Vaco team

Dana Pylayeva

About Dana

As an Agile Coach and trainer with over 18 years of diverse experience in IT, I bring unique perspectives and stories ”from the trenches”. I’ve been fortunate to work with co-located and distributed teams in US, Canada, Ireland, Japan, UK, India and Russia and can share with you their distinct challenges, successes and effective practices. My client list includes organizations from legal publishing, automotive, digital marketing, retail, banking, non-profit.  In the last 4 years, I trained over 2000 people, coached 30 + teams, led several enterprise Agile transformations and delivered workshops and lectures at 40 conferences in 15 countries.

I am an educational games designer and the author of several DevOps/Agile books and games, including “DevOps with Lego, Chocolate”,  “Fear in the Workplace” and “Safety in Workplace”. I enjoy being actively involved in Agile community in various roles as a volunteer, reviewer, track chair, program chair and conference chair. I am the founder of Big Apple Scrum Day conference in NYC, co-organizer of NYC Scrum User Group and a Program co-chair at Agile2019 conference.


What is your role? 

Agile Coach

What is significant about what you bring as an Agile coach?

Having worked with many teams in different countries, I value and appreciate diversity of cultural backgrounds, ideas and team members.

Helping these diverse teams connect and guiding them on their journey toward a high performance, brings joy every single day. I am a continuous learner, and I enjoy experimenting with brining new tools and techniques into my coaching/facilitation practice. I use agile games, Liberating Structures and visual facilitation to create a psychologically safe space. A space that allows diverse ideas from the group to emerge,  evokes participation, and welcomes experimentation.

Why did you say yes to coming here?

Very simple. It is the opportunity to collaborate, share ideas and learn from ones of the most respected and knowledgeable coaches in the agile community. I’ve known Mary and Bob for years via the conference speaking circuit and have always been impressed with the depth of their knowledge. Being on the same coaching team with them is a great intrinsic motivator in itself!

People don’t know this about me

I graduated with MS in Robotics and a strong aversion to technology.

Coming to the US about 20 + years ago, there was one thing I knew for sure: I was not going to work with computers ever again! I am glad I changed my mind fast and got back into IT.

What are you most excited about? 

I am excited that there is never a shortage of new ideas and new things to learn in this space. Especially, if you believe that everyone you meet is your teacher. As I am starting my journey with Vaco team, I am excited about the new learning, new challenges, new ways of making a difference for teams and organizations.

How will you be different in three years as a result of joining this group?

If you truly become an average of 5 people you surround yourself with, I might’ve just hit a jackpot! In three years from now, I expect to be able to deal with harder challenges, know more than I do now. (Looking at the team’s photo, I am slightly concerned about a 50/50 chance of growing a beard)

If I retired tomorrow I would

Spend time with my family and travel the world of course!

Favorite people or pets to spend time

My parents, my husband Alex, my daughter Erica and Jady – a Blue Russian cat we were lucky to adopt.

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