Agile

Looking for an Agile Project Manager – What Is Important?

Hiring any new team member is a tough job. You have to make sure the person not only has the skills to perform the tasks ahead, but also fits the company mentality and will get along with the current team. Therefore, when searching for a person to join you, it is important to know what you are looking for. Moreover, you should know what questions to ask in order to find out who they really are.

There are plenty of guides on what to ask your next project manager, but what about an Agile project manager? Will those same qualities apply? How will you know if they are actually good at Agile? While there is no certain way to say, asking these questions may help shine some light on their abilities and help you make your decision.

 

Ask them to define Agile

First and foremost, to define how good at Agile they really are, you should ask for their definition of it. What you are looking for here is seeing if the person looks at Agile as an open and flexible framework or just as one type of application like Scrum.

What you really want and actually need in the understanding of Agile is the flexibility. No two companies are truly alike and like so no two Agile applications will be either. So if you get a person that only sticks to one way of doing it, you might be in trouble.

Instead, look for a candidate that understands the underlying values of Agile and is flexible in its application. This way, they will not be stuck when faced with an adoption challenge or an unfamiliar situation.

Ask them to define their experience in Agile

Of course you will want someone that is experienced in the practice and has run numerous Agile projects before. They may even be Agile certified and have attended conferences and trainings. That is all important to have in an Agile project manager as you will know they have the knowledge base to fill the position, tools to use and where to turn if they need guidance.

One more thing to look for here is their reflection on the past projects. Are they able to point out what those projects taught them? You will want a person that not only has the required qualifications, but is also able to learn on the go. Taking valuable lessons from their own experiences is a skill that all Agile project managers should carry.

What should be accomplished during an iteration?

All Agile projects are run in iterations. This gives the ability to identify the most urgent and valuable tasks that have to be performed first and helps focus on the minimum viable product at all times. Contrary to traditional project management, all phases like design, manufacturing and testing are performed during an iteration. This creates a circular instead of a linear process.

Therefore, when hiring a person to be your new Agile project manager, you should make sure they are prepared to work in this manner. Their job is to deliver a working increment after every iteration and this means the team has to work and be managed a little differently.

What you are searching for here is a person that is always looking at what is happening currently and is able to change course at any given moment.

How will you measure the teams’ success?

Lastly, working within an Agile environment there is no such thing as an end result, but rather a minimum viable product that improves after every iteration. Therefore, measuring how the team performs can be a little tough for inexperienced Agile managers.

You should be focused on a person that knows the result is slowly built over a series of iterations. They should also talk about the tools that improve the teams performance (client feedback, retrospectives). Finally, they should be well versed in progress and team pace monitoring charts like burndown and lead – cycle time diagrams.

Your new Agile project manager should not only know of these things existence, but also be fluent and ready to use them in order to achieve the best results with the team.

 

Hiring an Agile project manager can be a tricky thing – you want someone that not only knows the theory, has experience, but is also ready to change an adopt quickly. However, I am sure these question will help you find the best candidates for your teams.

 

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