idaho state’s new MMIS (Medicaid Management Information System). Two years in, I received the phone call from a former Idaho colleague at MMIS to support training and development on California’s MMIS. This was the opportunity to move back home to California, and I was excited to spend more time with my 96-year-old grandmother. I moved back to California and was fortunate to have three quality years with the matriarch of our family.

KAI: Are there any certifications or trainings you’ve gone through that have helped in your career?

DL: I received training and certification as part of leadership development when I worked in grocery retail. This training was instrumental in understanding the people side of change long before Prosci was identified as a Change Methodology. My experience in mergers and acquisitions prepared me for being a leader for change. Later, getting my Prosci certification was a desire as the methodology aligned to activities I valued in my merger and acquisitions experience.

I have been twice certified as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. The first time was more than 20 years ago and my recent certification occurred earlier in 2018. It was nice to compare what is still a valued practice in Lean Six Sigma methodologies and how technology advancements provide a more streamlined approach to process improvement.

KAI: What is your favorite part about your line of work and why?

DL: Teaching others and assisting resistors through change. No one likes change and what I find most interesting is that we adapt and make changes in our personal lives every day, so why are we not as willing to make changes in our work lives? I like leading a group through the awareness of making a personal change and how and why adopting that same mindset is valuable to you, to others, and to your employer in your work life.

KAI: What is one of the most common question you receive from clients and what counsel or advice do you give them?

DL: “Why do we have to change? We have been doing it this way forever. Doesn’t ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ apply?” My advice is to walk people through their personal life changes, e.g., The oven still works and isn’t broken, so why would you invest in a microwave? What are the benefits of a microwave versus an oven? Do those benefits support the investment? There are so many examples that support change. If we don’t change as a business, how can we be current and competitive?

Now that we’ve learned more about Denise’s OCM work, here’s a little more about her!

Quick Q&A with Denise:

Daily, must-visit website: I don’t have one, but I subscribe to many technology and change newsletters.  Sometimes you need something that pertains to your current focus of work.

Preferred genre of music or podcast to listen to: Top Pop and Top Country—I like to be relatable to the generations following mine. The music is usually uplifting and gives me lots of positive energy.

Best professional advice received: My grandfather was a great businessman; he developed his own corporation and was successful as a professional business leader, CEO, and mentor. He always said, “Your word is your commitment and treat others how you would like to be treated.”

Book you can read over and over again: Jack Welch’s book “Winning.” I could read it over and over again and it always pertains to my work at hand.

Most-recent binge-watched show: I don’t watch much TV and tend to turn it on for background noise; however, I am a fan of Survivor and the Amazing Race. I love to watch people problem-solve and I like to be on teams where people problem-solve.

About Denise: Denise Larcade is an Organizational Development Consultant and Merger and Acquisitions Expert. She is a Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Scrum Product Owner, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and is Prosci certified. She has over 25 years of experience in training, development, and leading companies through organizational change management. Denise has worked in corporate retail, technology, and government healthcare and most recently has experience with large-scale implementations nationwide. She currently works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc., providing client support to KAI Partners’ state clients. Denise grew up in the Silicon Valley and relocated to Utah and Idaho before recently returning to her native California roots.

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