September 8, 2020 - 8:00 am

Tech Career Profile: Christine Vincent, Agile Product Owner & Senior Scrum Master at HealthBridge

By Keri Amlotte, Director of Marketing

Christine Vincent’s focus is clear: deliver quality products that increase business value. 

She enjoys working with development teams to get the job done and is passionate about using Agile best practices to drive transparency and predictability between business decisions and software development work. Christine was recently recognized by the Traverse City Business News in “40 Under 40: Forty of the Region’s Best and Brightest Under 40.” She is highly committed to her craft and has been known to motivate teams to meet their commitment through energy drinks, ice cream, and funny hats.

Christine is an instructor for tccodes, a learning community for software developers in Traverse City, Mich. She teaches Agile/Scrum principles, best practices, and advanced implementation techniques.

Christine Vincent
Christine Vincent, Agile Product Owner & Senior Scrum Master at HealthBridge

How do you describe Agile to those who aren’t familiar with it?

Agile gives teams of any kind the ability to build adaptable and flexible plans that promote continuous delivery and feedback. Agile teams fail fast, learn quickly, and adapt to the needs of who they’re delivering to.

What types of teams or environments can benefit from Agile? Is it only for tech teams?

Agile is not just for tech teams. Businesses can achieve improved results by implementing Agile practices across any organization or department, including manufacturing teams, business groups, and C-suites.

Any team looking for faster results and a way to learn and adapt swiftly can benefit from Agile methodologies.

What is your professional background?

I first began to work closely with development teams during my time as the manager of a roadside program. In this role, I was in a position to deliver enhancements to the product without following the traditional project management approach. I loved it and was always looking for a way to deliver more and get involved in the process.

Leading and delivering a few of these product enhancements helped tremendously as the company I was working for transitioned away from a Project Management Office to a Scaled Agile methodology. When I was approached with the opportunity of becoming a Product Owner for the same product that I had been managing within the new Agile framework – I jumped at it!

After working in the Product Owner role and stepping in for Scrum Masters as needed, a new opportunity to work for HealthBridge arose. I was excited by the idea that this opportunity would mean I could help grow a development team and company who was thirsty for the transparency and incremental value that Agile teams provide.  

What are your responsibilities in your current role?

As a Product Owner working within a development team, my main responsibilities are to define requirements, prioritize work, and accept the functionality delivered by the development team.

I work closely with business stakeholders to prioritize new functionality based on time criticality, risk reduction, and business value.  I work with designers and architects to ensure the vision of the functionality is thought through, and I work with the development team to confirm that the requirements are understood and fulfilled.

As a Scrum Master, my main responsibilities are coaching the team, helping remove impediments, and improving efficiency.

What do you most enjoy about your work?

What I enjoy most is the delivery: when the development team has taken ownership of the requirements and delivers valuable functionality for our stakeholders and end users that we can learn and continue to adapt on.

Can you give me an example of how Agile looks in practice at HealthBridge?

At HealthBridge, we use agile methodologies across the organization. We set priorities through what is called a cost of delay workshop − defining what functionality will be delivered next by determining what will bring the most value with the least amount of effort to deliver.

After priority is determined we work closely with stakeholders, designers, and architecture to gather requirements. As we gather requirements, we begin to understand what the basic needs are, and what can be delivered as enhancements down the road. Those necessary requirements are introduced to the development team for vetting through a grooming ceremony. Once the work is groomed and understood it comes to a Sprint Planning ceremony, where individual slices of the functionality are estimated, refined, and committed to be delivered within a given increment.

The development team continuously delivers at a cadence of at least one release per increment. This continuous delivery gives HealthBridge quicker results − enabling our product to continuously improve and evolve.  

What advice would you give to someone who is considering implementing Agile?

First, I would recommend attending Introduction to Agile/Scrum through tccodes!

It is also a good idea to ready your organization before making the change to Agile. While an organization is making the transition, teams need the space to fail fast to learn, and adapt and adjust quickly. If the organization isn’t willing to give that space the implementation will be more difficult.

Another piece of advice would be to hire external consultants. Consultants can help to ready the organization, coach teams, and provide visibility into the process across the organization.

What interested you in working with 20Fathoms on tccodes?

HealthBridge was one of the early graduates of 20Fathoms. I really enjoyed the community that came with working in the 20Fathoms space.

After we graduated and moved into our own office space, we learned about tccodes. I attended one of the first tccodes classes last fall. Derek Smith was teaching, and the subject matter was way above my head − but I loved the idea that as a community we could come together and give people exposure to different tech areas they may not have the opportunity to have otherwise.

I was inspired and wanted to get involved so that I could share learnings about Agile and Scrum and provide real world examples for organizations in our community to learn from.

Ryan Anderson, VP of IT & Software Engineering at HealthBridge, and I are building our Agile/Scrum curriculum through tccodes and that will provide insight into the most valuable Agile methodologies and best practices for our audience. We want to hear from those interested in Agile – what can we help you learn more about? Between the two of us we have over 30 years of experience and are excited about the opportunity to share our knowledge and best practices to help organizations be successful in their Agile implementations. Email your thoughts to either me or Ryan.

What do you like to do for fun?

When I’m not working, I have the most fun hanging out with my son, Wyatt. He’s four years old, loves being outside, fishing, camping, and runs everywhere he goes!