Does project managers no longer benefit in agile?

Does Project Manager not longer Benefit in Agile?

Traditional project managers are experiencing career threat nowadays. They often feel confused since they are not sure what their role and responsibilities in agile or scrum processes.

Let me share some of the conversations I had with various people.

“Yay! Long lived agile/scrum! Say NO to all project managers!”

Jamie is a developer, I met him at one of the developer’s meetup. This he what he told me when his company is going through an agile transformation.

“Project Managers are too costly, and they are not longer required in agile/scrum processes”

While I was having a beer in the bar, I had a chat with a business owner who runs an IT business, this is how the owner thinks about project managers.

One of my ex-colleague who used to be a project manager, once said, “I was told to make ALL the decisions and take ownership for everything. In agile, decisions are made by the team. It seems that there is little value left for me in agile processes”

Well…. Really? Nope.

Here is the truth; a good PM skillset is required than ever!

In this article, I will explain how a project manager role involved in modern agile environment.

Project Manager = Scrum Master?

A lot of people believes traditional project manager role has been transitioned with a new title called “scrum master“.

However, that’s not right.

Scrum Master is not the person to take credit or blame no matter the project is being run successful (failure).

Moreover, scrum master does not manage scope, costs, risks like traditional project manager does. They are acting like a coach, a mentor that teaches a development team to adhere scrum principles and values.

So, you might ask, “where can a project manager fit in scrum teams?

Let’s hear what Mike Cohn says about agile project management:

Agile project management divides responsibility among more than one team member. In the case of Scrum, it’s a project’s product owner, Scrum Master and the rest of the team.

Well, no doubt, he is right, that will definitely works well if you are working in a small teams.

What if it is a large team or corporate level organisation? You will eventually need to have some form of governance that stays on top of the delivery teams.

Are you going to expect the shareholders and executives visit each delivery team kanban board to see what they are doing?

Thus, project management is still needed!

Project Management Framework for Agile

Are you expecting to hear something like SaFe, or LeSS here?

No, ignore those for now.

Instead, I will introduce three main agile project management frameworks that are widely adopt in the existing project management world.


In DSDM, project manager sits on top of the solution development team. The main role and responsibilities of a project manager is facilitate and coordinate of a project.

In other words, project Manager also work closely with high level Stakeholders (Business

Visionary, Business Sponsor and etc.) to manage time and budget to deliver solutions.


Are you a certified PMP (Project Management Professional) in the past?

Here is a good news for you.

According to PMI, they have introduced Agile Project Management and certifications enables traditional project managers transition into agile project managers. You might need to consider getting PMI-ACP under your belt if your organisation is performing an agile transformation or you have worked for an agile environment.

Prince2 Agile

If you have been using Prince2 as your project management framework, Prince2 agile will be something that might interests you.

On the other hand, Prince2 Agile will help you to tailor the project into an agile way and provide good guidance on helping you to adapt with agile methods.


Let’s recap the key points we have discussed in this article:

  • Having good PM skillset can make you stand out and thrive in modern agile environment.
  • Project Management skills are still in needed when you are working in a large scale agile teams or enterprise level organisations;
  • There consists of three popular PM framework that tailor for agile environment:
    • Prince2 Agile
    • PMI-ACP
    • DSDM

 Alright, let’s move on and have a little bit of pause here. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed on reading this. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a message and I’d love to hear from what you think about this topic.