Agile Basics

What Do Project Managers Do?

The role of an Agile project manager is typically different from that of a traditional project manager. Essentially, the traditional project manager becomes the Scrum Master in an Agile approach. Below are some ways the Scrum Master or Agile project manager role differs from the typical project manager.

Authority – The traditional project manager role is more of a hierarchical position dealing with command and control, whereas the role of Scrum Master is more of a facilitator.

Managing stakeholder expectations – With Agile project management, this responsibility falls under the product owner. The product owner provides the team with leadership and direction, so they can develop the right product and deliver business value based on priority and ROI.

Work assignments – A traditional project manager assigns and supervises the team’s work, but in an Agile setting, it is the responsibility of the team members. The Agile team should be a self-organized group of skilled professionals who remain accountable for the work they commit to in a sprint.

Requirements – It is the product owner’s responsibility to ensure requirements are defined and they must provide adequate direction for the product and services being delivered.

Removing obstacles – This responsibility transfers over from the project manager role to the Scrum Master role in an Agile setting. This involves removing obstacles and providing support to the team.

Leadership and support – It is the Scrum Master who leads and supports the product owner and Agile team by assisting them, facilitating creativity, and fostering empowerment.

The Scrum Master must facilitate the team’s adoption of Scrum with the understanding they have no authority over the team.

As traditional project managers consider making the transition to this role, they will need to adapt and transition their skills, as well as make the move toward an Agile culture.

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