Project Management

Project Management is turning Vision into Reality and crucial to the success of a project is a good Project Manager and Project Methodology. If your project is small or large let us assist you in ensuring its success.

Project Management involves planning, organising, resourcing, directing, monitoring, controlling, innovating and representing the project to a variety of stakeholders, from the organisation’s executives, programme management, suppliers and to the project teams delivering the new functionality.

Project managers do all of these things, ensuring that the project team can get on with their day to day tasks without having to stop and explain where their deliverable is, how it fits in, and why, to those wishing for frequent updates. Project managers represent the project by ensuring their teams are happy and working well, in order to deliver to schedule, and when they encounter issues, they work quickly to ensure the critical path of the project is not impacted, and thus delayed.

Project managers also ensure that executives in organisations are informed of progress or issues, and provide solutions to minimise delays, and thus risk to the whole project. In fact project managers are constantly running “if-then” scenarios, identifying Risks and forecasting the best actions to take for the situation. The more experienced a project manager is, the more likely they are to have seen a similar situation and to have dealt with it, appropriately.

How is a Project Manager different to a Scrum Master?

The project manager is a leader and is responsible for the success of the whole project, while a scrum master is more of a coach or facilitator, a role that sits between the project and the customer. However in the current transition period of many projects between traditional waterfall and fully agile, businesses appoint product owners from the business who do not fully understand the processes of any software development project. An experienced scrum master and a willing product owner can work in unity to achieve results, but inexperience, the difference in status and the inability to seek, or listen to advice will put the project at risk.

Does your agile project need a Project Manager?

Probably yes. Very few projects at present are, or can be fully agile. We are still in a period of transition, and projects are still having requirements mapped specifically and at the outset, which is not the Agile way. This leads on to the project needing change control or change management processes that would not necessarily be used in a fully agile project, and neither the product owner nor the scrum master are required to deal with these. A good scrum master will alert the product owner, but an inexperienced product owner is unlikely to recognise the importance of what are often seen as a few “cosmetic” changes that can be done in a couple of days. A project manager will understand how these could impact the entire project, and work with executives and programme managers to deal with them.

Large multinational or safety-critical development projects may never be fully agile.  While the creativity and productivity of scrum teams working in sprints, are now recognised as very useful to ensure deliverables arrive on time and within budget, the creativity and autonomy can take the project off track, and mean that software produced in sprints cannot integrate with parallel sprint outputs. Project managers with good agile experience ensure that they get the most out of the highly productive scrum teams, but reign in the enthusiasms to keep the focus on the documented deliverables, to ensure they arrive on time and within budget.