Majstro

“We are working agile now, do we still need a project manager?”

…a question that a PMO manager regularly receives nowadays. In most cases from senior management.

The answer is quite straightforward:

• If you are applying agile principles (like Scrum / Kanban / Safe / Less…) and if your goal is to implement small, incremental changes to an existing product / service, then you are probably in ‘business as usual / operational’ modus. In this case, the (scrum) team can probably work on its own, there is no need to add a project manager.

• If you are working agile and if your goal is to implement a project/program (by definition; unique and temporary, it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources) you’ll need a project/program manager. Why? Because you need somebody to follow up planning/budget, invest time in stakeholder management, risk management, reporting, etc.

Can’t a product owner do this?

The main role of the product owner (PO), define & prioritize scope, is different from the role of a PM. You can add both roles in 1 person but the roles are not the same. Also note that the core role of a PO is not new… in waterfall projects you’ll also have a ‘main business spoc’ in the project team, responsible for defining and prioritizing the product scope. Same job, different title.

Can’t a scrum master do this?

Same answer here…different role but yes, theoretically it could be accomplished by the same person. But please make sure the person has both skillsets and don’t expect that a scrum master is by default a good project manager.

If you would like to follow a training that covers the link between agile and traditional project management, I can recommend the following ones:

  • Prince2 Agile practioner
  • PMI ACP
  • Agile PM

Happy to discuss your personal experiences on this topic.

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