Agile methods are an effective and successful alternative to traditional system development lifecycles, such as waterfall. A conventional program manager with a million lines of project plan is replaced by a team of backlog owners and servant leaders who own and run the program with a backlog and release plan. An Agile Program Manager can focus on managing integration and dependencies with other areas and does not need to spend time on routine change management of scope, cost and timeline.

Planning an Agile program

Agile Program Managers focus on providing guidance of teams, rather than a record-keeper of tasks and activities. With more teams and the fast pace of development communication, integration and coordination within the teams and with other supporting groups becomes more critical. Agile Program Managers contribute and support release planning, facilitating Scrum of Scrums, Program Sync Ups, Roadmap Updates, and shepherding the Communities of Practice.

Running an Agile program

Requires supporting multiple Lean | Agile teams in a fast-paced environment. This necessitates a high degree of operational effectiveness and continuous monitoring to maintain consistency of output and alignment of iteration and release goals in order to achieve the overall product vision. Work with the servant leaders (e.g. Scrum Masters) to ensure they have full support to be successful with their Team’s Agile ceremonies.

Tracking and reporting in Agile

Requires frequent Agile reporting and quick resolution on impediments affecting Iteration progress to provide more predictability in future sprints. Capture the right Agile data in the beginning to understand trends and produce meaningful insights and statistics later. Should be a power user for the selected Agile ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) tool.

The Agile Program Manager should have experience with all facets of software development, operational support and project management using agile processes. Must have experience in providing advanced project management and support for ongoing programs and for projects across numerous functional and technical units with the organization. For each program/project, the Agile Program Manager is responsible for ensuring that the program is on track for successful releases, and coordinate with vendors/partners, and external stakeholders as necessary.

Essential Responsibilities:

  1. Facilitate the Scrum of Scrums once or twice a week with Scrum Masters, Backlog Owners, and Leads.
  2. Facilitate Big Room Planning with Lean | Agile Teams, Leads, Leadership, and Stakeholders.
  3. Review Agile metrics every week with Program Portfolio stakeholders.
  4. Serve as an escalation path for Scrum Masters and the Lean | Agile Teams.
  5. Help champion the Agile transformation in the program.
  6. Help drive the Communities of Practice in the program and encourage others to participate.
  7. Work with Product Management to update the Agile Road Map as necessary.
  8. Serve as an administrator for the Agile ALM (Application Lifecyle Management) tool.
  9. Mentor Scrum Masters.
  10. Track program dependencies to resolution.
  11. Track program risks to resolution.
  12. Create weekly summary Agile program reports for Leadership.
  13. Support Leadership to track Agile budgets, Team allocations, releases.
  14. Conduct Program Portfolio Agile Maturity Assessments.
  15. Participate in Progressive Elaboration sessions to maintain institutional knowledge.
  16. Assist in Agile contract management with external vendors and contractors.

Suggested Certifications:

  1. Certified Scrum Master (Scrum Alliance).
  2. Certified Scrum Professional (Scrum Alliance).
  3. Agile Project Management (IC Agile).
  4. Agile Program Portfolio Management (IC Agile).
  5. Agile Certified Practitioner (Project Management Institute).

Suggested Experience:

  1. 6+ Years Professional Experience.
  2. At Least 4 Years in Project Management.
  3. At Least 2 Years Working in an Agile Environment.
  4. College Degree or Equivalent Professional Experience.

 

The Agile Program Manager has a critical role. They are often the glue to ensure everyone is moving forward towards value delivery via conflict resolution, administrating ALM tools, facilitating program level meetings, removing escalated impediments, tracking program dependencies and risks to resolutions, etc. The ideal person should have a strong project management background and hands-on Agile experience at the Program Portfolio level.