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The Changing World of Project Management
Steve Mauk, IT Manager, Infrastructure Project Management, Mr. Cooper [NASDAQ: COOP]
Business seeks value and the beauty of the Agile Manifesto is that when utilized appropriately value is realized earlier in the project than in the Waterfall world.
In the traditional Waterfall project methodology, the Project Manager serves as the center point of the project; expertise is said to be an inch deep and a mile wide, project managers must know a little about of lot of things to ensure smooth project execution. Some of the many skills a PM uses include motivational speaker, master scheduler, meeting facilitator, presenter, financial wizard, engineer, and architect. Along with all those items a good PM knows what he doesn’t know and when to seek expert advice. While some of these things are technical in nature most center around communications and the strongest project managers are great communicators. Scrum is the most commonly used framework in Agile and there is not a role equivalent to the project manager. There are two roles that people commonly assume are the equal of a PM, product owner or scrum master. In reality a PM must adapt to fill one of these roles; it would be dangerous to the project to try and fill both of these roles with one person. The product owner has to fully understand the goals and objects of what the project seeks to deliver so that they may advocate for what delivers the most value as early in the project as possible. The product owner will be deeply involved with the project team to refine the deliverable list throughout the life of the project. Conversely the scrum master works closely with the project team to make sure they can maximize their delivery; the scrum master facilitates the team scrum meetings and helps to remove anything that impedes the project schedule or velocity.
Today’s project manager must evolve as his organization evolves towards an agile delivery framework to use their complete skillset; PM’s continue to provide the extra value to drive organization change beyond that of a product owner or scrum master. There is no role more suited or prepared to drive change than that of a project manager and today’s pm’s have the broad range of skills necessary to evolve into that driver of change to speed organizations down the path to adopting an agile framework over the old waterfall methods.