Kellie Clark has spent much of her career helping others create opportunities to be successful, whether she’s directing a technology bootcamp or educating entrepreneurs as they develop their concepts and ideas into a working product. Her lifelong ability to hustle and problem solve has brought her to pursuing her own venture with AppThink, which provides programs to help early-stage entrepreneurs validate their ideas, test them, and begin prototyping those concepts.
In January 2020, while she was a program director for a Birmingham, Alabama-based non-profit technical bootcamp, Clark enrolled in the first (and last) in-person Scrum Bootcamp CAVU offered. Aside from bootcamp instructors, her staff had few technical skills but recognized the need to understand Scrum in order to operate the program and better serve the students in her program. Her staff had ambitious goals and needed to move quickly to fulfill the needs of the organization. Her motivation was “to be better at my job and help the organization that I loved move forward with these ambitious goals.”
“It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how smart your team is,” Clark said. “There has to be a framework to contextualize the work you’re doing, especially if you seek to scale, and it’s best to keep the framework as lean as possible,” was her biggest takeaway from the Scrum Bootcamp course.
CAVU has empowered her as the CEO of AppThink, including how she leads projects. “One principle is the definition of done. Defining that for a team,” she said, and making sure all collaborators understand the specifics of what “done” is has helped AppThink with prioritizing the work they produce. “It has impacted my leadership: prioritizing tasks not just on urgency but by value.”
Clark recommends CAVU especially to “non-technical” people so they can understand the process of creating products for consumers. “It makes you appreciate the people building the products, how much time it takes, and attention to detail,” she said.
Aside from building products for consumers, she said that Scrum practitioners “will find the process bleeding over into your day” and that she uses it to manage her team and even her own household. “I timebox when my kids clean their rooms,” she said, laughing. “They don’t get it done any other way!”
As for her work with AppThink, she uses Agile to support her mission to support and resource idea-stage founders with tools, skills, validation, and space to explore before they launch to other accelerator programs or to help develop products to take to market.