Meet our #TravelHeroes – Interview with Ada Dymek, Scrum Master at WorkTrips.com
In today’s interview, we have the honor of introducing Ada – an exceptional woman from the IT department, serving as a Scrum Master in our organization. Ada is one of the key figures in coordinating our projects, and her impact on the team goes much deeper. She exudes enthusiasm and energy, which helps her find ideal team solutions.
In this conversation, we will uncover how Ada found her path to WorkTrips.com, the challenges she faces as a Scrum Master, and the approach that guides her daily work. We will also learn about her passions beyond the world of technology and the inspirations that drive her in creating successful projects.
We are delighted to reveal the behind-the-scenes of our startup, where the foundation is not only innovative solutions but, above all, people who constitute the heart of our community, making our company an exceptional place full of passion for action.
MATEUSZ: What was your first job?
ADA: During my studies, I got involved in the student radio called “Panda,” where I spent 5 years. Though it was more of a volunteer role, it was during my studies in “journalism and social communication.”
MATEUSZ: What did you do after your journalism career? 🙂
ADA: For a while, I worked as a 360-degree consultant in the international department of a recruitment agency, which meant handling both recruitment sales and finding suitable candidates. I was associated with the recruitment industry for almost 5 years, mainly focusing on IT recruitment processes. During that time, I developed the idea of changing my profession and getting closer to the world of technology. I dreamed of working closely with developers and testers while utilizing the soft skills that I had at a high level from my experience in recruitment. After much thought, I decided to try my hand at becoming a Project Manager.
MATEUSZ: And how did your journey as a PM begin?
ADA: I got an internship where I worked as an assistant to a PM. I had the opportunity to closely observe this role and gradually carry out tasks related to it. I also started studying “Project Management,” obtained two certificates, and fairly quickly managed to become a Junior PM in a company dealing with e-commerce. There, I progressed, and my career as a PM gained momentum.
MATEUSZ: Interesting path from Radio – Recruitment – Project Management. On the surface, they seem like different industries and roles, but I guess you utilized communication and soft skills in all of them?
ADA: Yes, exactly. I managed to take something away from each of these experiences, learn new things, and meet new people.
MATEUSZ: How did your professional journey at WorkTrips.com begin? Was it a recommendation or recruitment?
ADA: I found the WorkTrips.com job advertisement for the Scrum Master position, and it turned out that my colleague, with whom I worked in another organization, was connected to WT. She reviewed the CV I sent, and as a result of our conversation, we smoothly planned the first stage of the recruitment.
MATEUSZ: With your extensive experience in recruitment from previous years, how do you assess the recruitment process at WorkTrips.com?
ADA: Very positively! It was a big surprise for me that the first stage was immediately a conversation with the CTO and not a screening with the HR department. It turned out that I met the requirements set by the company for candidates in this recruitment. The conversation was pleasant, and after it, I had a feeling of “clicking.” I felt this fit with the organization.
MATEUSZ: How did it progress from there?
ADA: The next stage was exceptional because I had the opportunity to talk with the entire team. Typically, in such recruitments, 2-3 developers and, for example, a Product Owner take part. Here, already in the second stage, I had the chance to get to know the whole team, answer questions from everyone who wanted to ask.
MATEUSZ: I imagine that the level of stress was higher than in the case of such a small recruitment meeting with 3-4 people?
ADA: Indeed, at first, there was stress, but I assess it positively. It was an interesting experience I hadn’t encountered before. I think, in the case of Scrum Master recruitment, it’s a good solution. People I was going to work with daily could get to know me better and see the skills and competencies I represent.
MATEUSZ: How did it go in that interview? 🙂
ADA: I think it went well because I received an offer a few hours after the meeting. 🙂
MATEUSZ: Okay, and how long have you been working, and what do you do on a daily basis?
