Meet the #iKTribe: It’s All About Delivery with Pratik Vairagi

Agile coach. Avid traveller. Family man. Action cricketer. Cricket fan. Meet Pratik Vairagi from the #iKTribe, Scrum Master at iKhokha.



iKhokha Scrum Master

Hailing from India, Pratik spent over two decades plying his trade in tech companies, banks, and consultancies worldwide before joining the #iKTribe. After graduating with a computer science degree from V.I.T Pune in India at the turn of the century, Pratik commenced his career in IT, consulting primarily in India and the USA.

“By default, I was pushed into IT from the beginning,” says Pratik. “As my career progressed, I moved to Team Lead, Technical Lead and then into people management in more of a delivery role.”

In 2007, Pratik embarked on another adventure to South Africa, securing a placement through his parent company as a Senior Software engineer at Derivco.

Making a Home in South Africa

Over the next fourteen years, Pratik continued developing his skills and methodology in South Africa – a country he calls: “His first home…after India”.

Pratik quickly entrenched himself in South Africa’s rapidly growing tech scene, working across banking, finance, gaming, medical and insurance industries, playing a critical role in project delivery across various small, medium and enterprise companies.

“I am very fortunate. I consider myself lucky to play so many diverse roles.”

For Pratik, having to wear many hats has laid a firm foundation for a career in people management and agile coaching. Having experienced and travelled various avenues in the industry, he’s perfectly positioned to guide the next generation of developers.

“As a consultant, you have to be able to do everything,” he says. “I’ve also worked in many different engagement models; onsite, offshore, specifically with the client. Looking back, it’s very diverse. It was challenging, but to push back those challenges and take the team forward was a great experience.”

Developing a Scrum and Agile Approach

Experiencing many different aspects within his industry afforded him the chance to identify his passion for project delivery. As a result, his work has shifted from a Waterfall delivery background to a primary focus on Scrum and Agile methodologies over the last eight years.

Pratik adopted these approaches while working through a decade-long stint in Johannesburg, culminating with key roles at two of South Africa’s banking giants. Firstly, as a Senior Consultant at Standard Bank and then as Scrum Master at Nedbank.

During this time, he refined his approach for creating autonomous, agile teams which work cohesively towards a shared vision.

“My goal is to make my teams self-manage, rather than being managed by someone externally.”

Finding Focus at iKhokha

Scrum Master at iKhokha

After recognising his extensive experience, the #iKTribe Talent Team at iKhokha got to work on luring Pratik back to Durban. And Pratik realised right away that his skillset and know-how could make a real difference at iKhokha, more so than at a sprawling corporate.

“Very big corporates have a lot of key stakeholders and a lot of politics. There are a lot of personalities. So to deliver a project successfully in those corporates, it’s more of a challenge. iKhokha is medium-sized, so you can focus on your area. There’s also much more support from higher management – which definitely helps,” says Pratik.

From the beginning, he aligned with iKhokha’s broader purpose. He relished the opportunity to impart his knowledge by coaching the iKhokha Product and Development Team towards Scrum and Agile ways of working.

“iKhokha was a new initiative for me. I’m still learning. From forming the team to coaching the team into scrum and agile, I think we have come a long way.”

Pratik is a professional who has built a career out of consistently delivering on large scale projects. He saw the challenge of the iKhokha project as an opportunity. An opportunity which will be a proverbial feather in the cap when he drives the plan to fruition within the #iKTribe.

“In a company like this, if you know what you want to achieve, it’s much easier to push towards a collective vision,” says Pratik. “The drive from the higher management aligned with my objectives, so I thought it was the best way to move forward in my career.”

Another Kind of Delivery

Outside of the office, Pratik is an avid cricket fan and action cricket bowler/batsman. While he hasn’t charged down the pitch in recent years, he admits he’d like to get back out on the field as he settles in Durban.

Pratik is also an avid traveller. While Covid has put his travel plans on hold, he enjoys visiting Cape Town. He has also made numerous trips to the Kruger National Park. And enjoys Dubai, Singapore and the USA as international destinations.

On a typical weekend? You’ll find Pratik, the family man, spending time with his thirteen-year-old daughter and three-year-old son at parks around Durban.

“They keep me busy, so I have to keep them busy,” he jokes.

This warmth and compassion permeates into his work. Professionally he is driven, focused on project delivery and meeting targets. And yet, he is warm, friendly and approachable – the ideal combination for our #iKTribe. It’s the perfect balance for a Scrum Master in what can be a frenetic environment within a scaling company.

For Pratik, iKhokha is on course to meet our goals with the rest of 2021 holding exciting opportunities for our #iKTribe and business.

“The team is coming nicely together,” he says. “There’s a big improvement coming in the next six months. We know where we want to go and what we want to achieve.”

Over to You

Are you looking for a new challenge? Join our purpose-led business and help us enable entrepreneurship in South Africa. Visit our careers page for more.

 

 

Josh Martin

Josh is on a mission to help small businesses grow with engaging, insightful and data-driven content that enables entrepreneurs to build businesses that last. When he's off the clock, he's probably trawling Reddit and plotting his next big idea.

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