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Topics: Agile
Do we really still need project managers for a Scrum Team project?

I know we are here in a project manager organization and proud of our role.
The Scrum Guide has exactly 3 roles: Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team. There is no talk of project managers.
I've heard from lecturers that a project manager is still needed. However, I have not received any details so far.
How should the interaction with the other 3 roles work? Are not conflicts then pre-programmed, if then 3 roles try to control with different focus?
Or does the development team act as the project leader, i. e. is part of the self-controlling function of the team?

I look forward to your views and experiences.

Thany you
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Hi Frank, I was wondering almost the same and would also like to have more information about this.

I am working with this type of things from long time including today. Something obvious is the project manager is a role then when you read the role description for defined roles into Scrum (Scrum Guide is the foundation, no other) you will find the project manager role duties distributed some into Product Owner and some into Scrum Master. But what is critical and something missing is project management activities are performed inside Scrum (some of them in implicit way) but is there is not a person that know about that it is hard to be aware about that. What is funny is you will find inside the intention to scalate scrum (which are mess) that program/project manager roles are implicit defined with names like "Super Scrum master" and things like that.

I agree with Sergio.

Keep in mind that Scrum is a framework that is concerned with the Iterative Development part of the project, not the whole project lifecycle while frameworks like DSDM focuses on the lifecycle of the project and you will see the Project Manager role well defined there.

There is no such thing as a "Scrum project". The Scrum Guide has 3 roles but doesn't mention anything about who pays the bills, who is responsible for change management (not change control) and many other 'trivial things' that a PM does.
Scrum is a product development framework, not a project delivery framework. It is enough to read the Scrum Guide to understand that.
In practice PM makes a great PO or at least a PO proxy. PM can also be the SM. SM is not a full time role.
Like Sergio said when scaling Scrum, and I agree with the term mess, the necessity of a PM becomes very evident. It's enough to have a look at SAFe roles to understand.

I agree with Sergio and Rami.

Scrum can cover only the build phase of a (software development) project. There is much more in a project than coding. According to practitioners the build is around 40% of the project effort. The Scrum Team is not even aware of the other 60%.
To better understand the difference between Scrum and Project Management read the PMBoK and try to find the 10 knowledge areas in Scrum. There is a reason why the PMBoK has more than 15 pages.

@Frank, the third role is called Developer and it is not defined as a coder but a contributor to the development of the Product.
The easiest interaction between a project and a Scrum team is delivering the project as a collection of work packages, work packages being delivered by a Scrum Team(s).
A project is defined by scope, time and budget. Scrum assumes that magically the money are available and in a time-boxed delivery the Team will do their best.
In an ideal world that works fine but in the real world someone must first get the money and then justify how they were spent. That's one of the 'trivial' responsibilities of a real PM.

Frank -

While certain activities which would traditionally be done by a PM (e.g. team building) might become a shared responsibility between the Scrum Master & Development Team, a PM is still required whenever the product being produced is large or complex enough or when organization standards or policies require someone to perform a number of governance and control activities over and above development of the product itself.

In scaled agile contexts where you have multiple teams working together, there is a need for "someone" to orchestrate and align the work of the teams, to resolve hurdles which the teams can't resolve from themselves, to manage the expectations of numerous stakeholders, manage financials & risks and so on. If you look at Disciplined Agile Delivery for example, they call out the need for a PM or PgM in such scenarios.


I agree with Kiron.

Governance and financial management are always required in the organisation and the PM is the best to take care of them.

It is not about the title, it's about the function. Probably one of my biggest pet hates for 2018 (and it seems likely to continue into 2019) is that roles are defined by title and not function. Just look at job postings. The things we've been doing for age are now all of a sudden defined as an Agile this and Agile that. They don't want a PM they want an Agile PM as if the Agile adjective means the PM needs a magic set of skills. It's about what you do, not what you are called.

@Anton, Title is important. It is not fair for either SM or PM when the SM is asked to do the PM job because someone decoded that the PM role/function is no longer needed.
I agree with you on the Agile (role) label. It is just a marketing hype but people can have difficulties in finding jobs. I also know SMs that gave up and went back to their old role (BA/Dev) when were asked to manage financials, risk, stakeholders.
The only 'official' Agile PM certification is a money making scheme based on a failed experiment (DSDM).
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