Makolife Izabella Zaraś Scrum Insights Hero
interview 3 min. read

I don’t ‘do’ top-down imposition, because the team knows best about what makes their job easier

Friday 18th March, 2022
She came to MakoLab in 2020, joining our Connected Car department as a scrum master. She also coordinates DEV COP initiatives, these being opportunities to share knowledge and experience as part of in-house workshops and training courses organised by members of staff. Every day, she listens, watches and helps. Then, after work, she’s into exploring and encountering .

The Insights team decided it was high time to do a bit of focused encountering ourselves, so as to give you the chance of an encounter with… Izabela Zaraś!
You’re a scrum master. What’s the story behind how that happened?
I studied electronics. At the time, I imagined myself working in a profession where it would be hard skills all the way. But it turned out that Poland’s not Silicone Valley and that my plans didn’t necessarily reflect reality. That’s when I decided to shift to the IT sector and become a programmer. I started out in a company where I wound up among loads of ‘best players’. In no time at all, I realised that I had an Everest of work ahead of me if I was ever going to catch up with them. At the same time, it turned out that I was really doing OK in the soft skills areas, like communicating with clients and the team and organising work… That’s where the idea of going for project management sprang from. Then, once I was a project manager, I noticed that using Scrum for the projects we were working on might well produce beneficial results. We decided to give it a go and that’s how I became a scrum master.
Could you tell us a bit more about the role? Aren’t scrum managers still dealing with the lingering belief that they’re completely unnecessary because ‘come on, project managers already exist, don’t they’?
A scrum master’s responsible for implementing Scrum principles and rules and provoking their daily use in project work. A range of activities are demanded, depending on the situation with a project at a given moment. It’s certainly vital to have the ability to observe carefully, bring the team’s needs to light and communicate well with people,. The needs can be many and varied. The stage a project is at affects them and so does both the make-up of the team and its experience.

There are so many myths about Scrum itself. Some people have negative experiences, which is the result of various expectations and notions they hold about it. There’s a persistent belief that it’s a remedy for every single problem a project comes up against, but it’s not that simple. Introducing principles and rules can generate new problems we’ve never encountered before. It demands a huge amount of commitment and being open to something new.
You work with a large team and in a highly dynamic sector, as well. How do you manage to keep a grip on it all?
I don’t ‘do’ top-down imposition, because the team knows best about how to tackle a job and what makes it easier. I watch. Sometimes I ask something, so as to understand. Sometimes I suggest solutions. But when the team itself makes a decision, people are more likely to stick with it later than when it’s been imposed from ‘on high’.

The people on the team I work with here, at MakoLab, are highly experienced and aware. They’re enormously supportive of me. They’re all so committed, with shared goals. They all know what they need to do, so I simply don’t feel that everything’s resting on my shoulders.
Do you have a particular hobby? Will you tell us something about it?
I like a change of scene and exploring new places. But things can be a bit flash in the pan with me! I get caught up in all sorts of things, but once I realise that something’s not bringing me joy any more and that I’m finding it tedious, then I’ll drop it like a hot brick! I mean, there are still so many fascinating things to explore… so why should I impose boundaries on myself?!
Makolife Izabella Zaraś Scrum LI 1200X628
That boundlessness sounds like a recipe for success to us! So let it serve as our final flourish for today 😊

Kamila Braszak
Kamila Braszak
Employer Branding Specialist

MakoLife, Employees, MakoLab Team, People, Hobby