The Role of Project Manager in Modern Agile Projects

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Many groups adopting an agile development approach fail in ways that can be traced back to the missing project manager role. In other words, they didn't understand what good project managers do in the first place. In this webinar, Dr. Cockburn starts from ten critical project success factors, relates those to PMI project phases and to the overall value and purpose of a project manager.

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The Role of Project Manager in Modern Agile Projects

  1. 1. Slide 1 ©Alistair Cockburn 2003-2010 The Role of the Manager in Modern Agile Projects Alistair Cockburn Humans and Technology totherAlistair@aol.com http://Alistair.Cockburn.us
  2. 2. ©Alistair Cockburn 2003-2010Slide 2 actual route to planned goal [movie “Titanic”] (getting lost) worse goal planned route [1969 lunar landing] better goal [Apollo 13] [ship Wasa] Project Life: Things generally don’t go as planned start planned goalgoal
  3. 3. ©Alistair Cockburn 2003-2010Slide 3 Myths Fixed Truth: You can change the target even with “traditional”. Truth: You can keep the same target even with “agile”. Agile works for even for fixed price, fixed-scope projects ... ( Just don’t change the requirements! :).
  4. 4. ©Alistair Cockburn 2003-2010Slide 4 “Agile” development is cheating legally to win. (Works for fixed-price contracts, too!) Agile Software Development Manifesto, 2001 “... while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.” Individuals and interactions over Processes and Tools Working software over Comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over Contract negotiation Responding to change over Following a plan
  5. 5. ©Alistair Cockburn 2003-2010Slide 5 Historically, “agile” is low-ceremony, light, and people-communication-intensive Common Practices Delivery working product often Colocate team members Write schedule in bits of paper hung on the wall Lighten or dump the heavy requirements document, heavy project plan, long status mtgs Redistribution of Control “We don’t need no stinkin’ project managers tellin’ us what to do !” Managers tell workers to mutiny. Workers refuse. (Agile koan) “When you want your boat to go fast, it is easier to cut anchors than add horsepower.” -- Luke Hohmann
  6. 6. ©Alistair Cockburn 2003-2010Slide 6 The 2005 “Declaration of InterDependence” (http://pmdoi.org)  Continuous flow of value  Frequent interactions with customer, shared ownership  Anticipate, adapt, iterate.  Individuals are the ultimate source of value  An environment where they can make a difference  Group accountability for results  Shared responsibility for teamwork  Situationally specific strategies, processes, practices http://alistair.cockburn.us/The+declaration+of+interdependence+for+modern+management+or+DOI or http://ac.cockburn.us/2091
  7. 7. ©Alistair Cockburn 2003-2010Slide 7 Critical Project Factors Community communication, amicability Focus known priorities, focus time Incremental development & Reflection Nourishment from Executive Sponsors decisions, money People talent, skills, motivation
  8. 8. ©Alistair Cockburn 2003-2010Slide 8 Amicability & Goal alignment Amicability : Willingness to listen with good will “Amicability index” : how easily information passes from one part of the organization to another. Goal alignment Normal team Aligned team
  9. 9. ©Alistair Cockburn 2003-2010Slide 9 The (Project) Manager lives at the boundary: Visibility Decisions $ Interruptions X PM Sponsor(s) developers Communication Goal alignment Reflection Motivation Priorities Amicability Focus time Skills development Community (communication, amicability) Focus (known priorities, focus time) Nourishment from Executive Sponsors (decisions, money) People (abilities, motivation) Incremental development & Reflection
  10. 10. ©Alistair Cockburn 2003-2010Slide 10 Myths Fixed Truth: The (project) manager doesn’t just push paper; S(he) converts a group of people into a team.
  11. 11. ©Alistair Cockburn 2003-2010Slide 11 Learn to avoid (get out of) messes. Osmotic Communication Expert in Earshot Cone of Silence Early Victory Early and Regular Delivery Walking Skeleton Incremental Rearchitecture Sacrifice One Person QA-Rotation SWAT-fix team Cross-specialized Team Function / Component Owners Pause, Reflect, Change Timeout/Regroup Part-Timers as Advisors Process Miniature Progress & Training Teams Rejoining Streams Short-horizon planning Spare Leader Capacity Spike Gold Rush Project 360° Safe Solutioning Session
  12. 12. ©Alistair Cockburn 2003-2010Slide 12 Early Victory Action: Ensure the team delivers something as early as possible, even if only a Walking Skeleton. Benefits: Team learns each other, process Sponsor sees team working together Side effect: Manage expectations for early delivery Overdose: Too simple = Not enough process exercised, not real confidence built Examples: Walking Skeleton
  13. 13. ©Alistair Cockburn 2003-2010Slide 13 Walking Skeleton Action: Connect the architecture with a very simple function as 1st running code. (Grow infrastructure & function in parallel). Benefits: Early Victory, Architecture runs, Parallel development possible Side effect: Manage rework of infrastructure during function development Overdose: If too simple, rework delays project Examples: NBO project
  14. 14. ©Alistair Cockburn 2003-2010Slide 14 The Project Manager’s timeline Initiating Mission statement (1-2 pages) Project priorities chart Planning Project map (low-resolution PERT chart, no times) Blitz planning technique (+ dependencies) Allocation of people & times to project map (+ schedule) Executing & Steering Strategies to avoid & get out of trouble Strong-visibility status charts (information radiators) Pause, reflect, change (both process & plan!) Closing - (retrospectives) Initiating Planning Executing & Steering (& more Planning) Closing
  15. 15. ©Alistair Cockburn 2003-2010Slide 15 Role of the Manager on modern projects * Pull in support * Find strategies * Bring the team together Visibility Decisions $ Interruptions X PM Sponsor(s) developers Communication Amicability Priorities Focus time Skills development Motivation Reflection Osmotic Communication Expert in Earshot Cone of Silence Early Victory Early and Regular Delivery Walking Skeleton Incremental Rearchitecture Sacrifice One Person QA-Rotation SWAT-fix team Cross-specialized Team Function / Component Owners
  16. 16. ©Alistair Cockburn 2003-2010Slide 16 More from Alistair Cockburn: • 3-day agile / Product Owner class in Salt Lake City on September 27 (http://i.cockburn.us/c-100927-cspo/eb) • 3-day Advanced Agile class in San Francisco on October 18 (http://i.cockburn.us/c-101018-adv3day/eb) More from VersionOne: • AgileLIVE’s Moving Agile into the Mainstream, Sept. 29, Noon Eastern, “Agile Release Planning by Example” http://bit.ly/agileLIVE • Want VersionOne product info? Don’t Miss: At VersionOne, We Eat Our Own Dog food – How VersionOne Uses VersionOne next Wednesday at Noon Eastern. http://bit.ly/howV1usesV1

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