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What is a project manager?

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  • Ian Collins
    After reading through the recent Management thread, I d like to establish a metaphor here: what do people define as a project manager? By way of background,
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 15 1:28 AM
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      After reading through the recent Management thread, I'd like to
      establish a metaphor here: what do people define as a project manager?

      By way of background, on my last project (embedded) our project manager
      had little or no influence on the software development. The on site
      customer requested the feature and the team delivered. One member of
      the team kept track of the velocity and this was fed into the project
      plan at each iteration planning meeting.

      The project manager was freed to manage the Project as whole, he
      coordinated between the teams working on the project (hardware, test,
      manufacturing). If this had been a pure software project, his role
      would simply have been one of reporting upwards.

      So my understanding of a project manager is one who coordinates the
      different aspect of a project and ensures that development activities
      occur at the correct time, in the correct sequence. He/she isn't a man
      manager. He/she is part of the customer team, representing the
      interests of the "business".

      Cheers,

      Ian
    • Curtis Cooley
      ... I had a similar experience when I helped convert a project to XP. The project manager was playing the role of the typical software project manager. The
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 15 11:41 AM
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        On 7/15/05, Ian Collins <ian@...> wrote:
        > After reading through the recent Management thread, I'd like to
        > establish a metaphor here: what do people define as a project manager?
        >
        > By way of background, on my last project (embedded) our project manager
        > had little or no influence on the software development. The on site
        > customer requested the feature and the team delivered. One member of
        > the team kept track of the velocity and this was fed into the project
        > plan at each iteration planning meeting.
        >
        > The project manager was freed to manage the Project as whole, he
        > coordinated between the teams working on the project (hardware, test,
        > manufacturing). If this had been a pure software project, his role
        > would simply have been one of reporting upwards.
        >
        > So my understanding of a project manager is one who coordinates the
        > different aspect of a project and ensures that development activities
        > occur at the correct time, in the correct sequence. He/she isn't a man
        > manager. He/she is part of the customer team, representing the
        > interests of the "business".
        >
        I had a similar experience when I helped convert a project to XP. The
        project manager was playing the role of the typical software project
        manager. The team had weekly status meetings and we saw the manager
        every day, doing project management things.

        As the team, and the manager, began to grok XP, and the customer began
        steering the project, the project manager changed. The weekly status
        meetings stopped and we didn't really see him or notice him much
        anymore. But nothing ever got in our way, and whenever we needed
        equipment or more space and anything, we got it.

        Once freed from the 'drudgery' of managing the team, he was able to
        start managing the project. He became the umbrella that shielded us
        from the fear of upper management because we actually reported real
        status, which was 'slower' than the status they were used to. He was
        also free to work with upper management to get the things we needed to
        complete the project.

        One important point is that he was not afraid to change his role and
        not afraid to lose control of the team. He embraced the fact that his
        duties were changing and was very proactive in adopting new roles and
        duties to help the project.
        --
        Curtis Cooley
        curtis.cooley@...
      • Ian Collins
        ... Good to see I m not alone in this experience! Is this the typical role for a project manager in an XP environment? ... This is the hardest thing for them
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 15 6:30 PM
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          Curtis Cooley wrote:

          >>
          >>
          >I had a similar experience when I helped convert a project to XP. The
          >project manager was playing the role of the typical software project
          >manager. The team had weekly status meetings and we saw the manager
          >every day, doing project management things.
          >
          >As the team, and the manager, began to grok XP, and the customer began
          >steering the project, the project manager changed. The weekly status
          >meetings stopped and we didn't really see him or notice him much
          >anymore. But nothing ever got in our way, and whenever we needed
          >equipment or more space and anything, we got it.
          >
          >Once freed from the 'drudgery' of managing the team, he was able to
          >start managing the project. He became the umbrella that shielded us
          >from the fear of upper management because we actually reported real
          >status, which was 'slower' than the status they were used to. He was
          >also free to work with upper management to get the things we needed to
          >complete the project.
          >
          >
          >
          Good to see I'm not alone in this experience!

          Is this the typical role for a project manager in an XP environment?

          >One important point is that he was not afraid to change his role and
          >not afraid to lose control of the team. He embraced the fact that his
          >duties were changing and was very proactive in adopting new roles and
          >duties to help the project.
          >
          >
          This is the hardest thing for them to do. It takes courage to give up
          control, especially for the personality types drawn to management.

          Cheers,

          Ian
        • Jeffrey Fredrick
          ...or it takes the understanding that they only had the illusion of control anyways. :) (said as a project manager) Jtf ... ...
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 16 9:19 PM
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            ...or it takes the understanding that they only had the illusion of
            control anyways. :)

            (said as a project manager)

            Jtf

            On 7/15/05, Ian Collins <ian@...> wrote:
            > Curtis Cooley wrote:
            ...
            > >One important point is that he was not afraid to change his role and
            > >not afraid to lose control of the team. He embraced the fact that his
            > >duties were changing and was very proactive in adopting new roles and
            > >duties to help the project.
            > >
            > >
            > This is the hardest thing for them to do. It takes courage to give up
            > control, especially for the personality types drawn to management.
            ...
          • Curtis Cooley
            ... I think so, though I don t see the transformation very often. XP is lean, so it leans towards self organizing teams. This frees the PM from the day to day
            Message 5 of 6 , Jul 18 8:27 AM
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              On 7/15/05, Ian Collins <ian@...> wrote:
              > Curtis Cooley wrote:
              >
              > >>
              > >>
              > >I had a similar experience when I helped convert a project to XP. The
              > >project manager was playing the role of the typical software project
              > >manager. The team had weekly status meetings and we saw the manager
              > >every day, doing project management things.
              > >
              > >As the team, and the manager, began to grok XP, and the customer began
              > >steering the project, the project manager changed. The weekly status
              > >meetings stopped and we didn't really see him or notice him much
              > >anymore. But nothing ever got in our way, and whenever we needed
              > >equipment or more space and anything, we got it.
              > >
              > >Once freed from the 'drudgery' of managing the team, he was able to
              > >start managing the project. He became the umbrella that shielded us
              > >from the fear of upper management because we actually reported real
              > >status, which was 'slower' than the status they were used to. He was
              > >also free to work with upper management to get the things we needed to
              > >complete the project.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > Good to see I'm not alone in this experience!
              >
              > Is this the typical role for a project manager in an XP environment?
              >
              I think so, though I don't see the transformation very often. XP is
              lean, so it leans towards self organizing teams. This frees the PM
              from the day to day details. How they use that freedom is up to them.
              --
              Curtis Cooley
              curtis.cooley@...
            • David H.
              ... Usually they go on to become very good ScrumMasters :) -- Sent from gmail so do not trust this communication. Do not send me sensitive information here,
              Message 6 of 6 , Jul 18 9:56 AM
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                > I think so, though I don't see the transformation very often. XP is
                > lean, so it leans towards self organizing teams. This frees the PM
                > from the day to day details. How they use that freedom is up to them.
                > --
                Usually they go on to become very good ScrumMasters :)

                --
                Sent from gmail so do not trust this communication.
                Do not send me sensitive information here, ask for my none-gmail accounts.
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