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A Project Manager's Survival Guide to Going Agile

Agile software development methodologies such as Extreme Programming (XP), Scrum, Crystal, Lean, etc., are becoming more prevalent in the industry. What is it about these approaches that have companies all over the world casting out their traditional plan-driven methods in favor of an agile process? And how do project managers fit into the new archetype, which favors self-managed teams?

When software development project teams move to agile methodologies, they often leave project managers behind. Traditionally trained project managers are confused as to what their new roles and responsibilities should be in an environment that no longer needs them to make stand-alone decisions. This paper focuses on re-defining the job of project manager to better fit the self-managed team environment, one of the core agile principles. Special emphasis is placed on the shift to servant leadership, with its focus on facilitation and collaboration. Mapping of PMBOK knowledge areas to agile practices is discussed at length. After reading this paper, project managers should have a better understanding of what changes they need to make professionally, and how to make these changes in order to survive the transition to an agile software development approach.


Michele Sliger Agile Coach, Rally Software Michele Sliger has extensive experience in Agile methodologies, having served as an Agile coach at Qwest Communications. She also was a founding member of the engineering teams at biotech start-ups UroCor and Genomica. At Genomica, Michele honed her Scrum and XP skills while working under Mike Cohn, a recognized founder of the Agile movement. She carried that experience forward into Qwest, where she served as an XP Coach on a team tasked with developing high-profile financial applications. She has an undergraduate degree in MIS and an MBA. She is a registered Project Management Professional (PMP), a Certified ScrumMaster Practitioner (CSM-P) and an active member of the board of the Agile Denver chapter.
Rally Software
25 Aug 2006
14 Aug 2008
13 Page(s)
White Paper

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