Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Transitioning from Traditional PM to Agile PM



Summary: I meet a number of management professionals - from project/team leads to VPs to entrepreneurs, who lead/execute projects in their organizations. When I speak of Agile in courses such as Agile PMP, PMI-ACP, many questions come on transitioning. Well, explicitly it may not be worded so, but questions are actually on that. The questions raised are all valid – I’ll do the same in their shoes. This post is about transitioning to be an Agile PM (Project Manager) and talks of a specific course (case study driven) developed for this need. 



While going for agile development, the technical team wants (and in fact many times quite enthusiastic) to get in quickly. One of the main reasons, at the risk sounding a bit tough, is this: no one is going to tell the developers or designers or testers on various tasks assignments! But, reality is - the team falters, at least in initial few iterations.


The team is expected to be self-organizing and self-managing. That is not an easy thing to do. So, the project managers or scrum masters take the burden of it initially, guide and lead the team till the team is really self-organizing and self-directing. Other than that, there many practices which are uniquely Agile - value driven development and delivery, refactoring, technical debt, user stories, velocity,  burndown reporting, frequent retrospectives, introspection, loop learning. Even a simple sounding agile practice - iterative and incremental - is misunderstood by many! And again, sounding as the odd man out, I know many instances these do not happen at all.  

Also, the managers, who are answerable to the executives, have to provide executive reports, have to follow on government or regulatory compliance etc. and have to show results. 

Here are some questions that I’ve come across in last couple of months:
  1. You say plans are not important. But then you say, you are delivering on features in every iteration. What exactly happens to the project management plan? Do you have any plan at created?
  2. Is there a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) in Agile? If not, how will you know what are you delivering against? 
  3. You say everyone in the team participates in estimation. Well, it need not be that way. Not everyone knows on every other feature. People have domain expertise. Why waste the time of others, who know little to nothing about the feature?
  4. You say “Just Barely Sufficient” documentation. How about the executives? They ask about the reports! What kind of reports and reporting is there in Agile?
  5. Is there any chartering process? You are saying individuals and interactions are important than processes. What happens to the project charter?
  6. Your estimation approach on relative sizing is distinct and unique. But at the end of the day people spend time in hours. The clock runs in hours – not in story points! How exactly are you going track?
Projects and project management have been there for quite some time, across industry verticals.  Agile development is well fit in industries where product work is complex, uncertain and goes through a lot of changes.

Transitioning  to a new role is not easy. It takes time, patience and most importantly a mindset change. 

This 2-day course in “Transitioning from Traditional Project Manager (PM) to Agile Project Manager”, will give you a solid base on Agile related principles and practices - covering multiple frameworks/methodologies such as Scrum, Kanban, XP, Lean, FDD, ASD, Crystal, DSDM and others. You will know on transition to agile environment and how to create plans, monitor, track and adapt in your project and continuously improve upon it. 

More details about the course: 
  • Transitioning from Traditional PM to Agile PM - Course Overview (Link)
  • Transitioning from Traditional PM to Agile PM - Course Agenda (Link)
  • Transitioning from Traditional PM to Agile PM - Course Benefits (Link)
  • Transitioning from Traditional PM to Agile PM - Who Can Attend (Link)
  • Transitioning from Traditional PM to Agile PM - FAQ (Link)

The course details are available in the Agile page. The agenda of the course is embedded into the post. All the modules of this course are based on two simple questions.

1. What I did then (as a traditional PM)?
2. What I have to do now (as an agile PM)?






For a detailed breakdown of the course content, send a mail to managementyogi@gmail.com.


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