ADA: I’ve been at WorkTrips.com since June 2022. What I do on a daily basis depends on which sprint moment we are in. However, my main tasks include planning, facilitating meetings, problem-solving, team discussions, keeping track of deadlines and task prioritization, and creating processes. As for the latter, I try to ensure that our processes are practical and not forced. I also often act as a liaison between the team and the business. Of course, there are moments when all our plans and assumptions need to be adjusted and juggled a bit due to ad-hoc tasks coming from customers. Ideally, these tasks should be completed “yesterday,” and such situations also generate many tasks, but I think it’s inherent in this role.
MATEUSZ: That’s quite a lot. What is the biggest challenge in your work as a Scrum Master?
ADA: In my opinion, the biggest challenge for a Scrum Master is gaining the team’s trust so that the team is convinced that you are there for them and that they feel the value that the Scrum Master brings to the work. It’s not always easy. 🙂
MATEUSZ: Interesting. How do you build such trust?
ADA: I think it’s organic work. The team must be convinced that they can rely on the Scrum Master’s support in difficult moments. Numerous conversations, motivating, or seeking solutions to problems are elements that build relationships and, consequently, the trust of team members. There are moments when someone doesn’t want to do something or doesn’t understand what to do or is just having a bad day. The key to improving the situation is not to trivialize such information or changing team dynamics but to try to clarify everything, manage well, and provide support—address them seriously.
MATEUSZ: Which task or project are you currently dedicating the most time to?
ADA: Recently, I started actions aimed at showing the team a handful of data related to their work. I believe that the number of story points in a particular sprint or the time they need to undertake specific actions or tasks can show them a different perspective on their work.
MATEUSZ: I’ll stir the hornet’s nest a bit now. There used to be a belief in the IT industry that the role of a Scrum Master is somewhat fake, not entirely necessary. What do you think about this, and have you encountered such an opinion?
ADA: Yes, that’s true; there was some hate directed towards SM, and again, yes, it’s true that there are teams where such a
role doesn’t function, and the products still develop. However, if there is a dedicated person in the team who manages these processes, supports the team, and is truly a Servant Leader, then why not make use of it? The work of a Scrum Master is like working backstage – often not entirely noticeable and perhaps a bit underappreciated, but teams only realize its value when such a person is missing.
MATEUSZ: What frustrates you the most in your work as a Scrum Master?
ADA: If I had to mention something, it would be not meeting deadlines, the pressure, and the need to remind people about the agreements we made.
MATEUSZ: Moving on to more pleasant topics, how do you take care of work-life balance?
ADA: I’d really like to say that I do! (laughs) But in my case, it’s not entirely like that because many of the applications I use at work function smoothly on my phone as well. So, there are situations where after work, my phone is eager to bring me back to it, and I often give in :). But I guess it’s not that bad because I haven’t received any signals from my friends or family that I’m overdoing it. 🙂
MATEUSZ: I’m the same way 🙂 So, what do you do in your free time? Any interests unrelated to the IT industry?
ADA: There are two topics that bring me joy and greatly interest me. The first is makeup, both daily and glamour. I even have diplomas from a few-day course in both, but I also enjoy the more elaborate makeup that leans towards characterizations, though in this case, I’m only taking my first, uncertain steps as a self-taught artist. The second interest is building and assembling small DIY dollhouses – I highly recommend it because manual work is very relaxing!
MATEUSZ: I won’t attempt the makeup, but building small dollhouses sounds great! 🙂 Now, I have a question from the SF series: What would you say to yourself from 2005? Any advice or warnings? 🙂
ADA: Have more faith in yourself and don’t be afraid of not knowing. Oh, and one more thing: don’t smoke cigarettes 🙂
MATEUSZ: That strongly corresponds with what I would say to myself! (laughs) Alright, as we’re talking in July, the middle of the summer vacation, what destinations are you choosing for your holiday?
ADA: It has to be warm and a beach!
Ada Dymek – Scrum Master at WorkTrips.com
Mateusz Łaskawiec – HR Generalist at WorkTrips.com