Project management roles within Agile
Studies have long shown emotional intelligence makes people happier and more successful in life, but its vital role in project management is less known.
Forbes magazine quotes research in 200 countries that discovered emotional intelligence is four times as important as technical or cognitive ability in senior leadership positions.
Agile relies on people skills – communication and collaboration. Declan Collins, development manager at project management advisor HQ Management, says a huge role of the project management is to motivate the work teams.
“Creating open lines of communication can be one of the most difficult things and it’s the role of a project manager to know your team, your stakeholders and complexities so you can really navigate around those,” he says.
To allocate the roles and responsibilities using Agile, you need a good understanding of the project’s requirements as well as people’s strengths and weaknesses.
In Agile methodology it is about having a good working group that covers the diverse needs of the committee.
"I think rewarding people and that continual feedback is another means to actually help in delegating tasks,” Collins says.
“It’s also about providing the necessary support as you’re going. It’s allowing people to ask the stupid question and having meetings that are really open to generate open discussions.”
The roles for people depend on the size of the team. Collins recommends having a couple of people who can work a role because “people get sick, there is fatigue, and holidays”.
The underpinning philosophies for an Agile project management working group are:
- Whole team: All the skills to get the job done.
- Stability: Keep the team as stable as possible. Don’t pull people on and off the job.
- Use generalising specialists: These are people with two technical specialties – the middle point between someone who knows a lot about a narrow field, or someone who knows a little bit about a lot of things.
In terms of roles, these are the basic ones for an Agile team:
- Team leader: This is the facilitator who gets resources, who protects the project and team from problems, and generally has more soft skills than technical skills.
- Team members: These people tend to have more of the technical skills.
- Product owner: Can be called the on-site customer or active stakeholder. This person represents all stakeholders, prioritises work item lists and provides information.
- Stakeholder: Can be users of the final product, managers, funders, support staff, auditors.
- Technical experts: These people are brought into a project as needed.
- Domain experts: Usually brought in by the product owner to provide advice in their domain i.e. lawyer.
- Independent testers: Might perform some of the more difficult areas of testing or test to verify the product works as it should.
When an Agile team gets to 20 members it is recommended they be organised into a collection of smaller teams. There are some additional roles associated with that.