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A Day In The Life: Zahraa Murtaza, Agile Lead, GFT

Ever wondered what it's like to work at one of Greater Manchester's leading tech employers or what specific job roles get up to each day?

Zahraa Murtaza is an Agile Lead at digital transformation leaders GFT.

We spoke to her to find out more about this role, her experience at GFT and what an average day looks like.

Name: Zahraa Murtaza
Company: GFT
Job Title: Agile Lead

What does a typical day look like for you in your role?

If there is a common theme with people in tech it’s that no one day is the same, and it couldn’t be truer! Being an Agile Lead, it depends on the different projects and clients you work with. For example, currently the Agile methodologies I’m using this week are Scrum and Kanban – so we’ll stick to that for this example.

8-8.30 – Since we have the privilege of working in a hybrid setting, I like to start working 15-30mins before my first call / workday starts. I’ll check my emails, teams chat, progress dashboards and Agile boards to see if there are any fires to fight (delivery manager joke ;) ), allowing me to prepare for the day ahead

8.30-9 – Usually on a client daily to run through progress, priorities, changes and if we have any blockers arising for our developers throughout the day. It’s a good start to the day as it allows us to communicate first thing in the morning with the client

9-9.30 – Depending on the client call, I’m usually updating the sprint RoadMap to reflect the client’s priorities and shifts, as well as making myself a tea!

9.30-10.30 – I’ll probably have a few ad hoc calls outside the Agile ceremonies with either the client or stakeholders to run through RAIDs (risks, assumptions, issues and dependencies). I also start preparing for the daily stand up with my Scrum team

10.30-11 – I’ll have my regular 15 min stand up with the team to track progress on tasks and activities. Then we’ll have a few minutes near the end to run through any items we’d like to discuss based on the stand up

11-12 – I’ll update the client and review my dashboards to track progress as well as start prioritising the next sprint’s work depending on where we are after the morning call. Based on progress I’ll start creating some new tickets that we can start to estimate and flesh out

12-1 - Lunchtimes vary for me depending on what day of the week it is – but by 12 I’m starving, since I’m at home, I’ll have a nice warm meal, and try to go for a walk

1-3 – I always make sure I set some time aside to run through internal project work and guild activities – as well as juggle any ad hoc calls that come in

3-4.30 – I’ll usually be with the architect figuring out the next set of stories and epics we want to bring into the Scrum team for next sprint or getting ready to release code live

4.30-5 – I’ll have a nice tea break and step away from the computer

5-6 – Final wrap up and chat to the client and team on deliverables

What do you love most about your role?

I love my team here at GFT and the variety of projects and clients we get to work with as well as the diverse skill set, we bring together as a team.

Some days I may be working on starting a project to then building code to go into development branches and other days we may be launching code into Live. 

What I love is seeing the project lifecycle and having a role where I get to see it end to end from inception through to delivery.  

What is the biggest challenge in your role?

The problem with being an Agile Lead is you love a good challenge as you’re here to build and offer solutions! 

Being such an amazing global firm, we do have issues with time zones. One thing I’ve had to adjust to is not having each person in the team in the same office or time zone for us to get up and talk to the team in person or send a quick teams chat as it may be out of hours for some.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking of working in your role?

My biggest piece of advice would be to learn about Agile methodologies, but also traditional project management techniques such as Waterfall to gain a wider view. This will broaden your horizon when tackling projects. The best piece of advice a former line manager / friend gave me was ‘use your toolbox’ which means – allow yourself to have enough ways of working (tools) that you can pick and choose the best strategy to use when tackling projects and delivering the best outcome.

Thank you Zahraa!

To find out more about GFT, click here.

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