Managing Agile Teams with Project Managers


The most cumbersome question that comes into mind while transforming the working methodology from traditional methods to modern Agile technology is what happens to the role being performed by the Project manager. As we know that the main roles that perform significant function while delivering projects using agile technology are the Scrum Master Certification, appointed product owner and the developing team members. However, with time the big associations like Project Management Association of Canada (PMAC) and Project Management Institute instated the transformed project manager role and further formed a career path progressing towards more professional project managers. In these upcoming words and article, we shall analyse deeply the function of project manager in the agile projects and connected professional transformation required.

In Agile technology to survive a project manager must transform himself into the role of either a Scrum Master or a skilled Product Owner. The project managers need to adopt some specific attributes, sharpen his skill sets and upgrade his knowledge to transform his role from project manager to an efficient Scrum master or to the required Product Owner according to personal wishes. In this article, we shall elaborate on all the works being performed by the project manager owing to his upgraded skills as a scrum master or product owner.

Following are the few roles that a modified project manager has to perform in order to ensure the smooth functioning of the team.

Managing Agile Teams with Project Managers.

● The Transformed Role of Authority-

Traditionally a project manager’s main role is to manage the team and drive it efficiently in accordance with the project’s objective. However, in the new agile method, the duties of project manager changes from the conventional role to the position serving as a facilitator. This is one of the essential role of project manager in agile technology. He facilitates each member of the team at all the steps.

● The Responsibility of Work Assignments-

As we know that the agile methodology when once embedded in an organization, the organization itself moves from the hierarchical system to a more self-organized system. In the agile methodology, each team member is self-organized and has his own responsibility of completing the work assignment on time according to the final objectives. Hence here the role of project manager works as a scrum master further gets diluted eventually but he has to act as the sole facilitator who reports the work assignments to the stakeholders.

● The Requirement of Giving Direction to Product Formation-

The project manager or transformed scrum master must ensure that each and every step being followed is in synchronization with the objective of the end product to be formed. He must make sure that the requirements are appropriately prioritized, defined and ready.

● Expectations of Stakeholders-

If the project manager wants to take the role which ensures that all the expectations of stakeholders are met, he must transform his skill set from being a project manager to consequently work as a product owner. Became in the agile method, it is the duty of product owner to make available the required leadership and a direction to the requisite team which gets in sync with the stakeholder’s expectations.

● A Role of a Supporter and a Leader-

When the project manager transforms itself into a scrum master, his responsibility changes from being a bossy leader to a servant-leader. Let us elaborate it further, as in agile technology the duty of the scrum master is to assist the whole team as well as the product owner to become more self-organised and become high performers.

● Obstacle Remover-

Whenever the team gets stuck on any technical issue or professional impediment, the scrum master acts as the obstacle remover who resolves the issue and ensures the smooth functioning of the team. This helps all the team members as well as the stakeholders.

● A Motivator-

To bring out the best product in the final stage, it is very necessary that the team remains focused on each and every step of the process. The scrum master ensures that the team is focused and is functioning smoothly. The project manager/scrum master ensures that the team members do not get frustrated due to stingy challenges and keep them motivated all along the way.

● A Communicator-

In the Agile methodology, each team member is self-organized. However, a medium is required to communicate between various members of the team and stakeholders to make them aware of the progress of the project. A timely communication ensures a happy team and satisfied stakeholders which ultimately leads to a smooth process of functioning.

● A Goal Setter-

The project manager has to make realistic goals and assign them to the appropriate team. If the goal and the time frame allotted is far off the line of reality then the whole project can never be a success. The goal must be set very efficiently and must further be assigned to each member of the team according to the skill sets.

● Miscellaneous Roles-

The project manager can dwell as a scrum master as well as perform the duties of product owner. Many of the major roles have been discussed above. However, there are a few other miscellaneous duties and roles that a project manager has to perform from time to time. These include Being an influencer which influences the team, stakeholders and the customers, Being a decision maker that has a crucial role in whole process, Being culturally and politically aware, Being trustworthy towards others, Being able to manage various conflicts arising in a team and also being able to provide timely coaching as required by scenario.

The entity of project manager may have become obsolete in the modern agile technology but the basic notion of managing the team hasn’t changed. The project manager must upgrade his skill sets to transform into a scrum master or product owner so as to keep functioning in the system. The management itself must help the project managers to upgrade themselves because the experience these managers have actually become an added advantage for the new age scrum master. All the above roles mentioned are very crucial and must be performed with great care, effectively and efficiently.

You’ll also like to read: Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Earn Agile Certifications!

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