This post was originally published here.
By “PM”, I’m referring to Project Managers. Adopting Agile can be a scary proposition for those entrenched in waterfall processes. I have a lot of sympathy for PMs whose dev team decides to switch to Agile out from under them. PMs need not be left behind, and in fact, have a very valuable role in Agile development, just not what they might be used to. I see it as a re-education on the reality of software development, that Gantt charts don’t define reality, they distort and mislead those trying to make decisions based on reality. Here are a list of references that will help those on the PM side try to make sense of those crazy developers and their Agile ideas.
- Intro to Agile and overview
- Quick intro into Lean, an Agile management process, from Fred George, a VP at ThoughtWorks
- Agile & Iterative Development: A Manager’s Guide, Craig Larman
- A great book on the history of iterative development and an overview of several Agile processes
- Agile Project Management, Jim Highsmith
- Guide for PMs to learn or adapt Agile
- Agile Manifesto
- Also check out the list of principles
- Specific processes
- Scrum process guidance from the VSTS process template, Scrum for Team System
- Great presentation and overview of Scrum
- Agile Software Development with SCRUM, Ken Schwaber
- Explanation of key Scrum roles, artifacts, and processes in more detail
- Agile Project Management with Scrum, Ken Schwaber
- Case studies from PM and other role’s viewpoints on many different projects and scenarios
- Enterprise Scrum, Ken Schwaber
- Scaling Scrum out to the enterprise level
- Lean Software Development, Mary Poppendieck, Tom Poppendieck
- More information on Lean, which evolved from the Toyota production system
- Other PM-related activities
Eliminating the PM role is ultimately a mistake for a dev team moving to Agile, as someone eventually has to answer the $$$ questions. Putting the onus on the development team/organization to determine costs, staffing, direction, etc., can drag their focus away from delivering business value. Not having a PM on your team (or reducing the role of the PM) is the quick-and-dirty fix to a dev team’s Gantt chart nightmares, but eliminating that role won’t address the business needs of having the role in the first place.