Agile Process Management

Last post 04:02 pm February 3, 2015
by Cherylanne (Cherie) Mercer
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11:06 am January 27, 2015

Hi Everyone,

Please could I have your thoughts / feedback on this?

I am currently in an exciting and challenging role as Process Manager within an organisation that follows the Agile development methodology (both scrum and kanban). My role is to define strategy and e2e process frameworks around the Product Delivery Life Cycle. This includes determining all inefficiencies & best practices around scrum, from requirements gathering ; defining development workflows to product release. My background is Developer(Master's in Computer Application), albeit, many moons ago, to Business Consultant and now to Process Manager. I have done my PSM1, currently working towards PSPO1.

My question is do you see a future in Agile Process Management being a recognised discipline? Do you think the industry needs an 'Agile Manager' , a person who operates in the gray area between PO(product owner); PM(project manager); SM(scrum master)? Am I better off moving into either a Scrum Master or a Product Owner role?

I would greatly appreciate all your thoughts and feedback on this? You can also contact me via LinkedIn.

Many thanks,

12:19 pm January 27, 2015

Cherie,
this sounds like a challenging job.
I am not an expert in APM, but you know that in Scrum there is no other role than PO, SM and Developer. Everyone else is a Stakeholder.
If you scale Scrum you might have a PMO (Scrum at Scale) or an area Product Owner (books by Larman & Vodde).
But I have made the experience that introducing more roles (without the need for scalability) generally creates more waste, because the clean and consistent process becomes ambiguous and decisions take longer. So when determining all inefficiencies I would start with unnecessary roles.
You use the word best practices. This comes from defined process models. Scrum is an empirical process model. For an empirical process to work it needs transparency, inspect and adapt. There is no one best way to gather requirements etc. You have to try concepts (User Stories for example), inspect and adapt.
Best, Ludwig

12:49 pm January 27, 2015

Scrum Teams are responsible for their own Scrum implementation. They inspect and adapt it, so the role of an Agile Process Manager would be redundant.

However, at enterprise scale it's reasonable to expect formal mechanisms of governance to be in place. The purpose of governance is to assure the quality of agile practice across the organization...and that means not only within the teams but also at the strategic level of programme and portfolio management. Perhaps that is the role you are looking for.

01:23 pm January 27, 2015

Hi Cherie,

If you remember a question from the Open Assessment, the SM is a position of "management" -- i.e. he or she is the one overlooking the process.

What tends to throw people off or ruffle a few feathers is when people start thinking or introducing "Managers" as command and control personalities. Agree with Ian -- the Scrum Team(s) are intended to be self-managing.

"Software in 30 Days" (by Schwaber and Sutherland) talks a bit more into what you are seeking under the scrum studio model.

Scrum can and does accommodate practices from Kanban, so I wouldn't think there's a need to create a new role *just* for that.

Hope some of this helps.

04:02 pm February 3, 2015

Hi Ludwig, Ian, Nitin,

Apologies for the delay in replying.

Thank you for your time in reading my query and for your replies.

Yes, I agree with you, within scrum itself there no no roles under than PO; SM and Developer and hence my dilemma to fully define my current role. Ian has described best what I do, what indeed I was struggling to articulate - it is defining formal structures of governance with emphasis on ensuring quality of all agile practices. It is currently centered more within teams and around tactical delivery and I am striving to raise the focus to include strategic planning and delivery.

Thank you for the reference books, I will have a read as they could help with the challenge of broadening the role.

Many thanks again
Cherie