Understanding the PM's Role During and After a Transition to Scrum (Part 1)

Chris Merryman, MBA, PMP, is a Project Management practitioner with over 12 years of experience in the IT industry and has developed and worked on several complex software and hardware projects utilizing PMI's Project Management practices and Scrum methodology. Chris can be reached at www.linkedin.com/in/chrismerryman/

As the agile software development framework and its many methodologies continue to make inroads into software development projects of all complexities and sizes, many companies are re-evaluating their personnel requirements. This is causing concern for many project managers currently managing waterfall and other traditional development methods.

One of the most popular agile methodologies adopted by many organizations is Scrum, which is similar to other agile methods in that it does not formally recognize the project manager role. A key difference with Scrum is the team structure and introduction of three new roles: Developer Team, ScrumMaster and Product Owner. This does not mean the PM role is no longer needed in a Scrum environment. To understand the project manager’s new role, an organization must first evaluate the fundamental changes that take place when transitioning to Scrum. Then an analysis of the differences between the existing PM role and the new roles introduced by Scrum will be needed; that will lead to a conclusion of the role of the project manager in a Scrum environment.

Fundamental Changes
When an organization chooses to transition to Scrum, the most popular agile method [1], it is not an overnight process or easily accomplished--more than 70% of implementations fail [2]. To be successful, an organization must first objectively identify …

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