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Gambosaka LD

Agile methodolog

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Of course it's possible. He or she (hereinafter, "he") could facilitate team members' needs, call meetings, help prioritize backlog items, track and report progress mid-sprint, and handle personnel issues. Among other things.

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Is it possible to have a project manager in a project using the Agile methodology? How would his role change?

 

In various scenarios, the Project Manager takes on the role of the Scrum Master, but this is highly inaccurate as the Project Manager is not technically a "Pig".

Being the Project/Product Owner would make more sense: the Project Manager's role would be to collect stakeholder's opinions and embody the client as a single entity that has capacity to adjust plans on the fly without having to report back on the nitty-gritty.

 

The last option is the one that Tom has suggested: Logistical support to the team to maximize velocity.

 

Of course, this depends on the actual role of a Project Manager in your organization. I've seen so many jobs labeled with that name now that it's very hard to properly identify the actual skillset of said P.M.

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Of course, this depends on the actual role of a Project Manager in your organization. I've seen so many jobs labeled with that name now that it's very hard to properly identify the actual skillset of said P.M.

Many job titles are like that.  Project manager, development manager, assorted types of directors, producers, and many more are rather vague. They mean one thing at one organization, and something radically different at another organization.

 

A project manager label may have overlap with a producer label, but I typically imagine the role more as a buffer between upper management and the teams' producers, working closely with both. Many times I've seen project managers who were over multiple projects, holding the purse strings. Many other times I've seen project managers who handled the people side of tasks like hiring and scheduling for vacations and such. 

 

There is a need for the tasks at many organizations. 

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In the video game industry specifically, I'd like to think that budget/scope/timeline often falls under a P.M. either holding the manager Responsible or Accountable, depending on the hierarchy involved.

 

Under a SCRUM system, timeline theoretically falls under the team's own self-management, though I imagine most people will agree that even under such system, the P.O. plays a large role into determining when the thing gets "DONE" (modifying scope, thus timeline AND budget along the way).

As a result, I feel any Project Manager, provided he has sufficient Seniority and delves in an organization where the overhead is limited, should be acting as P.O. It feels like the most logical answer under most situations from where I stand.

Some organizations DO handle PM like note-takers and meeting schedulers though.

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A PM in my experience is generally one part facilitator, one part representative, and one part vision.

 

Their job is basically to help work get done, ensure that the work produced is a valuable contribution towards the vision, and to develop and/or communicate that vision with other stakeholders who might come from diverse perspectives (e.g. even non-technical ones like marketing or legal) -- they're the driver of aspirations and single authority for the ground-truth of the product, project, or feature.

 

I don't think Agile conflicts with that particular definition, but the particulars of the job description change from place to place -- even from team to team within larger organizations. That said, if adopting Agile methods changes what you used to call PMs so much that they're made redundant or nigh unrecognizable, then perhaps you never really had 'PMs' to begin with, but something else entirely.

 

Keep in mind also, that Agile methodologies are a a kind of management pattern -- just like software patterns (e.g. Observer, MVVM, and such), they're a somewhat loosely-defined and amorphous body of features who's purpose is to address a recurring challenge flixible application, rather than to demand that the challenge bend its shape to suit the solution. Even though there are books such as Design Patterns by the Gang of Four that enumerate and detail such patterns, there is still no One-True-Visitor pattern, just features of a solution that looks enough like other solutions to similar problems that we collectively call the Visitor pattern, with each solution learning from those before it and shaping the particulars to their precise needs. Likewise, Agile, or any other pattern of management should be applied in the same flexible way, learning from predecessors, taking what works, cutting what doesn't, and inventing new things to fill the gaps. Over time, as enough people have gone through that process, there begins to be an outline of a shape that tends to define a greatest-common-denominator, and what people are generally referring to when they say "Agile" is this core + modifications that are appropriate to your organization or project. No extant project fits perfectly with Agile methods as described by any one source, nor should any new project strive to. At the end of the day its about shipping a product or a feature with consistent quality, on a schedule that doesn't surprise anyone, and without overworking the labor.

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