Disclaimer: I was going to get rid of some of my early writings but I decided to keep them because I realize they show that I have changed. ”Journey” is over-used but I have to remember that I am learning and others are too. You may be here. Or you may be reading what I am writing now and smiling because you know I will move on from there.
Scrum principles may seem like a radical departure from how projects have traditionally been run but ultimately the big picture is pretty much the same. Comparing ‘waterfall’ to ‘agile’ often assumes a pure implementation of both when I find my own practice of Project Management to be much closer on the spectrum to agile without being strictly agile.
Methodologies aside, as a Project Manager, I take the requests of stakeholders, distill them into reasonable tasks, list those tasks in order of priority, estimate how long the project will take, agree on how much we are going to deliver and do what it takes to deliver the project by the deadline. During the project, I answer questions, make decisions about the scope and remove obstacles so the team can deliver. If we can’t meet the deadline, we decrease the scope, increase resources or negotiate a later deadline. As a Project Manager my responsibilities can vary greatly as I do whatever it takes to get the project delivered.
Within a scrum/agile framework, when playing the role of PO, I facilitate user stories from stakeholders, arrange them in order of priority (backlog). The team breaks them down into tasks, estimates the relative scale of each task and agrees on what is included in each sprint. During the project, I answer questions and make decisions about the requirements and remove obstacles. We deliver work that is tested and potentially shippable in completed sprints. As a Product Owner, my role is clearly defined.
Throughout my career I have been a Project Manager, a Program manager, a Producer, a Director and a Consultant. Regardless of which title I have, it is important to me to be involved in the strategy – not just ‘what are we trying to deliver?’ but ‘why are we trying to deliver it?’
PS: How have I changed? Since I wrote this, my thinking has evolved. I now believe that agile is a radical departure from how projects have traditionally been run.