The Agile manager is not your typical project manager. In addition to the project management skills, an Agile project manager must be equipped with additional skills that allow them to manage Agile teams effectively. As companies introduce the Agile framework to their teams, the responsibilities and tasks of a project manager change, which indicates that they need to develop some new skills to manage the team successfully and in line with core Agile principles.
If you’re looking to develop your Agile skills as a project manager, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll detail the 5 key skills of an Agile manager, while also introducing you to their role and why they are an integral part of every Agile team.
Agile Project Manager Job Description
An Agile manager is in charge of managing Agile teams and helping them overcome internal problems in order to deliver outstanding products and services. The role of an Agile project manager consists of several tasks and responsibilities and requires a key set of skills.
Agile managers and project managers share a lot of responsibilities and skills in common. However, Agile management extends onto traditional project management, so it’s good to know some additional responsibilities that surround this role.
Unlike the traditional project manager who directs the work for the development teams, Agile project managers provide the support that helps cultivate a healthy work environment and sets the team up for success.
Some of the responsibilities of an Agile manager include:
- Helping Agile teams achieve high-level performance on the project and ensuring that all team members are organized, focused, and accountable for their actions on the project.
- Mentoring less-experienced team members while helping the rest of the team remove obstacles in communication and work.
- Making sure that the project’s schedule is well-defined with a clear scope
- Ensuring timely value deliverables while ensuring all Agile ceremonies and meetings are adhered to.
- Helping deploy completed Agile projects that are in line with the project owner’s requirements and bring value to the users.
- Assisting product owner in collaboration with the stakeholders
- Promote and encourage modern and entertaining team-building opportunities and ensure that all team members equally bring value to the team and the development of the project.
In some situations, Agile managers oversee several projects at a time, but combining traditional project management skills with Agile methods and skills allows them to effectively work in a fast-paced and dynamic work environment.
Some skills Agile managers should have include:
- Ability to work in a dynamic and sometimes stressful environment
- Exceptional organizational skills
- Good communication skills
- Critical thinking
- Being adaptable
- Strong familiarity with Agile methodology and Scrum principles
- An Agile project manager certification or completed training in Agile management or general project management
But that’s not all. There are some key skills that all good Agile managers should have. Let’s discuss more about these below.
5 Key Skills Every Agile Manager Should Have
As mentioned earlier project manager in Agile is equipped with more than just a traditional project management skillset. To have a better idea about the skills Agile managers have, we detailed the 5 most important Agile management skills that managers should focus on.
1. Leads by Example
Agile managers don’t shy away from getting their hands dirty. Their accountability and responsibility set an example for the Agile team to follow. They expect their team members to be accountable, transparent, and accountable, and they bring exactly that to the table.
2. Understands the Clients’ Goals
The development teams and stakeholders may not always agree on how the project should be developed and what the final result should look like. However, the Agile manager should act as a gateway between the technical terminology the developers use and the business vision that the stakeholders have.
Agile PM has to ensure that both the team and the stakeholders agree on the project’s specifications and requirements. They also maintain a healthy and steady relationship with the stakeholders throughout the project’s development.
They also discuss different proposals made by the stakeholders and the team and come up with solutions and suggestions that will benefit both parties.
3. Has a Holistic Approach to the Project
Agile PMs are in charge of ensuring that the team has all the necessary assets to see the development of the project from start to end. That also means providing everything that the team needs while also effectively communicating with the client.
They help the team organize and develop a structure and environment that will allow them to minimize bottlenecks and focus on developing the project. At the same time, they maintain proper communication and collaboration with the client.
To do this successfully, Agile PMs need to have a holistic approach to the project and view it as a complete unit. Focusing only on fractions of it can lead to confusion and inefficiencies that are hard to overcome in the later stages of developing the product.
4. Can Successfully Mitigate Risks
Every Agile manager should be able to identify the potential risks and bottlenecks before they develop into serious issues and mitigate them with the team’s help.
Agile managers also develop plans for recognizing early issues and risks. It’s a very important skill that an Agile PM should have because they’re in charge of organizing the team and project.
Agile managers should also be comfortable with uncertainty and open to adjusting plans and priorities as new information emerges. They need to facilitate quick decision-making and problem-solving. For example, Agile project managers can use Kanban Zone’s custom Kanban Zone and optimize it to meet the requirements of their Agile workflow.
5. Empathic and a Good Collaborator
Empathy and collaboration are fundamental attributes that Agile managers must embody. They play a pivotal role in creating a harmonious and productive work environment. Agile managers need to delve into the intricacies of team dynamics, recognizing that each team member brings unique strengths and challenges.
Through empathy, they can not only comprehend individual needs but also respond to them effectively, ensuring everyone feels valued and supported.
Moreover, these managers are adept at forging robust relationships, both internally within the team and externally with stakeholders. This interconnected web of understanding and cooperation is the cornerstone of successful Agile management, fostering an atmosphere where innovation and teamwork thrive.
An Agile project manager is a responsible role full of different responsibilities. While a good Agile manager has the skill set of a traditional team manager, it’s worth mentioning that they need to emphasize some additional soft and hard skills to be successful Agile PMs. Managing an Agile team successfully is a challenging but also rewarding responsibility. If you’re an Agile PM who’s looking into tools to manage the team and the project in one, check out Kanban Zone.