Projects Managers in Agile



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What is the role of a Project Manager in Agile?

While agile frameworks can be used in the “delivery stage” of a project, today agile frameworks are instead part of product management and the lifecycle of products.

For those people who are used to managing projects there are likely some changes coming your way.

Actions to try

In a Retrospective:

  • Brainstorm the knowledge areas and skills that make for great project management. Put each one on a sticky-note.
  • Sort the sticky-notes against the following roles: Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Developer (team member).

Areas for discussion:

  • Does a Project Manager neatly fit into one or the roles?
  • Where do areas like the budget, reporting on the health of the product, managing stakeholder engagement and expectations, decision authority on the scope of the product, fit into the three roles?
  • Who is empowered to make decisions about release management?
  • What does the Scrum Guide say about the accountabilities of the different agile roles: Scrum Master, Product Owner and Developers?
  • How is Product Management governance different from Project Management?
  • In a transition to agile, what role(s) could Project Managers transition to?

Learning outcomes

Often teams will come to appropriate conclusions through the discussions that they hold as they find cards that they disagree with. However, watch out for situations where they jump to incorrect conclusion or where they miss out on misplaced cards.

One of the regular points that come up during this type of discussion is that the Scrum MasterĀ  is an ‘Agile Project Manager’ or ‘Delivery Manager’. This is not the case. A Scrum Master isn’t accountable for delivery, status or project reporting. They are accountable for ensuring Scrum is effective through supporting the whole team (including the Product Owner) learn how to apply agile effectively.


1. Sutherland, J. & Schwaber, K. (2020) The 2020 Scrum Guide (TM).

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