The Birth of the “Agile Project Leader”

With 8 months of full-fledged Agile under our belts here at Valpak, it was high time for me to update the job description for my team of Project Managers.  The point being to not only match the day-to-day activities of the job with the written description, but also to best reflect where we are at in our Agile transformation and our continued commitment to the cause.  With little help from the Internet (that’s right … this was mostly created from scratch!), I created a new job description for “Agile Project Leader” and re-titled my entire team.

  • “Agile” for our commitment to living the values and principles established by The Agile Manifesto,
  • “Project” because we view things best through our project lenses,
  • And, “Leader” because we strive to truly lead and not just manage.

Since I was hard pressed to find any real world examples of job descriptions for “Agile Project Leader”, I figured I’d share mine with the community (that’s you!).

Next up … I need to update my own job description too!

JOB DESCRIPTION: AGILE PROJECT LEADER

Summary:

Leadership of technology-focused projects and teams relying on Agile values and principles.  This position assumes the role of ScrumMaster, Kanban Lead, and/or Project Manager depending on the work at hand. The focus of this position is on delivering value over meeting constraints, leading the team over managing tasks, and adapting to change over conforming to plans.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. In the Project Manager role, leads complex initiatives across multiple functions and teams by planning, directing, and coordinating to the project objectives with consideration for risk.
  2. In the ScrumMaster role, facilitates the Scrum process of planning, daily stand-ups, reviews, and retrospectives with team and Product Owner and proactively removes impediments to progress.
  3. In the Kanban Lead role, facilitates the Kanban process with team and stakeholders and proactively removes impediments to progress.
  4. Leads and contributes to the decision making process and facilitates conflict resolution.
  5. Embraces, coaches, and evangelizes Agile values and principles across the organization and in the community.
  6. Defines and refines Agile metrics to understand team performance.
  7. Works with management and other Agile Project Leaders to continually identify and implement organization-wide process improvements
  8. Performs related work and additional duties as needed or required.

 Education/Experience:

Bachelors degree in a technology field or related degree.  Minimum 4+ years of project management experience and 1 year experience with Agile software development methodologies, namely Scrum and/or Kanban.  Additional years of directly related relevant experience may be substituted for the educational requirement.

Qualifications:

  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills
  • Detail-oriented and highly organized
  • Strong presentation and communication skills
  • Self-motivated driver able to make progress despite obstacles
  • Strong servant leader able to lead and work with multiple diverse roles and personalities
  • One or more related certifications such as Project Management Professional (PMP), PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP), or Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) preferred.
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About Stephanie Davis

Stephanie Davis is Senior Director of Enterprise Agility & Digital Product Leadership at Cox Target Media. In this role, Stephanie champions agility across the enterprise, leads the Agile PMO, and manages the CTM portfolio while also overseeing the Digital Product Leadership team. Stephanie leads the team of Agile Project Leaders in the roles of ScrumMaster, Kanban Lead, and/or Agile Project Manager as well as overseeing the IT Business Analysts. Stephanie is a career project leader with over 16 years in the field, including past positions with AT&T Business and IBM Global Services, and has maintained the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification since early in her career. She also maintains the PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) and Certified Scrum Master (CSM) credentials. Her academic credentials include a BS in Marketing and an MBA in International Business. Stephanie serves and supports Agile within her community and beyond as organizer for the Tampa Bay Agile Meetup and the Agile Open Florida. Most recently, Stephanie has been elected to the Agile Alliance board for the 2015 to 2017 term. View all posts by Stephanie Davis

4 responses to “The Birth of the “Agile Project Leader”

  • Stephanie

    Must have got it right if Derek Huether says so …
    http://thecriticalpath.info/2012/05/24/agile-project-leader-job/

    What a proud moment!

  • RH Atkinison

    Stephanie – great write up!… but a CSM as a credential/qualification? Seriously?

    A friend earned hers after sitting through the 2-day course (run by a highly paid “it’s about the money” CST) and she knows nothing about Agile/SCRUM or project management. She’s an analyst looking to become an Agile Project Leader/Agile Coach. She knows from being in IT that HR will pull candidates that have “CSM” behind their name.

    The Certified Scrum Master certification had it’s place in history to help “jumpstart” SCRUM into mainstream IT… but is really nothing more than getting one’s “degree” through a diploma mill.

    Do you value your PMP equal to a CSM? Is there equal effort, skill, or qualification needed to get the same number of letters to place behind one’s name?

    Remove the CSM and you’ll have a total winner here! A great write up to guide HR to qualified candidates.

    A fellow Agilephile,

    RH in SLC
    PMP, PMI-ACP (and CSM – but rarely admit it)

  • What the heck is an Agile Leadership Director? | i.am.agile

    […] of concocted it on my own after re-titling my team from “IT Project Managers” to “Agile Project Leaders” in May of last […]

  • Don Gilman, PE, PMP

    Hi

    Since a PMP requires thousands of hours of experience (even more if you don’t have a degree), reference checks (over 10% of candidates have their hours or credentials audited), 32 hrs of accredited training and a grueling 4 hr exam I’m not clear how that is equated to a CSM with the lessor requirements.

    As far as the title goes, you may be onto something. Let’s face it – the higher you go up the food chain the more you have to talk and walk Organizational Project Management. You have to abstract and interface at some point.

    Of course, the PMI ACP cert has taken material to address this interface so if you avail yourself of the access your PMP’s have to the PMI materials you may be able to better align with that body.

    Finally, what’s in a name? After all, most programmers want “Software Engineer” on their signature lines regardless of their knowing about, let alone passing the IEEE CSDP exam let alone the newly offered licensed professional engineer (PE) exam in Software Engineering. Most folks don’t know that the higher credentials exist (at this point) so …. who is to really say what you do in your own firm? Just be consistent!

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