The wide variety of classes taken by employees over the last year using IOP Learning Funds fit together perfectly to form the the country we are proud to serve through our client work – the U.S.A.
When Learning Becomes Culture
At INTEGRITYOne Partners, we are dedicated to building and maintaining what we call a Culture of Learning. We sincerely believe that the constant pursuit of knowledge is imperative to a company’s future and the future of its employees. IOP’s learning culture is a source of employee empowerment, encouraging individuals to grow their professional and personal skillsets, creating a network of learners within the company. It is our belief that those who are the most enthusiastic to learn new things tend to drive innovation and inspire those around them.
Through our Learning Culture Program, officially launched in 2019, IOP invests $3,000 per employee annually in training and developing their skills. Two-thirds of funds are invested in professional training and education directly applicable to our client’s current and future needs. One-third of the funds can be self-directed by the employee in an area they find interesting, exciting, and valuable.
Our Learning Culture Program has tremendous benefits for our workforces’ physical and mental health, while simultaneously raising the standard for our client service delivery. We want to help our people become lifelong learners who are motivated to grow their skillsets and to pursue betterment through learning, thereby bettering IOP as whole. We understand that for a culture to be real, it must be lived.
What IOPers Think About All of This
Breath in Calm and Clarity in Your Daily Routine
I wanted to try breathing techniques for a long time. In 2019, it all came together when I found a course taught at the local Art of Living center. At the same time, we were given access to self-directed training dollars (of $1000) by IOP for all employees. Using these funds, one can explore personal interests to enrich skills without any restrictions. After attending an introductory session on “Sudharshan Kriya” (a.k.a., “Happiness Program”), I was sold on the idea of trying out the course and, with allocated IOP yearly training dollars at hand, didn’t hesitate at all to sign up for the course. I am grateful for the opportunity to explore personal interests freely with company-funded training dollars. I can truly attest that doing this course paved the path for my personal transformations.
The class was a couple of hours over three days and teaches students several breathing techniques like Ujjayi (“ocean breath”) and Bhastrika (“bellows breath”), followed by rhythmic breathing patterns for a specified number of cycles. Incoming breath energizes the body, while outgoing breath calms the mind. There is so much research about the benefits of deep breathing techniques where slow, long exhalations bring down the heart rate and calm the mind. This class popularly known as SKY (short for Sudarshan Kriya) or just “Kriya” is taught across the world, including in prisons and universities. There is also evidence to back breathing exercises and their benefits, I can vouch for it with my personal experience.
I practice Kriya several times a week, take 20 minutes to complete it, and fully feel the benefits of it. Krya makes you productive in whatever you do the rest of the day, putting you at ease in tackling whatever comes your way. You will never see work as a mundane and routine thing anymore, you look forward to savoring the day fully vitalized and energized. This is an example where company training culture meets personal development which, in turn, can contribute to professional development. I urge everyone to give breathing exercises a try and feel the calmness that comes after it.
by Prakash B.
Using Agile Methodologies to Bring Value to Clients
As the client space has evolved in the realm of software development it became apparent that I needed to adapt in ways that would make the teams I was working with more efficient. In December 2020, I began my introduction to my journey in Agile methodologies by taking the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) course. It was very helpful, but it still didn’t feel like it was enough information to give me the full grasp of what Agile is. Scrum Masters are more aligned with coaching teams ensuring they can work cohesively together to deliver products of value to clients.
I was having some difficulties understanding what the goals were with the structure of user stories and how to better organize the team of developers. I decided that this would be the best time to venture off into the other arena of learning about the value of becoming a Certified Product Owner (CSPO). I went into the course somewhat prepared based on my previous work as a Scrum Master, but I also found that I had a lot of questions about the main role of the Product Owner and the CSPO’s duties.
After taking the course I felt empowered by IOP to bring what I learned to current and future clients. I felt more equipped to take on either role within the agile team whether that is the Scrum Master or the Product Owner. If put in the position again, I now feel more equipped to better prioritize user stories for teams and assist developers going forward with prioritizing based on the clients priorities and requirements.
by Kunle O.
