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Why does your Agile project need a project manager?

Your organization needs software built. You could invest in a team, complete with a project manager, or you could just hand the project over to a developer and have that developer create the software and report to you. After all, a project manager isn’t doing the coding. Why have them on the team at all?

Here’s the thing though: the projects that get handed directly from client to developer are usually the projects that don’t get finished. Although developers are good at their jobs, their sole focus is coding and building software. They don’t talk to the end users of the software, schedule meetings or make sure you’re updated on the project. And although you plan to check in with the developer, how busy are you with your other commitments? And are you well-versed enough in the development process to know when testing needs to be scheduled?

If not, the project could stall or even sputter out. A good project manager is your insurance policy against failure. They head off delays, obstacles and important details from falling through the cracks.

If you really want your software to launch, you need to invest in someone whose job it is to get it built, to manage all the details that go into custom application development, keep an eye on the budget, manage schedules and make sure all the right people are talking to one another.

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What does an Agile project manager do?

A project manager, also known as a scrum master in Agile and scrum projects, is the person on an Agile team whose job it is to organize and manage the team while keeping the client updated on the project.

The project manager’s goal is to make sure the client, the development team and any other stakeholders know where the project is at all times. While most team members don’t have to attend all the meetings associated with Agile, the project manager is in every single meeting: the daily standup, sprint planning, backlog grooming, sprint retrospectives — everything. After each, they update the team members who weren’t in those meetings.

Essentially, an Agile scrum master does everything that is not development, getting all the administrative items — the behind-the-scenes work the client doesn’t see — out of the way so developers can concentrate on what they do best: development.

What sort of behind-the-scenes work? Here’s a sampling of the sort of things a project manager does:

  • coordinates team schedules
  • runs the meetings
  • clears any obstacles keeping developers from doing their jobs
  • updates clients who weren't in meetings
  • reports on budgets and schedules
  • updates project's priorities
  • works with the business on new tasks for the next sprint or project
  • coordinates testers
  • gets software ready to move to the production environment

Although a good project manager does all these things and more, their role can be boiled down to this: a project manager makes sure the team is able to work without noise, and that extends to you, the client. As a client, you don’t need to spend time harassing the team to find out where your development project stands — the project manager is already proactively reaching out to you, offering you updates.

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Project managers keep tabs on your project so you don’t have to

If you’re serious about your software development project, you need to invest in someone who is just as invested in the project’s success as you are. A project manager is your insurance policy against delays, obstacles and important details falling through the cracks. A good project manager is someone who has managed a variety of projects, has seen it all before and is able to head off potential issues before they even arise.

One of the benefits of working for Omni is that our project managers have worked with all types of clients and have been on many projects. This gives them a wide range of experience to apply to your project. Interested in learning more? Give us a call and tell us about your development project. We can help you manage it.

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Paul Rasmussen

About Author Paul Rasmussen

Paul wants to live in a world where he can golf every day of the year, he has an unlimited number of “Do Overs," and he hits every goal he sets for himself. As a project manager, one of Paul’s strengths lies in managing multi-faceted Agile projects. After tackling some tough ones, he’s learned a lot about which management styles do and don’t work in a given situation, when and how to ask the hard questions, and how to identify who can be counted on at critical junctures. Throughout the project cycle, he strives to give team members and clients more than what they expect. “When I can do that, it’s amazing to see the lasting business and personal relationships that are made.” Outside of work, you are likely to find Paul at the golf course, brewing up his own specialty beer, or whipping up something new and crazy for Saturday breakfast. The past few years he has spent an inordinate amount of time assembling toys for his kids. Paul grew up in Sparta, near LaCrosse WI. He graduated with a degree in Management Information Services from UW - Oshkosh. He and his wife Jody have two daughters (Maddison & Skylar) and a son (Dyllan).


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