This is first of a series of blogs to support traditional project managers I am coaching. To help get their bearings in deep and murky waters of Agile projects and Scrum teams.
Before the scrum purists amongst you vehemently shake your heads or berate me on the title, consider being pragmatic. In the Professional Services world there is always a project manager to manage complexity and facilitate the Scrum team(s). My remit is to facilitate and empower the role to help the team, business and customers succeed, rather than debate its applicability and existence.
“Obey the principles without being bound by them.”
– Bruce Lee
I’ll be deep diving into a PM’s role in context to specific Scrum ceremonies in upcoming posts, however its seems apt to start with some health warnings.
Health Warning for Project Managers
A) This is not a guide for you to try and replace the Scrum master (you cannot) or the product owner (you cannot), or both! (you cannot). Nor is it a reference for you to justify imposing your will on the team (you cannot). It’s a guide to enable you to add ‘value’ to the ‘Scrum team’ and fulfill your purpose of managing risk on complex engagements.
B) Please don’t try to fake it till you make it! you will be caught out and the team will loose respect for you. if you don’t know, embrace not knowing and work to change that. Learn, up-skill, ask for help, do a pre-project retrospective on your own experience and discuss it with your Scrum master and/or Agile coach (if you have one). If you go in waving your strengths and weaknesses we will respect you for your courage and openness… they are part of our value system.
C) Own your failures and reflect on them with the scrum master and/or an Agile coach. Don’t look for patsies, the team
will see through it and you will be called out on it. If you are failing, own it, be courageous and open, respect the knowledge and skills your Scrum team has (and you don’t) and in turn you will earn their respect. If you blame someone else for your shortcomings so that you can hide behind them you do not have the DNA to be in an agile environment.
Agility, Scrum it’s a culture thing!
In order for you (a PM) to facilitate a Scrum team (yes your role is one of facilitation only) it is essential that you understand and embrace an agile culture, not just follow parts of a framework (Scrum). Toe-dipping is not going to work, you’re either committed or not.. its time to quit being a chicken and start living like a Pig!
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