You said, "Scrum essentially does away with the traditional Project Management role."Sorry Jack, I wasn't picking on you specifically... you were just the third or fourth person who said that this week.
Why do I keep reading this everywhere? Why is this becoming a standard statement? Is it really true?
I not sure it is always true, I think it is dependent on the environment.
My first experience with Agile was at Siemens Medical. On our "project" (product release effort) we ended up having ~5 scrum teams across India and Philadelphia. Each had a scrum master who spent a lot of time focusing the team on the agile transition and the process. We still NEEDED a PM to help coach and guide the teams, scrum masters, and product owners. In this case, the PM and PO (two separate people) were very helpful in guiding the 5 teams to draw their slices of their sprint backlog from a single unifying product backlog. I do not know how we would have done this without a PM and PO. Note: our PO was a person from the clinical domain, I would not have expected him to also fill that role. The scrum master role was focused on helping the team transition and function daily, the PM role focused on interfacing with the company and handling reporting, staffing, metrics, and buffering us from the company (we had 2500 people on our campus alone). The PM (with the PO) was the single voice of the 5 teams to the company, the scrum masters could not have done this.
So the question is... is this an issue of Agile at scale, or was my experience unique due to the domain? Either way, I argue it is not a foregone conclusion that scrum does away with the PM role.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Scrum does not kill the need for a PM...
Jack Milunsky posted on the Agile Software Development blog a great 2nd part article about change caused by agile. I agreed with many of his ideas and points, but one of his statement rubbed me the wrong way. Here is his statement and my response: