Why Can’t I Become Agile?

PMI Puget Sound Chapter

Ken Whitaker of Leading Software Maniacs (LSM) has more than 25 years of software development executive leadership and training experience in a variety of technology roles and industries. He has led commercial software teams at Software Publishing (remember Harvard Graphics?), Data General, embedded systems software companies, and enterprise software suppliers. Ken is an active PMI member, Project Management Professional (PMP) certified, and a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM). Sources for LSM's material come from case studies, personal leadership experience, the PMI Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) and Ken's leadership books: Managing Software Maniacs, Principles of Software Development Leadership and I'm Not God, I'm Just a Project Manager.

With so many articles and blogs focused on the differences between traditional project management and agile (specifically, Scrum), you probably don’t want to read yet another article on the same subject. I have been surprised (especially with the online discussion blogs) just how established agile practitioners don’t want to let project managers into their “club”. Why can’t project managers become agile?

In my learning seminars I’ve presented around the country, I’ve noticed a consistent theme. Some project managers want to become more agile, but they aren’t sure how to transition to it or what it requires. Especially in the business of leading software/technology projects, where the underlying “learn and discover” type of work fits so well with agile. So I was determined to discover what a project manager needed to do to overcome any and all obstacles to become agile.

If you don’t mind, I’ll focus the discussion on Scrum (and on being a ScrumMaster) specifically even though there are tons of other useful, impactful agile approaches out there.

Key Roles of a Project Manager Vs ScrumMaster
In Andy Jordan’s ProjectManagement.com article “From Project Manager to ScrumMaster”, he states the most important roles for a ScrumMaster include: removing obstacles, …

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If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

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