How to Capitalize on Agile’s Potential?
Vanya Koonce and Bryan Pearson
Vanya Koonce and Bryan Pearson
Success and failures of setting up an agile culture into CNN’s dynamic environment.
In an interactive conversation we will cover examples of what made agile work in CNN and Warner Media. Bryan will walk through examples of the best approaches they’ve used to make it successful. At the end of our conversation, we will discuss some of the consistent problems we observe across industry where companies could benefit from integrating agile methodologies and what could support them turning into successful stories.
The story …
Vanya is an executive coach and certified scrum master, serial entrepreneur, and a passionate advocate of implementing technological solutions for coaching.
Since 2010, she’s worked with dozens of international clients who operate in organizations such as Nestle, Deloitte, Facebook, PepsiCo LATAM, Bayer, UCLA, Slack, Warner Media.
She supports teams and leaders to embrace agile methods into a wide range of innovation activities.
Director of Product Management @ WarnerMedia
My software development career began with one team, one application, and basic knowledge of how to be Agile. We were tasked with building CNN’s first HD media production system in Atlanta. Since then, my portfolio has grown to more than a dozen production systems, including CNN’s Election Ecosystem. I now have six Scrum teams working to maintain each system and to develop the next generation of features and platforms. This couldn’t have been done without the Agile process, and CNN’s implementation of it was no small feat. It required extensive training & commitment by everyone in our organization, especially the executive leadership team, and I was essential in making that happen.
My journey into product development started in the mid-1990’s when I hoisted a video camera onto my shoulder for the NBC News Affiliate in El Paso, Texas. As a photojournalist, I was immersed in telling other people's stories and tasked to find ways to illustrate their successes and sorrows. From El Paso, I moved up to Albuquerque to work for the ABC News affiliate KOAT as a photojournalist.
In 2000, CNN hired me as a photographer & video editor. I worked the 2000 Presidential Election, traveled to India with Sanjay Gupta and Richard Gere, and I was embedded in Afghanistan with the US Army. In 2003, I was aboard the USS Lincoln during ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom'.
During my travels, I was one of the first users at CNN, and in the industry, to adopt cutting edge file-based workflows. I became one of the key evangelists for this new tech and as a result, I transitioned into a technical training role for CNN’s field crews. Within a year, I moved into systems engineering, and shortly after that, I became the first Product Owner for CNN’s technology group.
As the product owner, I worked closely with my leadership and stakeholders to build up the Agile SDLC. 13 years later, we are a mature Agile organization, with scalable processes and company-wide support.
The opportunities I’ve had over the years have helped shape my worldview, and my empathetic nature. They have helped me achieve a deeper understanding of human behavior & motivation. My knowledge of the Agile processes coupled with my background as a journalist, allows me to provide unique insight, and the ability to take complex ideas, thoughts, & stories, and distill them into simple terms that everyone can understand.
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