Agile: What’s in it for the Project Manager? (Part 1)

George Dinwiddie is an independent software development coach who helps organizations, large and small, to increase the effectiveness of their software development efforts. He provides guidance over a broad range, at the organizational, process, team, interpersonal, and technical levels. He is currently crusading to break down the barriers that hinder effective collaboration between the business, the programmers, and the testers. George is a frequent speaker at Agile conferences. See his blog at http://blog.gdinwiddie.com.

It’s all very well and good to talk about such things as increasing productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction--these are goals to which businesses aspire. These are also things that help fund our paycheck. And these are things under the influence, if not the control, of the project manager. Therefore, a pitch for any process need only mention the benefits in terms of such organizational goals and the project managers will immediately get in line for the changes, right?

If you’re anything like me, then you probably want to see some personal benefits in addition to the organizational ones; few of us are entirely selfless in our work lives. What’s in it for me? Will it make my life easier? Will I be happier? Will I look good and get raises and promotions? Possibly. There are no guarantees in life, but let’s look at what we can gain by adjusting our approach.

How Project Managers are Judged
I remember a time when I was sent by a Software Development Director to help one of their project managers with an upcoming project. He didn’t want to spend much time with me, as he had a short while to provide the project estimates. The organization wanted to know when the project would end, and how much it would cost.

I asked him what was known about the project. He gave me a brief description of the intent, but said that the business …

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