Upskilling to Drive Firm Growth
To support an upcoming proposal, I needed to earn the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Leading SAFe 5 certification. This course, and certification, provided a comprehensive overview of the Scaled Agile Framework and prepared me to thrive in the digital age with business agility. This 16-hour course, along with many hours of self-study, prepared me to pass the certification exam and to become fluent in the Scaled Agile ecosystem. I am thankful that INTEGRITYOne Partners (IOP) emphasizes learning and upskilling to support our client delivery and firm operations. It is IOP’s relentless pursuit to raise the bar that keeps me challenged and happy to be here.
I have used my new knowledge and capabilities to improve my leadership skills, identify emerging business opportunities and increase my operational tempo. As IOP adopts SAFe firm wide, it will increase our business agility and help us deliver outstanding results to our client’s overing the coming decade. I have become a SAFe evangelist in the firm and am encouraging /leading my colleagues to raise their capabilities through SAFe training.
In the coming years, I want to learn the following capabilities: product management, human centered design, and data science. By continually learning and improving my skills, I can have a greater impact with my teams, clients, and colleagues.
by Pete L.
Scrum as Bridezilla Prevention
I recently took a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) course. While it is nice to add lots of three-letter acronyms to your email signature, and professional development always sounds great at your yearly review, I wasn’t expecting it to have any effect in my personal life. I was proven wrong.
My boyfriend finally popped the question about a month ago. We were wading through piles of possible ‘Save the Date’ designs and going back and forth on themes, colors, venues, and food options. On the last day of my scrum course, it suddenly occurred to me that we were going about wedding planning all wrong. My fiancé is a developer, so Agile and Scrum are familiar to him. By structuring the wedding planning like a development project, we’ve been able to maximize our time and efficiently get things done. Our living room is covered in post-it notes that shift from ‘Project Backlog’ to ‘Sprint Backlog’ on a regular basis, but it’s a small price to pay for these things getting done without the bridal party or me ripping our hair out in frustration. I wasn’t expecting the Scrum course to prevent me from becoming a Bridezilla, but I am so thankful to INTEGRITYOne Partners (IOP) for allowing me to gain the skills necessary to plan our big day with the least amount of stress and in a way that both my fiancé and I understand. We haven’t been able to schedule a real daily scrum for the bridal party, but even just doing a weekly one really helps more than you might think. Everyone knows exactly what their tasks are, and we keep refining our internal definition of done just like a top-notch development team.
I am certain that I would have become more stressed and less able to plan effectively if I hadn’t taken the CSM Course. I have learned that professional development can also be personal development and I believe that IOP understands that, even more so than I did as an employee. It’s a blessing to have a team of colleagues cheering on your personal and professional growth at every stage.
by Sarah C.
Increase Resilience, High Availability, and Solution Architecting… with Yoga
INTEGRITYOne Partners gives high importance to continuous learning, whether it’s directly related to your career skills or involves training to improve your own personal life. While IOP offers employees a $2,000 budget for career training such as technical skill crafting and industry certificate courses, they also add an additional $1,000 to that budget for any training you deem fit for your own personal enlightenment.
In 2022, I took a 20-session course at my local Seattle Yoga studio called TakeCare Yoga. This studio is very professional, with several class types, a variety of instructors, and a great atmosphere. I decided to use part of my training budget on this course for several reasons- the health benefits are the obvious takeaways, as it provides strength conditioning, flexibility training, and aerobic breathing techniques that will benefit me for the rest of my life.
Yoga also gives more subtle benefits, which are particularly important for anyone in software solution architecting, or in any line of business where puzzles must constantly be unraveled, thought through, and solved. In software development, I have always lived by the notion that the best way to solve a difficult coding problem is to stop working on it, walk away, and come back later. I can’t count the number of times the solution has come to me within minutes of taking a break.
Yoga has provided another avenue to clear the mind and a means to allow a solution to congeal. This has been especially beneficial during COVID, as for many of us, our workplaces are our homes, and we lost the benefit of having that eureka moment on the drive home.
by Steven F.