Agile Project Manager Job Description

I was recently asked by a company I am working with to create an Agile Project Manager job description. Here’s what I came up with:

Introduction

The Agile Project Manager (APM) is responsible for planning, leading, organizing, and motivating agile project teams to achieve a high level of performance and quality in delivering agile projects that provide exceptional business value to users. The APM may be responsible for managing several concurrent high visibility projects using agile methods in a fast-paced environment that may cross multiple business divisions. The APM may play a number of different roles in actual practice:

  • At an enterprise level, leading and managing large, complex enterprise-level projects consisting of multiple Agile teams and/or requiring integration with other activities outside the scope of the Agile teams
  • At a team level, playing a consultative role to help put in place the appropriate people, process, and tools and coaching members of the team as needed to optimize the efficiency of the project team
  • In situations that require a hybrid Agile approach, using good judgment and skill to develop a project management approach that is suitable for planning and managing the effort to achieve the project goals within designated project constraints

In performing these roles, the APM will be expected to use a high level of knowledge and experience in blending traditional project management principles and practices with an Agile development approach in the right proportions to fit large, complex, mission-critical, enterprise-level projects and with the appropriate level of planning and provide the right balance of agility and predictability.

Essential Job Requirements:

  • Project Planning and Management – Define project scope and schedule while focusing on regular and timely delivery of value; organize and lead project status and working meetings; prepare and distribute progress reports; manage risks and issues; correct deviations from plans; and perform delivery planning for assigned projects
  • Team Management – Assist in team development while holding teams accountable for their commitments, removing roadblocks to their work; leveraging organizational resources to improve capacity for project work; and mentoring and developing team members
  • Product Owner Support – Support the Product Owner in managing customer expectations for project deliverables, managing stakeholder communications, and helping to implement an effective system of project governance
  • Process Management and Improvement – Define and manage a well-defined project management process and champion ongoing process improvement initiatives to implement best practices for Agile Project Management
  • Team building – promote empowerment of the team, ensure that each team member is fully engaged in the project and making a meaningful contribution, and encourage a sustainable pace with high-levels of quality for the team

Qualifications:

  • Solid understanding of software development life cycle models as well as expert knowledge of both Agile and traditional project management principles and practices and the ability to blend them together in the right proportions to fit a project and business environment
  • A proven track record of successfully implementing software or web development projects using Agile methodologies including 8+ years of experience as a Project Manager managing large, complex projects in a high-tech development environment with multi-function teams. PMP preferred
  • Prior experience with SCRUM/Agile methodologies with enterprise-level application development projects. PMI-ACP, CSM, or equivalent preferred
  • Experience overseeing multi-function project teams with at least 10-15 team members including Developers, Business Analysts, and QA Personnel
  • Balanced business/technical background:
    • Sufficient level of technical background to provide highly-credible leadership to development teams and to be able to accurately and objectively evaluate complex project risks and issues
    • Ability to provide leadership to business analysts and collaborate with customers and develop strategies and solutions of high business value

Skills Required:

  • BA or BS or equivalent experience is required; MA or MS is a plus
  • Strong interpersonal skills including mentoring, coaching, collaborating, and team building
  • Strong analytical, planning, and organizational skills with an ability to manage competing demands
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of business needs with the ability to establish/maintain high level of customer trust and confidence
  • Proven ability to lead software development projects and ensure objectives, goals, and commitments are met
  • Solid understanding of and demonstrated experience in using appropriate tools:
    • Agile Project Management tools such as Jira/Greenhopper, Rally, VersionOne or equivalent
    • Microsoft Project, Visio, and all Office Tools
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills and experience interacting with both business and IT individuals at all levels including the executive level
  • Creative approach to problem-solving with the ability to focus on details while maintaining the “big picture” view

To understand the context of this and for more insight into the role of an Agile Project Manager, check out my online training course:

“Mastering Agile Project Management”

12 thoughts on “Agile Project Manager Job Description”

  1. It’s a good job description but there are two points with which I disagree:
    1. There is no good reason to require any academic degrees, let alone specific degrees. I don’t have a BA or BS in Computer Science, let alone an MA or MS, yet I would be a strong candidate to fill this position otherwise. Excessive and irrelevant qualifications serve to screen out qualified candidates.
    2. The requirement to have experience with specific software tools is irrelevant. Any person who is otherwise qualified can learn these tools quickly. Requirements like this are similar to hiring a carpenter based on the brand of hammer that he has used.

    1. Good comments – those two areas of the job spec aren’t really super important – the more important part is the definition of the role not those specific qualifications – those things are kind of “boilerplate” in many job descriptions.

      I softened the language on the BA/BS degree to allow equivalent experience. On the tools, I have already said “or equivalent”…the intent is not to require experience with specific tools but general experience with some kind of Agile tools. What I wouldn’t want is someone who has only used traditional PM tools like Microsoft Project and has never had any experience with any kind of Agile PM tool.

      1. I think that I am an excellent agile project manager and scrum master with the credentials, experience, knowledge and track record of experience to be the sort of person that your client would want to hire. But until I started my new job, I never used Rally or its counterparts because my previous employer used spreadsheets instead. Now we all know that spreadsheets are a poor substitute for Rally but it wasn’t my decision. Now having learned Rally, I can say that any person intelligent enough for this position and knowledgeable about agile software development can easily learn it. So it’s a poor criterion for hiring, to repeat my analogy it’s like choosing a carpenter based on his brand of hammer.

        1. Again, I don’t regard that particular criteria as super important but I also don’t think that it’s unimportant. Your analogy of hiring a carpenter based on his ability to use a specific brand of hammer doesn’t work because the job description doesn’t require experience with a specific tool. A better analogy that does fit would be hiring a carpenter based on his ability to use a hammer (any kind of hammer).

          An Agile Project Manager who doesn’t know how to use one of the commonly used Agile Project Management tools (Rally, VersionOne, Jira, etc.) is equivalent to a traditional PM who has never used Microsoft Project. If this was an entry-level position, it would be OK for someone to not have that experience and learn it on the job, but this is a fairly stringent job description for an experienced Agile PM and not meant to be an entry-level role.

  2. Thank you – this has saved me half a morning’s work. I have butchered it a bit to fit my exact requirements, but like many things, having something to work with has made it a lot easier.

    Really appreciate you sharing this.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Joshua. I’ve just elaborated this job description a bit to elaborate a little more on the specific roles that an Agile Project Manager might play.

  3. This looks great!

    From your JD, it seems that a more suitable title for this would be “Agile Program Manager” since it talks about multiple projects, people and infrastructure. What do you think?

    1. Thanks for your comments. This covers a range of different roles. You are correct that it *could* be an “Agile Program Manager” because some of the roles are at an enterprise level and would probably be considered to be a program management role but there are other roles that an Agile Project Manager might play that are not at that level.

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