I always get a kick out of online discussions referencing agile project managers as if those are some special subset of the project management population!
Yes, there certainly are agile delivery methodologies and adaptive project lifecycles and some project managers might have gained greater experience in those, but what might some of the characteristics of an agile project manager be?
- Their primary focus is on delivering value at the optimal pace of change absorption by their customers and key stakeholders.
- They know that the secret sauce to project success is people first.
- They don’t follow process for process sake and recognize that tailoring is as relevant to project practices as it is to clothing.
- They embrace Robert K. Greenleaf’s teachings on servant leadership.
- They recognize that a good solution today beats a great solution two years from now.
- They accept that changes will occur and they steer their projects to take advantage of these changes rather than rigidly resisting them.
- They favor face-to-face communication and embrace transparency in their reporting.
- They promote a sustainable pace of work as they acknowledge that projects are marathons and not sprints.
- They promote psychological safety within their teams and model the behavior they expect from their team members.
- They instill a culture of continuous improvement in their teams by helping them reflect regularly on what’s working well and what could be tweaked.
The attributes in the list above should be applicable to any project manager in any industry managing projects using any type of lifecycle.
So why wouldn’t you want to be an agile project manager?