BONUS: Incorporating Planet Earth as a Stakeholder in IT Development with Marjolein Pilon

In this BONUS episode, we talk to Marjolein Pilon about her innovative approach of considering Planet Earth as a key stakeholder in software development. Through practical examples and actionable tips, she inspires teams to make meaningful changes towards a greener future.

How to Bring Sustainability To Our Work As Scrum Masters

“Frustration about climate change and wanting a better future for my children led me to explore the carbon footprint of our IT work.”

Marjolein’s passion for environmental sustainability began with personal frustrations about climate change. Feeling that she had done all she could at home, she extended her concerns to her professional environment by asking about the carbon footprint of IT. This led to the creation of a ‘planet retrospective,’ where her team brainstormed ways to reduce their environmental impact. This approach proved to be so effective that she began facilitating these retrospectives for other teams, spreading the importance of seeing the planet as a stakeholder.

Reframing Projects for Sustainability

“Taking a simple first step can break down complexity and build motivation.”

Marjolein shares a story of a team that significantly reduced their carbon footprint by taking small, easy steps. Starting with the elimination of an unnecessary test environment, the team moved on to more substantial changes, such as optimizing database queries and shutting down unused applications outside office hours. Their efforts culminated in a 45% reduction in their carbon footprint, serving as an inspiration for other teams.

Considering Planet Earth as a Stakeholder

“We started looking at our software from the Planet Earth’s perspective.”

For Marjolein, considering Planet Earth as a stakeholder means incorporating environmental considerations into every stage of software and product development. This perspective shift encourages teams to think about the long-term impacts of their work on the environment.

Measuring Environmental Impact

“Use costs as a proxy to convince managers to run sustainability sprints.”

Marjolein explains that measuring the environmental impact of software decisions can be straightforward. For on-premise servers, energy bills provide clear data, while cloud services like AWS and Azure offer carbon footprint dashboards. She advises teams to monitor metrics like disk access, memory versus disk usage, and query times to understand and reduce their carbon footprint.

Making Sustainability Relatable For Agile Teams

“We include planet earth and climate impact in the sprint reviews and definition of done.”

Marjolein emphasizes integrating sustainability into daily workflows, such as sprint reviews and definitions of done. This makes the concept of sustainability more tangible and actionable for smaller teams and startups. She explains how even small actions can have a significant collective impact.

Balancing Innovation and Sustainability

“Simple steps can align innovation, speed to market, and sustainability.”

Marjolein highlights the importance of balancing innovation, speed to market, and sustainability. By taking simple, actionable steps, teams can align these seemingly competing demands effectively.

Recommended Resources

Marjolein recommends the book “The Good Ancestor: How to Think Long Term in a Short-Term World” by  Roman Krznaric

For teams looking to integrate long-term environmental considerations into their development processes, this book provides a framework for thinking beyond immediate goals and considering the impact on future generations.

About Marjolein

Marjolein is an enthusiastic freelance Scrum Master and Agile Coach, committed to making the IT community more carbon-efficient. With a passion for Planet Earth and a knack for facilitating creative teams, she embodies agile and scrum values, promoting team autonomy and continuous improvement. Marjolein shares her insights on her website https://theagileplayground.com/.

You can link with Marjolein Pilon on LinkedIn.

 

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