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March 27, 2017
Tech Ladies of The Dock: Meet Suzanne, “The Agile Coach”
By: Sinead Doherty

A couple of weeks ago, to mark International Women’s Day, I published a post celebrating some of the incredible women in tech that innovate at The Dock.

There was one small problem, however—there were so many to choose from that I simply couldn’t cram them all into a one-off post. Thus, the “Tech Ladies of The Dock” series was born.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll introduce you to some of our talented ladies here at The Dock and the work they do within the tech industry.

Today, we’re meeting Suzanne Farrell, an Agile Coach, a Mum of two and the granddaughter of a man who once won the all Ireland for growing the largest onion.

Tech Ladies of The Dock: Meet Suzanne, “The Agile Coach”

What made you choose a career in the tech field?

To be honest, I think I’d describe it more as a chance event. I was working as a project manager and heard about a new delivery methodology called “Agile.” I was intrigued and felt I’d found something that really fit my personal values. I wanted a role where value was delivered, where products were delivered and where all the work I did was not wasted when a new feature or a new idea was realised.

I also wanted to work where risks were upfront and transparent and where the people I worked with wowed me every day. I wanted to feel like I was delivering value in an environment where I was growing. Agile frameworks suited me. So, I went for it.

What made you choose Accenture?

It’s Accenture. Wow! At The Dock, we are an innovation hub. It screams excitement—I knew the people I would be working with would blow me away, and they do, every day. Each evening I walk out of here having learned something I didn’t know when I walked in. Who doesn’t want that?

Describe your role at The Dock

I have a Project Management background, with almost 2 decades of experience across a range of industries, from Freight Logistics and Sales, to Construction and Technology.

The skills and experience I bring to The Dock are a combination of soft skills and a knowledge of a Delivering Method. A big part of what I do is evaluating the moment, in the moment, and using my knowledge in conjunction with principals of Agile, to make quick decisions and/or to bring awareness to how the teams are working.

I’m someone who believes that you can read a book about learning how to drive a car, and you will know how to drive, but getting into a car and driving is a completely different matter altogether. It’s similar for Agile Coaches; you can read a whole load of books about Agile methodologies, but it’s a different story getting into a room and actually being able to put these methodologies into practice. That’s 100 percent people skills. It’s knowing how to empower and being able to identify when and where to bring awareness. It’s about experience.

What Projects are you currently working on?

I’m currently working across a variety of projects including, AI Benchmarking and AI for Back-office. I’m also having great fun working on some incredibly interesting projects using cool new technology with the Tech Labs team.

There’s projects I’m working on where I couldn’t explain to you what it is the team is working on as the technology is so incredibly advanced, while I know what steps they’re taking in their sprint, half of what they talk about is foreign to me! As a Coach, I think this is a good thing, I’m not ever tempted to jump in and fix the issue because I think I know better.

It makes me a better in my role, at coaching the team to find the answer. What I do and the feedback I’m getting is that prior to Agile there was a lack of visibility into the work that individuals were doing. Although working and sitting close together, they were operating within silos. By making simple changes often, you can help a team unite, support each other, hold each other accountable, push each other and laugh together.

What would you say to someone starting out?

I love the work I do because it embodies everything that diversity stands for and it begins with courage. As an Agile Coach, you hope to bring respect, courage, focus, commitment and openness to teams in an effort to help them work better together and to enjoy the work that they do. When it works—it really works. And what you end up with is a great group of people, working in harmony with each other, on great projects.

Tech Ladies of The Dock: Meet Suzanne, “The Agile Coach”

Why do you feel it’s important to highlight the call for more women in tech?

I believe in the power diversity. It’s important that we work with all the information we can get. That should come from people. People with different types of backgrounds and experience. It is important to me that woman enter the tech world because I cannot think of one single reason as to why they should not! I have studied people for many years. I have a natural curiosity into why We are the way we are. One of the reasons people don’t do something, is because they don’t want to. The second reason is because they simply don’t know about it.

I feel responsible for the woman coming behind me. Everything I have ever accomplished in life is because I was inspired by someone else already doing it. I am a woman in tech. It is my job to inspire; so that women know, so that women want. If every woman, that is already here has the courage to pave the way, the future cannot be predicted because it will be something we have never seen before. It will be amazing.

We are doing well—keep promoting, empowering, understanding, supporting and shining the light on the women who are doing it already so that they plant the seed to grow in the women coming up next.

Interested in working with Suzanne and a whole bunch of other incredibly talented innovators? Get in touch!

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