Have you ever faced an issue as a customer of a company, and then got an opportunity to resolve the issue as an employee of that company?

11 years ago I was a frequent traveler with Alaska Airlines. I was happy to have earned my elite status with their loyalty program, and was looking forward to use the benefits immediately. However, I was left disappointed, as there was an issue with the Loyalty system, which meant I had to wait to use my elite member benefits. As a high value customer I was upset, and called Alaska Airlines customer care to let them know about my frustration.

Fast forward six years, I joined with Alaska Airline as an employee. Guess what? The team I joined and am currently working in is the “Loyalty team” which manages Alaska Airlines mileage plan program. And more? Things are the same, with how the loyalty system works. Could I act on the issue I faced as a customer? NO. Could I work on a crazy process improvement idea or customer experience improvement ideas I had? NO. As a member of the development team(last in the chain of command) I had no power to take my ideas or solutions forward. Work life with Alaska Airlines moved on in a normal pace, without my ability to address customer and business process issues I was passionate about.

Three years later, our eCommerce division chose Agile methodology as our software development process . To be honest, like many other people, I hated it in the beginning. People say agile is a mindset. As I was going through the agile mindset transformation I slowly realized the empowerment it brings to me and to my team. I became vocal in the agile sessions, I actually transformed from an introvert to an extrovert. Agile gave me a safe environment to share my ideas to my team and then as a team sell those ideas to business. Agile processes encouraged me to do small experiments with my ideas. It gave me and my team a seat at the table, we had a say in what we want to do and how we want to do it. With the Agile team structure and mobbing development process we adopted, suddenly the onus of success or failure fell on the entire team, this gave me enormous confidence and also a safety net. I witnessed a personal growth in me and in my teammates.
In this session I will take you into my agile journey. I will share my experience about how agile helped me to transform into a better employee, better teammate and better person.

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