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What is the role of the project manager in an Agile project that has a Product Owner and a Scrum master on the team ?

In my view a project manager assigned to an Agile project, can fill the role of Scrum master/Product Owner/Team member according to his/her inclination, experience, background, skills, etc... But assigned to a project where these roles have already been filled ? I believe the value add is in coordination (eg. virtual teams), internal/external communications, customer relationship (supporting PO), contract management, risk management, quality management...Comments ?
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I imagine a PM might be particularly useful in coordinating interactions between teams participating in a Scrum of Scrums, particularly if those teams aren't co-located.


If your team is actually using Scrum, then there is no role for a project manager. There may be work a PM can do to help the developers, but the PM should generally stay out of their way and let them self-manage. If they don't need a PM's help, the PM should have the courage to admit it and find another position. This is tough to accept, but it's better than filling a position with no responsibilities and which adds no value.

On the other hand, if your organization isn't really using Scrum, then I have to ask what value the scrum master adds.

In SCRUM, you could say that Scrum Master could fix as project manager.

I think, in SCRUM, a Product Owner can be mapped to Project Manager.

This is from one of my experiences...though not called as SCRUM but a Hybrid Model.

In the pure SCRUM approach there is no role called PM. However, a former "traditional PM" can take over the role as SCRUM-master as long as he/she is aware, educated and ideally alraedy experienced with the agile values, mindset and processes.
In projects like SAP implementations where you have an hybrid approach like the SAPActivate framework, I still do see the PM role however it must be aligned and synchronized with agile practises. I am personally looking forward to the already announced PMI Agile Practise Guide whether there is going to be some lights on hybrid project scenarios and the PM role.

The PM can become an overflow for the Scrum master, handling things that are not part of a sprint.

Marc -

Unless it is a very small project and a single team, a PM will still be needed to manage stakeholders, elevate and resolve issues and risks, manage the financials, etc.

Where you have a Scrum Master already, the PM might be involved on a part-time basis, but where you have multiple agile teams working together as part of a single project, the PM will be much more involved.


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