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Agile Project Managers

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  • Ken Schwaber
    Another question for this group. What is the role of a project manager, agile or otherwise, in Scrum. I know that they are a great source for ScrumMasaters
    Message 1 of 107 , Jun 20, 2005
      Another question for this group. What is the role of a project
      manager, agile or otherwise, in Scrum. I know that they are a great
      source for ScrumMasaters once they learn not to be prescriptive, not
      to use commmand and control, and that living with no authority can be
      a wonderful things. But, I saw a posting for Agile Project Managers
      that said that their mission was:

      # We increase return on investment by making continuous flow of value
      our focus.

      # We deliver reliable results by engaging customers in frequent
      interactions and shared ownership.

      # We expect uncertainty and manage for it through iterations,
      anticipation, and adaptation.

      # We unleash creativity and innovation by recognizing that individuals
      are the ultimate source of value, and creating an environment where
      they can make a difference.

      # We boost performance through group accountability for results and
      shared responsibility for team effectiveness.

      # We improve effectiveness and reliability through situationally
      specific strategies, processes and practices.

      The problem I had when I read this was this seemed an extension of
      traditional project management, where the project manager is
      responsible for the success of the project. This was appropriate when
      nobody else had any idea what was going on and a project plan was
      pulled together by the project manager and then run by the project
      manager. However, this doesn't happen in Scrum. With iterative,
      incremental development, the Product Owner, or customer, is
      responsible for the ROI and success of the project by checking out
      what is built every Sprint end and choosing to proceed or not, to
      redirect or not. The customer is responsible for the success. The
      customer is responsible for managing through iteration by iteration
      uncertainty.

      And the performance, effectiveness, pleasure of development are the
      responsibility of the team, which is responsible for managing itself
      through the uncertainty of the Sprint.

      The ScrumMaster (was known as Project Manager) is responsible for the
      processs. If the process is known, understood, and followed by
      everyone, the rest is self optimizing. I view the ScrumMaster as like
      a parent that teaches the children how to be all of those things until
      they are knowledable and mature enough to do it on their own. However,
      the ScrumMaster never owns these things, they just work to have the
      customer and team fulfill their responsibilities within Scrum. I would
      never expect a ScrumMaster to say, "I was responsible for the success
      (roi, productivity, etc.) of that project," any more than I would
      expect a parent to say, "I was responsible for my child's success."
      Facilitator, not authority.

      The end of the project manager, the birth of the ScrumMaster, a
      transient job valid until the organization has changed and is
      self-managing.

      Comments?
      Ken
    • ldrews
      I like it! Very nice balance. Larry in Florida ... you read ... was used ... company ... public and ... spreadsheet. ... most of ... seen at ... question as
      Message 107 of 107 , Jul 15, 2005
        I like it! Very nice balance.

        Larry in Florida

        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Jeff Sutherland
        <jeff.sutherland@c...> wrote:
        > Jim,
        >
        > I've done performance reviews in a way that meets your needs (did
        you read
        > my previous posting on this?). In fact, a variant of what follows
        was used
        > at IDX which has some similarities to Siemans.
        >
        > Prior to IDX, I was VP of Engineering at Individual and guess who was
        > ScrumMaster? Ken Schwaber! Together, we completely reengineered that
        company
        > around Scrum. We had great fun at Individual. It had just gone
        public and
        > had $60M to spend on buying other internet startups in 1996.
        >
        > I just put the performance evaluation process we used on the web at:
        > http://jeffsutherland.com/Individual/review_process.html
        >
        > At the end of a document is a link to:
        > http://jeffsutherland.com/Individual/review_template.html
        >
        > The review allowed the rating to be autocalculated in an Excel
        spreadsheet.
        > It was great for developers because it was so quatitative.
        >
        > Everyone liked it except Ken who is averse to any paperwork so I did
        most of
        > them. I thought it worked better than any review process I have ever
        seen at
        > any company and I've used a variant of it at several companies.
        >
        > Jeff Sutherland
        > Certified ScrumMaster Training
        >
        > On 7/13/05, Jim Schiel <james.schiel@s...> wrote:
        > >
        > > I'm going back to the original email to take a crack at the
        question as
        > > asked. As a manager with a strong interest in techniques in
        performance
        > > management and great respect for Scrum as a way for enabling a
        level of
        > > collaboration between team members unmatched (and, indeed, nearly
        > > ignored by previous "non-agile" methods), how to reward my employees
        > > and evaluate their performance has been a matter of great concern to
        > > me. I may not have found the best solution, but the method I am using
        > > is the result of discussions with the team itself to understand what
        > > they thought was the fairest way to handle it. Understand also that my
        > > company requires performance plans to be written and maintained
        > > throughout the year. Performance plans are written as a discussion
        with
        > > the employee (not in a vaccuum by just the manager). Annual
        performance
        > > reviews are the method we use, and annual raises (if any) are a direct
        > > result of the rating in the performance review.
        > >
        > > What I do with my employees now is create multiple objectives. One
        > > (possibly two) of these objectives are TEAM objectives -- where the
        > > employee receives the same rating as everyone else on the project. If
        > > the project is successful, the employee benefits from that success.
        > >
        > > At the same time, I work on specific, individual objectives with my
        > > employees, targeting improvement in skills that will in some way
        > > improve the employee's career possibilities (technical skills,
        > > professional experience and skills, ability to be a Scrum Master,
        etc.)
        > >
        > > To balance the individual objectives vs. the team objectives, each
        > > objective has a weight that is used to determine the final rating. The
        > > weight can be used to help me account for the individual's ability to
        > > influence the course of the sprint.
        > >
        > > Now -- before the posts begin with regard to influence...
        > >
        > > New employees and inexperienced employees don't necessarily have the
        > > ability to influence a project or sprint outcome in the same way
        that a
        > > more experienced employee can. Similarly, some employees are added to
        > > the project team late in the project cycle and can have only a limited
        > > affect on the course of the project. By using weights on objectives, I
        > > can provide some balance between the relative experience of an
        employee
        > > and their ability to affect a project outcome.
        > >
        > > This method allows me to encourage positive team behavoirs and project
        > > ownership while, at the same time, helping support the growth of an
        > > individuals' skills and even how those (hopefully) improved skills
        > > provide benefit to the team in general.
        > >
        > > Jim Schiel
        > > Siemens
        > >
        > >
        > > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Adrian Ferrier"
        > > <aferrier@a...> wrote:
        > > > Hi All,
        > > >
        > > > Are there any texts out there you can point me to that guide Annual
        > > > Team Member Performance Reviews under Scrum for Agile Managers?
        > > >
        > > > thanks
        > > > ajf
        > >
        > >
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