Agile Series #4: A Great Project Manager Participates

Welcome to the fourth of twelve articles where we talk about the do’s (and some of the don’ts) of Project Managing Agile Projects.  During this series we will work our way through the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto and talk about how it relates to you, a project manager and your project.

Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. (Beck, 2001)

Projects are delivered by teams. As such we often see excellent results when Agile methodology is employed in combination with great leadership and often the project manager is seen as providing hands-on leadership.  This is not always easy.  As humans, we like to take control of the situation or do the work ourselves. Sometimes it is hard to “let go” of that work. This ends with a mindset along the lines of “only I can do this right”.  For project managers, this can be disastrous and lead to some very difficult situations.

Participation in project management occurs when some of the control of the project is shared with key stakeholders. This is in all parts of the project, especially decision making. Sharing the project gives all stakeholders ownership over “their part” of the project and can assist the project manager to identify the true requirements of the project. Allowing shareholders to participate should not be a superficial exercise.  It means truly involving them in all parts of the project, including design, planning, implementation, monitoring, adaptation and the final project sign off as well as the follow up project evaluation.

Having active participation often means that there is less conflict between stakeholders as they all tend to converge on working towards the same goal.  The outcomes of this alignment means that projects can often be delivered closer to timelines agreed by all stakeholders as well as meeting requirements.

To summarise, participation in project management will always triumph over taking control.  While there is a time and place for steering a project, the more that you can share the project, the better will be the outcomes.

with the workload and responsbility shared, it is more important than ever to keep the team motivated.  The next article will delve into this further.

References

Beck, K. B. (2001). Agile Manifesto. Retrieved from Agile Manifesto: http://agilemanifesto.org

Siles, R. (2020, June 01). Project Participation. Retrieved from Project Managment in Development Organizations: https://www.pm4dev.com/pm4dev-blog/entry/project-participation.html

Williams, C. (2013, May 2013). Agile Manifesto – Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation. Retrieved from Source Allies: https://www.sourceallies.com/2013/05/agile-manifesto-working-software-over-comprehensive-documentation/