35 Skills for Agile Project Managers & Leaders

Developing new skills are critical for agile project manager to understand the processes and expectations in an Agile environment. Project managers used to traditional waterfall projects need to quickly adapt to the new environment to understand expectations.

Agile Skills Checklist

Active Listening

  • Listening skills are Critical.
  • Agile constant communications
  • Key Steps to Active Listening: Listen, Understand, Validate, Act

Assessing Stakeholder Values

  • Ensuring business objectives are met
  • Priorities
  • Must Haves

Brainstorming

  • No idea a bad idea
  • Private Contributions
  • Round Robin

Building Empowered Teams

  • Ability to make decisions
  • Self-organizing and self-directed

Team Coaching

  • Individuals (Empowered/Happy)
  • Team (Team is performing) – Team activities, planning, retros etc
Pin This! There are no communication techniques that are specific to just Agile but can be used on any project no matter the methodology

Communications

Feedback

  • Iteration Review
  • Spikes
  • Prototypes
  • Demos

Incremental Delivery

  • Delivery Early
  • Deliver Often
  • Deliver Value

Knowledge Sharing

  • Product Owner to Team
  • SME (Subject Matter Expert) to Team
  • Business to Team
  • Team to Business
  • Team to Team

Leadership Tools & Techniques

  • Soft Skills Negotiation

Prioritization

  • Business Prioritization
  • Risk Prioritization
  • Team Prioritization
  • Compliance

Problem Solving Strategies, Tools & Techniques

  1. Identify Real Problem
  2. Gather Facts
  3. Investigate Alternatives (Brainstorming)
  4. Determine Solution
  5. Implement Solution

*Remember Spikes

Project Quality Standards for Agile Projects

  • Fit Agile to Project Org Needs
  • Follow Standards & Measure Results (Lights & Nimble)
  • Apply Process Improvements
  • Quality should be automatic (Doing all essentials in processes)

Stakeholder Management

  • Executive Management
  • Business Owner
  • Product Owner
  • SMEs (Subject Matter Expert)
  • Rest of Organization

Team Motivation

  • Training (Coding etc)
  • Support (Coaching, Mentor)
  • Full Participation (Introverts, Extroverts)
  • Information Radiators

Team Budget & Cost Estimation

  • Need to provide information same as traditional project
  • Only difference target time and budget
  • Releases vs Milestones
  • Duration x Team Size x Cost = Budget

Value-Based Decomposition Prioritization

Customer Prioritization

  • Must-Have
  • Should Have
  • Could Have

Customer Decomposition: Feature -> Epic -> Stories

Building High-Performance Teams

  • Shared Vision
  • Realistic Goals
  • Empowered
  • Supported

Business Case Development

  • Same as “Traditional” work!
  • Goals/Visions
  • Benefits
  • Cost Schedule
  • Risks

Co-location (Geographic Proximity)/Distributed Teams

Ideal Situation

  • Team Space
  • Conversations
  • Information Radiators

Distributed Mode

  • Electronic Tools (JIRA, Web Meetings etc)
  • Work Harder

Continuous Process Improvement

  • Daily Stand-ups
  • Iteration Retrospectives
  • Plan/Do/Act/Check – Deming

Elements of a Project Charter for an Agile Project

Project Vision

  • Goals
  • Purpose
  • Approach
  • Approval

Facilitation Methods

Running Meetings & Workshops

  • Agenda – Publish and adhere to it
  • Attendees – Right people and only the right people
  • Timely – Start on time and finish on time
  • Meeting Minutes

Participatory Decision Models

  • Input Based – Shared Collaboration
  • Voting System
  • Fist of 5 (5 fingers yes, 4 maybe, 0 no)

Process Analysis Techniques

  • Process Tailoring
  • Systems Thinking

Self-Assessment

“To think own self be true” – Shakespeare

  • Introverts can manage
  • Find a way to do the job that is comfortable
  • Map actions to team members style

Value-Based Analysis

Benefit vs Cost

Agile Contracting Methods

Per Diem (Time & Materials) – Flexible and Adaptable vs Lack of predictability

Fixed Price could be # number of cycles and fixed number of team size

Agile Project Accounting Principles

  • Burdened (Every expense per employee, office material space etc) vs Un-Burdened
  • Cost = #Iterations x Team Size x Rate
  • Cost/Story Point
  • Iteration burn rate

Applying New Agile Practices

  • Agile is Agile
  • Agile Management
  • Agile Development

Organization Compliance

  • Project Compliance
  • Business Compliance
  • Organizational Compliance

Control Limits for Agile Projects

  • Quality Process
  • Upper/Lower Control Limits
  • Run of 7 defects

Failure Modes and Alternatives

  • Human Mistakes
  • Process Mistakes
  • Too Cautious Approach
  • Inconsistency
  • Adhoc Solutions

Globalization, Culture & Team Diversity

  • Respect Differences
  • Seed Teams (Colocated for small period of time and then distribute again)

Agile Games

  • Estimating Games
  • Backlog Grooming (Tree Pruning) – Go through backlog and check stories to ensure they are ready to be added and organize
  • Story Time – Identify stories that need more work
  • Risk Parties
  • Plan the future

Principles of System Thinking

Complex – Adaptive – Chaos

Regulatory Compliance

  • Must have requirements
  • Complete early to ensure completion

Variations in Agile Methods and Approaches

Vendor Management

  • Contract for Agile Delivery
  • Definition of Done

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Shane Drumm

Shane is an Agile Project Manager who specialises in digital web projects. He has worked with numerous distributed teams in Asia, Europe, US and Australia. In his spare time, enjoy travelling, cycling, digital start-up ventures and hustling to help other business owners with their digital presence. Find out more about Shane on shanedrumm.com and please reach out and connect with Shane on LinkedIn.

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