Manuele Piastra is an Agile Coach at Agile Reloaded UK . He talks to Client Server about why an agile-led approach isn’t about telling businesses what to do but showing them how they can be better.
Client Server : Where did your technology journey begin?
Manuele Piastra : When I was a kid, I was disassembling things and trying to put them back together – it often didn’t work! But that started my love of math and technology. My father was also into technology, and I was also really into science fiction too growing up. I went to uni to study software engineering and then started work as a software developer.
CS : What tech were you working with?
MP : I settled on Java, building enterprise applications in the Java platform. I’ve been doing that for almost 10 years, moving up from senior developer to senior engineer and eventually tech lead.
CS : How did you go from that to project management?
MP : I was working for an agency in Italy and they proposed that since I had good software engineering skills, I could make a good project manager. As you can imagine, that assumption didn’t turn out to be true. I had to start from the beginning and make a lot of mistakes, but I like the challenge. It was shortly after that I found myself in a position between working in a technical role as well as managing people and projects. That’s when I discovered the Agile movement. I completed my scrum mastering certificate in 2008 and it was clear how connected I felt to it as a career move.
CS : That leads us nicely into what you’re doing now – tell us about Agile Reloaded.
MP : I joined Agile Reloaded in February, having lived in the UK for six years. There’s so much opportunity for agile coaches and scrum masters in this city. Agile Reloaded got in touch with me in December 2020 to say they were looking for someone to help their expansion in the UK. As a company, they’re made up of agile coaches who are committed to helping companies achieve their goals. We use agile methodology to give them a competitive advantage and turn their dreams into digital realities. We use agile as a means to deliver that. What I love about the work we do is that we can go out to the market and say “Whatever you want, whatever you need, there’s a team of about 20 agile coaches from different backgrounds who can help you deliver it”.
CS : The relationship is a little like a football manager – your clients know how to play the game already; you’re just offering a different perspective.
MP : Think about it this way: If there’s a team full of engineers, they know what they’re doing already, so they just need to be supported, coached and stimulated to continuously raise the bar of quality . I don’t see why I should go to someone that is coding eight hours a day and tell them how to approach a coding problem, they know better than me. If you think about the makeup of a tech team, a tech lead doesn’t disappear just because a scrum master is around.
CS : What do the next 12 months look like?
MP : It’s still relatively new and exciting, I have a lot of autonomy right now and I want to grow out the UK business. There’s a lot of networking and business-focused work, but it’s exciting and lends a lot of diversity to my day. I can safely say that even in the short time I’ve been with Agile Reloaded, this a company that is agile inside and out.
CS : Even as we emerge from the pandemic, that agile approach should serve you well.
MP : It’s hard to know what life will be like in six months and how COVID will affect things. But we will keep working to develop our online presence and build our community here in the UK. That’s takes time and effort, but with every step, we will learn something new, which is exciting.