A Programme Manager in an Agile Organisation

In a previous job, a Programmer Manager came for guidance about what he should be doing. Since that time, I’ve gained more insight into his skills and know where I could have better made use of him. I thought I’d write some notes on my thoughts.

A Programme Manager should be a communication hub. Ideally, if a stakeholder wants to find out info about something inside then they should be able to come to him for that information.

To that end, I think there are some artifacts he should maintain. When I say artifacts, I mean these things should result in web page or documents that anyone can access.

Roadmap

Ensure roadmap is well formed, refined. He is not responsible for populating the roadmap – that belongs to the product team but must ensure that it is flowing correctly.

Facilitates with work to the relevant teams; ensures that things are progressively refined.

Project Lifecycle Status

Knows the status of any “work”, or at least who to go to, to find out. This status could sometimes be “not started” or “maintenance”.

RAG project status

Maintains and publishes a status of any current projects in progress. That said, Agile organisations should be thinking more in terms of products than projects so this might translate better into KPIs for particular initiatives.

Maturity matrices

Facilitates the development of Maturity Matrices and the team’s current levels

Other stuff

  • Champion the process: should be involved in and help facilitate the day-to-day Agile processes.
  • Manage Risks: within the traditional scope of a programme manager. Do we need a risk register? Probably not…
  • Dependencies: Agile processes seek to minimize dependencies, but when they do exist having someone to traverse teams is useful.
  • Security: works best as a team sport and therefore should be implemented as a process.

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