Enterprise Agile Development - Why you still need Project Managers

I've been asked lately about the role of project managers on agile or SCRUM teams. While project managers can perform specific roles within the team, they often perform functions that go beyond the scope of an agile team's direct responsibilities. Some specifics:
  • Scrum and agile are very team and inward facing. Project managers help manage all the external dependencies including vendors, suppliers, partners, infrastructure teams, security concerns, etc.
  • Another way of saying this - who do you think should handle the 'big' blocks?
  • Enterprises often require more medium and long term planning beyond the story backlog that a product owner maintains. Project managers should be tasked with this scheduling.
  • Enterprises ask for cost estimates. Project managers provide them.
  • Project managers should be tasked to capture development metrics. Specifically, there will come a point where a stakeholder will challenge whether or not the team's estimates are accurate or if they are committing to full capacity. Project managers help arbitrate in these circumstances.
  • Story writing in a large enterprise can be complex, especially when multiple stakeholders representing different concerns need to review and contribute to acceptance criteria. Project managers oversee the story writing process to insure proper governance and completion.
  • Agile practices evolve. Project managers are often tasked with process improvement.
  • When you're working with multiple teams and resource pools, project managers can adjust team sizes/skills based on demand.
  • Project managers most often double as business analysts. They can often perform data, workflow, and other analytics that your development team can manage.
  • Most projects are not developed fully in house. When outsourcing a component is an option, project managers can help develop RFP's and review vendor options.
Make sense? I'm sure I'm leaving out some details.


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