Perhaps this is a bit too pedestrian, but maybe we just need a better
term for this role that Jim and Doug have described? I think that role
exists, too, and I agree that Agile Project Manager is an unfortunate
name for it, but I don't think anybody suggested a different term yet.
So, let's see. We don't like the word "Project", we don't like the
word "Manager", and we don't like the phrase "Project Manager". But
"Agile" is OK. What to do?
Agile Release Leader might be a good name for this role. A lot of
agile folks seem to have become less happy with the use of the word
"project" lately, but everybody seems to agree that we still work on
releases when we're working on software. We already understand the
concept of agile leadership fairly well, including the philosophy of
When I test the phrase "Agile Release Leader", which has no historical
baggage, against the things Jim writes about, it seems like an ARL
could be expected to do those things and in so doing, fill a needed
role for many enterprise-class agile software proj...uh...initiatives.
And of course, no ARL worth his or her salt could ever argue that the
title required the exercise of the kinds of command and control
methods that PMs often use.
So, if you believe this role exists, then this might be a good title
for it. If you don't believe it exists, then I suspect you're about to
inform me of that fact. :-)
CSM, CSP, CST
--- In email@example.com, "Jim Schiel" <schiel@...> wrote:
> Interesting thread, though perhaps a little convoluted at times.
> Anyway, I wanted to clarify a perspective that I've seen broached on
> list a couple time and I'll start with what I think is an interesting
> refactoring of the phrase "Agile Project Manager."
> Should we mean by this, "Agile Manager of Project" (which is to say,
> that is somehow embued with agile capabilities), I would tend to
> most of what was said on this thread -- this role MAY not be needed
> room for unexplored/undiscovered possibilities) as most of the
> carried out by the teams.
> However, should we parse this as Agile-Project Manager, we are now
> describing the role as the project manager of an "agile project." From
> experience, this is an important role in a large implementation.
> hinted at several times in the thread that there may be things
> the creation of software that someone should be in a position to
> with other activities. I'll even go so far as to suggest that many
> activities (configuration management, infrastructure support, even
> management) could STILL BE HANDLED by Scrum teams. However, I have
> VERY helpful from a tactical perspective to have one person who
> the schedule of the project (which can get complicated with many Scrum
> teams), reporting to management (you don't want your teams trying to
> together to validate and roll up all of their reports), scheduling with
> external groups (customer service, beta support, sales & marketing,
> etc.). Certainly, you could say that the single point of contact on the
> project should be the PO (likely the PO that the other subordinate POs
> report to), but that role/person will be SO BUSY, that the
> ten or more teams engaged in a project would likely be beyond their
> availability. Sure, have your agile-project manager report to the
> you like, or maybe even a separate Release Manager (separates the
> infuse functionality from the need to deliver to the market -- in a
> organization, POs can get carried away and lose the big picture no
> how hard they try ---- different discussion).
> That's my 2c -- except so say that it's good to have you back on
> From Brussels, Belgium,
> On Mon, Jun 30, 2008 at 3:46 AM, Doug Swartz <daswartz@...> wrote:
> > I've been watching this thread with interest. Not because I'm
> > a project manager, but because I'm a software guy who has
> > worked with some pretty awful project managers.
> > On the other hand, I've worked with some good project
> > managers, on both agile and non-agile projects.
> > So when the two of you say:
> > Sunday, June 29, 2008, 4:05:53 PM, Mitch Lacey wrote:
> > > Let me rephrase with more clarity: I do not believe there is an
> > > Project Manager" role, nor do I think we need one. I think we need
> > > ScrumMasters, product owners, team members, coaches, customer
> > > representatives.
> > I wonder what kind of projects you work with and on. Because
> > there are so many roles in addition to those.
> > Sunday, June 29, 2008, 3:51:26 PM, Ron Jeffries wrote:
> > > Now it might be that there really should be such a thing as an
> > > "Agile Project Manager", in some kind of giant non-software project.
> > > If so, we should work toward defining it. And we should consider
> > > giving it a name that won't be so readily understood.
> > Ron, I wonder if maybe you've forgotten that end-to-end is
> > always farther than you think. In the world I live in (which
> > may or may not be "the real world"), almost all projects are
> > "non-software projects" to a greater or lesser extent.
> > Let's look at recent projects I've worked on. Project managers
> > did things like: Coordinated the business case approval
> > process, coordinated with the end user documentation people
> > and got one of them assigned to the project, worked with the
> > corporate Treasury department to make sure the new bank
> > accounts were set up in time for the product go live date,
> > reminded us (me), of an operations group which needed to be
> > involved, and got them involved, handled executive IT project
> > status reporting so I didn't have to, shepherded the hardware
> > acquisition and installation process through to the install in
> > the data center, etc.
> > Yes, especially on a small project, any or all of these tasks
> > could have been handled by one of the roles mentioned by
> > Mitch. Are they inherent in the descriptions for those roles?
> > I don't think so.
> > So, let's stop talking about whether the term "Agile Project
> > Manager" has meaning, and let's talk about how the project
> > management role differs in agile projects. Let's stop
> > focusing on agile software development and talk about
> > project managers can help the whole organization be more agile
> > and deliver more value to their customers.
> > --
> > Doug Swartz
> > daswartz@... <daswartz%40prodigy.net>
> Jim Schiel
> CST, Danube Technologies
> Look for Danube at Agile2008 - Toronto | August 4 though 8 - Click, Get
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