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Chris Breisch   .NET Data Practices
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Brian Button writes on the hardest part of being an Agile Project Manager.  It is, essentially, remembering to do nothing.  Ok, not nothing, but having as little direct involvement in the team's progress as possible.  Why?  Because you want your agile team to grow as a team, and to be, well, agile.  If Brian gives them the answers to their issues, they become less an agile team, and more of a top-down team.  As he says:

The idea is that the team must learn to recognize the issues that they have, understand what the effects of the issues are to the team as a whole, and figure out how to solve them on their own. If I  do this for them, then I remove a tremendous opportunity for growth from them.

This speaks to the core problem with Agile (not that I think Agile is bad--all methods have their issues, and this is Agile's big one).  Agile projects are if not difficult to manage, at least quite different than managing a BDUF project.  A BDUF PM makes a lousy Agile PM.  The Agile PM has different focus and different responsibilities.  Now, sure, many of the responsibilities are the same.  The Agile PM is still responsible for client expectation management, making sure the team follows the schedule (which is harder to set up), and all the other client relationship responsibilities that go along with being a PM.  But the details of how they're done are quite different.  Your average client understands a BDUF project plan.  It makes sense to them.  An Agile project plan won't.  "You mean you can't tell me how long its going to take to build this screen or how many screens there'll be?" "No, we don't know the answers to those questions yet."  Those kinds of conversations make a client nervous.  Hopefully, the increased visibility into the progress by frequent iterations calms them down, but still, the Agile PM is very busy, and busy in a totally different way than the BDUF PM.

Posted on Monday, April 9, 2007 12:06 PM Architecture | Back to top

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