Agile framework work flow is a mature methodology for organizing teams, the efforts of the members, and the collaboration of the members. In certain industry circles, this method is commonplace, but is usually isolated to select functional departments within a corporate structure. Software development departments by far are the most prevalent Agile centered teams, such to the extent that fresh graduates entering the full time workforce are “Agile ready” right from the get-go. This is the case due to work term experience, but as a case in point it demonstrates the need for a Project Manager to understand this powerful methodology in order to get the very best from their team.
The key distinction for a Project Manager is to differentiate between “getting the Job done” and “getting the Work done”. The Job and the Work are obviously associated, but are two very different things when it comes to Project Management. The Job is the bigger picture aspect of a project team’s day to day activities. The Job must be focused on the goals, statement of work, requirements, stakeholder expectations, risks, opportunities, finances, and key milestones. These are all part of what I call the linear timeline. The timeline can be pre-planned and effectively managed applying a waterfall methodology. The Work is dynamic which simply is a misfit into the timeline management model. The Project Manager must be very aware of this and be effective in keeping the two worlds running on the same path. Please check out my blog posts on blending waterfall and agile.
An effective Agile Project Manager does not have to be a Scrum Master, but does have to embrace the operating mode and ensure that the agile team is always sprinting towards the goal posts set by the linear timeline. In small organizations, it can be difficult to separate the pure technical management roll, so sometimes the PM has to wear many hats. None the less, I just want to make the point that an Agile PM doesn’t have to be a Scrum Master to be effective.
Agile framework dynamic work flow visualization is very different than linear waterfall visualization. From a toolbox aspect, I have found that JIRA is the best platform that I have used. Whether the team is co-located or global, JIRA provides a great adaptive environment to structure, collaborate, and provide metrics that are meaningful to the team getting the work done.