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Project Management

The Role Of Project Manager In Agile Environment

A project manager is known as a person who is responsible for the successful implementation of a project in an organization through the five stages of the project management life-cycle. These stages are: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing a project. They maintain and manage the basic constraints of the project. These constraints include:

  • Scope
  • Budget
  • Quality
  • Schedule
  • Risk
  • Resources

Many organizations are drifting away from implementing traditional methods like waterfall methods and are adopting agile techniques. Agile is an approach that drives principles and values under it.

In agile methodologies like Scrum, there isn’t a role of a project manager which can be found. This is because the basic foundation of the manager lies on the set of values is contradictory to that adopted by agile. The roles and responsibilities are distributed amongst the team in agile methodologies, unlike the traditional methods. The main roles in the agile environment are that of a scrum master, team member, and a product owner.

In recent times, a fair amount of agile enthusiasts have taken an evolutionary stand towards the role of a project manager. It is suggested that to fit in agile teams, project managers must adapt their current role into that of scrum master or product owner.

The role of the project manager in an agile team has become old and even with the closer examination on the differences between the scrum master and project manager states that the source of any dispute lies in the change of attitude in the team.

 

Project Manager Vs Scrum Master

The roles of a scrum master and a project manager are quite distinct. For someone who is new to agile, these roles may seem similar.

A project manager ensures the successful implementation of the projects and helps in managing the scope, resources, and timeline so that the requirements of the organizations can be met. Whereas, a scrum master acts as a facilitator and a coach to his team.

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A project manager assures the success of multiple projects while a scrum master mainly focuses on a single team working on the project. The responsibilities of a project manager cannot be interpreted to that of the responsibilities of a scrum master nor do the scrum masters have similar skills of project managers. Here are the differing responsibilities of the two roles:

Project Manager:

  • Manages the budget:
    Estimating the cost of the project and finishing the project within the limit while managing risks.
  • Reports to business leadership on project progress:
    Maintaining a schedule and monitoring the progress of the project for timely delivery.
  • Prioritizes features:
    Focusing on what is required for the project and how close is the outcome matching the requirements.
  • Coordinates with other dependent teams :
    Working closely with other teams and building a relationship with co-workers.

 

Scrum Master:

  • Serves the team where needed: 
    Monitors the progress of the sprint and helps improve team dynamics and performs as a glue that holds the team together.
  • Removes blockers: 
    Focuses on reducing the obstacles that hinder project progress and coaches the product owner. Also, helps team estimate and increase velocity.
  • Promotes continuous communication: 
    This facilitates sprint planning and other scrum meetings
  • .Gives support:
    Motivates the team and supports them in whatever part of the project requires assistance.

However, the responsibilities performed by both roles are not easy to adapt.

 

Performing Specific Tasks

The transition from traditional to agile methodologies in organizations impacts the role of project managers as their responsibilities become irrelevant to the agile team members.

Although the role of the project manager becomes more functional in organizations that prefer traditional approaches where the skills of the scrum masters don’t quite fit in.

Also, agile focuses more on the execution level. Anything beyond that level required a project manager. They can also help with agile teams and manage various tasks. The tasks that can be managed by them in agile teams are:

  • Project financials and governance
  • Status reporting and risk management
  • Identification of missing roles or resources
  • Business stakeholder communication
  • Project planning and change management

 

Conclusion

With the increasing popularity of agile methodologies, one might wonder if the role of the project manager might vanish. The answer to that would be no as the demand for project managers is also high in the market. The only aspect changing is that the functions associated with project managers are switching to a much self-organized and cross-functional way.

A need for product managers in agile environments will increase when an organization adopts agile methodologies. The roles of the product manager complement the skills of a project manager and can produce effective results when worked well alongside.

Many ask if project managers are still required in agile teams, well yes! They are required and they must work with scrum masters and product managers closely so that the organization can function effectively and enhance customer satisfaction.

 

Author Bio: I am Maria Content Marketing Manager and Product Specialist at GreyCampus with eight years rich experience on professional certification courses like PMI- Project Management Professional, PMI-ACP, Prince2, ITIL, Big Data, Cloud, and Six Sigma.