In our last post, we described an exercise for discovering how traditional Project Management duties are shared by the 3 Scrum roles. We raised the question: Is there still enough left to justify a Project Manager? If not, what is the PM to do?
1. The PM has other things to do that we did not identify. This could be the case if the PM has many projects or plays some other role in the organization. Or they may have other things to do that are not getting done during daylight hours. This idea comes from a similar exercise from Pete Deemer that I patterned this one after. It is used to answer the same question about functional managers. See this article for an eye-opening revelation about the great opportunities for managers when development teams are self-organized.
2. The second scenario is that the PM assumes the role of ScrumMaster. A recent parade of job requisitions marching past my desk suggest that many companies are conflating PM and SM. This sounds like a risky proposition to me but it is understandable that people with limited understanding of Scrum might make this mapping from SM to what appears to be the closest position in a traditional software development organization.
Can the Project Manager become the ScrumMaster? I think the answer is “yes”, provided some shifts in perspective and expectations are made. Some PMs have an easier time of it than others. At the APLN/PMI event we had more time for this exercise than I have in the CSM class so we took it a bit farther. We explored the differences between a PM and a SM by collecting answers to two questions. Note that the answers came from PMPs, not from me. I do not have training as a Project Manager.
- What do we expect from a ScrumMaster that is different from what we expect from a traditional Project Manager?
- Bring out the best in the Team
- Don’t try to control the Team
- Spark new thinking, facilitate creativity
- Actively building trust
- More learning from others
- What are some new opportunities available to existing Project Managers?
- Professional development for self and others
- Help people be more self sufficient
- Become an Agile coach
- Align self with strategic goals of the organization
- Have higher expectations of the people doing the work
3. In a contracting situation, the Project Manager is in charge of the business relationship with the customer. This one shows up in the table as a line item but there is a lot to it. We are not talking about the Product Owner role here, that of defining the functionality desired by the client. We are talking about the day to day communication that a PM does to keep the client in the loop and up to date on contractual matters. There is not really a Scrum role for this – it is outside of the basic Scrum framework. Or is it?
4. I have encountered another scenario in a company that builds musical electronics. They have a PM on the Team who has the job of handling the deliverables between the software Team and the hardware team.
5. Agile multi-team product development groups sometime have a Project Manager to coordinate the flow of information across teams and from teams to other stakeholders. While a Scrum of Scrums does some of this, a PM role has emerged in some cases.