Project Management

Is Your HR Department Making this Common Training Mistake?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I was recently contacted by a new PM who was working on agile initiatives. He was thoroughly confused as to what his role should be. Put simply, he felt that he had nothing to do on a day-to-day basis because all of the other roles on the project—scrum master, product owner and team members—were operating effectively and efficiently without him. He literally felt as though he had no work, no ability to contribute, and felt guilty being associated with a successful project when he hadn’t contributed to that success.

While every organization will view the role of the project manager in agile a little differently, it is often seen as a communication role with particular focus on business stakeholders; a risk and issue management function; and a leadership role for the people working on the initiative.

These are all critical elements of a successful project, and they are areas where new project managers should still be able to contribute to some degree. So, what exactly was going on here?

Understanding the role
In conversations with this project manager, it was clear that he had only ever received basic PM101-style training alongside colleagues who were working on traditional, waterfall-based projects. As a result, his view of the role of the PM was predicated on that training, and he was unprepared for having to work in an environment that was …

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