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The Agile Project Managers

In Today's scenarios to remain competitive in the market companies has to deliver high quality product within short duration of time. Products have to be up to date to fulfill customers' requirements. Agile methodology helps to overcome the time consuming process that were taken by the traditional practices in software industries. Agile bring new challenges in a project team and helps them to learn new skills and new approaches to deliver the solutions in time. Agile provides entirely a new framework for project planning, managing time, cost and scope. It encourages managers to embrace change and manage risk by delivering working software. Coaching, team building, facilitation, collaboration and dedicated leadership skills becomes the significant skills of managers. These skills make agile managers to deliver values in the uncertain market.

For Product Managers, successfully transitioning to agile methods depends on closer collaboration and communication with the team, owning the product vision, and continuously guiding the team to build the best product possible given the rapidly changing objectives of the business.

Early days practices in software industries

Traditional projects begin with scope as the primary constraint, and it use to come up with long list of product requirements. Project managers after having the scope use to work to gather the estimates form each functional area impacted by the requirements. Estimates were done in real hours and based on little information about how the requirements will actually be implemented in working software. These estimates are used to calculate the number of people needed and additional cost.

Similarly team had limitation in there real data to estimate the volume of work they have. Even project managers don't know which team is perfect one to handle this project. Time estimation of delivery of project and project reliability was very hard to predict. Man power requirement and cost management were troublesome. Managers used various scheduling process to make the project confirm to their approved plan.

This approach has not proven a reliable indicator of project size, duration, or success and makes the goal of predictable project planning nearly impossible. To further complicate the problem, this approach assumes perfect knowledge of the requirements and does not easily accommodate change due to the sunk costs incurred in upfront planning.

Agile project management

Agile projects consider raised time and cost as their primary constraints, which is established before the scope of the project is defined. Project manager access time and money and their outcomes on the project rather than beginning to schedule development with an assessment of project scope which was practiced in traditional methods.

Role of Agile project Manager

In Agile, team takes the responsibility for delivery and should be allowed to organize in a way to maximize their success. Team has freedom to decide how the work will be done. The tradeoff for this freedom is frequent deliveries. The team has commitment to the business at the beginning of this iteration process and is accountable for delivering on that commitment. Role of project manager is to recognize the decisions made by team for project success. Agile manager expects best out of the people so elevate the individuals and respect them. They help foster a team culture that values people and encourages healthy relationships. Agile Project Manager helps establish a culture of delivery and work with the team to get better at delivering working software. To this end, the Project Manager helps establish the policies, procedures, and metrics that drive overall project performance.

Skills set for the Agile Project Manager

The Agile Project Manager relies much more on people facilitation skills that they may have on traditional projects. The Project Manager's role is to facilitate discussion between team members and help remove organizational impediments that stand in their way. In addition to facilitation, coaching, and team building, the Agile Project Manager should think about software development processes in new ways. Agile encourages the Project Manager to decouple the breadth and depth of the solution and use techniques such as rolling-wave planning and progressive elaboration to define project schedules. This may present challenges for the business who is accustomed to completely defining time, cost, and scope constraints at the onset of the project. The Project Manager will learn to communicate how progressive elaboration reduces risk and ensures better project outcomes. Developing a solid understanding of agile software processes will help the Project Manager understand how to organize agile teams and better determine what skills are needed to deliver the overall project. Understanding agile team dynamics and collaborative decision making techniques is important because Agile Project Management involves leading teams that are self-organizing. The Project Manager acts as servant leader and facilitator first and behaves in ways that empower teams to reach their own conclusions. These skills enable the Project Manager to accept input from all the team members and project stakeholders while gaining their commitment to project outcomes.

Outcome of Agile Project Management

In Agile, Work breakdown structures are based on deliverables. Project manager can make project plans based on feature based deliverables. He can easily define what features need to be in system and by what time. Daily meeting by agile teams while managing projects provides daily checkpoints. It increases visibility between team members and give the project manager real time information on the progress of project deliverables. These meetings can help foster a sense of team work and collaboration and drive shared accountability for project outcomes.

Conclusion

Getting the right products to market faster than your competition is more critical than ever before. Traditional project delivery frameworks cannot deliver fast enough in fast changing, highly uncertain environments. Agile project management allows teams to deliver on time and on budget with the product features most important to the business. The Project Manager can play a key role on an agile project. To be successful, the Project Manager needs to shift their thinking about managing time, cost, and scope constraints and take a new approach to managing uncertainty, risk, and change. Project Managers will learn new skills for developing project schedules, tracking progress, and controlling project schedules. They will learn the importance of collaborating with project stakeholders and the team. Success will depend largely on the Project Manager learning these new approaches to managing projects and the teams that deliver them.

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