The story of Jeanet

The better the systems, the faster people know where they stand

She may not be a technician, but she is indeed technical. Jeanet Poelsema is scrum master at the IND. It is her job, together with her teams, to improve the IT systems of the IND. ‘The better our systems work, the faster applicants have certainty about whether they can stay in the Netherlands. That’s what I do it for.’
Photo of Jeanet
The better the systems, the faster people know where they stand

If things do not go the way you want them to, you can grumble about it. But you can also do something about them. Under this motto, Jeanet does her day-to-day work at the IND. ‘For 8 years already,’ she says. ‘I’ve assumed several roles during this time. Always in the field of IT. For instance, I was engaged in production support, functional management and agile working.’ This was a surprising twist after a study programme at the art academy and afterwards at Schoevers. Jeanet: ‘I never really knew what I wanted. I discovered what I liked to do only by working. That turned out to be the IND.’

Stayed at the IND after secondment

Initially, Jeanet ended up at the Immigration Service via a secondment agency, Ordina. ‘After 3 years I still liked it so much that I was employed on a permanent basis,’ she says. ‘At the IND, I felt much more that I was doing my bit on a social level.’ She adds: ‘Even though  it’s indirectly. I don’t have direct contact with asylum seekers in my job. I don’t need to interview them or decide. But my co-workers do. And they need systems for this that help, and don’t work against them.’

Interpreter between users and technology

According to Jeanet, a system with which nothing ever goes wrong doesn’t exist. ‘But we can make every effort to ensure that our IT cooperates as well as possible,’ she thinks. ‘In my role as a functional manager, I saw myself as an interpreter between end users and technicians. They don’t always understand each other very well. I know just enough about technology. And, because I’ve answered functional questions for years, I know what end users are faced with. I am therefore able to see to it that work is done in good cooperation with one another, even though I now have a different position.’

I want to solve as many problems as possible

As scrum master of two information provision (IV) teams, Jeanet makes sure that the IND uses the agile working method. Jeanet: ‘I am there to facilitate my teams so that they can work effectively and independently. And can improve themselves continuously. In order to achieve this, I ask many questions. What can I Improve? Whom can I help? Which hurdles can I remove? This helps to remedy as many technical problems as possible in as little time as possible as a team. Technicians and developers together.’

Made a deep impression on me

It has already been several years ago, but Jeanet remembers it as if it were yesterday: having a look in Ter Apel for a day. ‘That made a deep impression on me’, she says. ‘You see people there who’ve stuffed their whole lives into a few plastic bags. All of them hoping without certainty for a future in the Netherlands. That day, I experienced personally that the faster the systems work, the faster my co-workers can interview people and decide. And the faster the applicants know where they stand. ICT simply has consequences.’

I want to join in<

Jeanet’s idea of the IND was not only positive before. ‘I thought I was placed with a very old-fashioned organisation. But practice proved the opposite. Certainly two years ago when it was decided that everyone working on Indigo, our main system, would be working in scrum teams from then on. Nothing was thought out yet or turned into processes. We simply went and did it. I found that tough. And very groundbreaking. Everything gave me that feeling: I can be of consequence here. I want to join in.’

Scrum team was the start of my present job

And so it was. It soon became evident that Jeanet was well suited for coordinating roles. ‘I noticed at a given moment that we had a huge backlog of technical problems. To solve those problems, we needed developers who were not on our team. At the time, I set up a scrum team with co-workers and external workers in order to eliminate the backlogs. We did that fairly quickly. That became the start of my present job.’

Enabling co-workers to save time

So Jeanet is now scrum master of two Information service teams. ‘One team is occupied with laws and regulations,’ she explains. ‘If a law changes, it often happens that changes are also necessary in our systems. The other team sees to it that increasingly more actions are automated in our systems, which enables co-workers to save time. Agile working allows us to do all this as fast as possible.’ She laughs: ‘But it’s still the government, isn’t it? Agile or not, now and then you need to be very ready to persevere in order to change things. I sometimes heave a sigh, but I also know that it makes my work extra challenging. And it makes me happy, because we ultimately manage to achieve a lot.’