Jeanne Boyarsky on the differences between Agile leaders and PMs

Jeanne Boyarsky discusses the differences between the traditional waterfall approach and Agile methods. Find out about the changing role of the project manager, the differences between and agile leader and a project manager and gives some advice on how to move into Agile development.
This video is part of an interview by Jan Stafford from TheServerSide Java Symposium.

Read the full text transcript from this video below. Please note the full transcript is for reference only and may include limited inaccuracies. To suggest a transcript correction, contact   

Jeanne Boyarsky on the differences between Agile leaders and PMs

Jan Stafford: Hi. This is Jan Stafford, executive editor of The Service Side and I'm
talking to Jean Boyarsky .

Jeanne Boyarsky: I'm moderator at JavaRanch/CodeRanch.

Jan Stafford: And you just did a session about “Throw away the rules”, and tell me
about what you see as evolving role of the Project Manager today.

Jeanne Boyarsky: I think the Project Managers have a lot more work today in
that projects have gotten bigger. They're responsible for more things, the
faster pace of technology and the faster pace of business requirements. I
think it's more important now than ever for the Project Manager to be
separate from the Supervisor, so that they can focus on the project than
the product and making it successful. I've actually noticed in the industry
shifts towards having Product Management offices where they do have a
separate organization that takes care of being the Project Manager so that
the Developers and Supervisors can take care of the tech side.

Jan Stafford: What do you say is the key difference between an Agile Leader and a
Project Manager?

Jeanne Boyarsky: I think an Agile Leader has more of a responsibility to be inclusive.
An Agile Leader has to make sure that the team feels empowered to make
decisions, to come up with alternatives on their own. I think the
traditional Project Manager is unfairly seen as just finding out when
something is going to happen on a schedule but I also think they're
responsible for more upfront planning out what is going to happen and
pretending they know reality whereas the Agile Manager is coming up with
something a little higher level and saying "Well, we'll fill in the details
when we get closer."

Jan Stafford: Do you think that some companies and I do hear of some people who take
agile and do it too rigidly, and want do everything agile and perhaps go
astray that way?

Jeanne Boyarsky: I don't think it's a problem being too rigid. I don't think agile
prescribes rigid in that they're prescribing what you do, makes sense. I
think what happens is that teams are taking it before they're ready. I
talked about in my speech earlier about how you shouldn't start out with all
the different types of testing. You should do one until you can embrace it.
And I think when a team that's been doing waterfalls says we are going to
do everything the agile way right now; it's overkill for them because
they're not able to adapt that much change that quickly.

Jan Stafford: Well, thanks a lot, Jeanne.

Jeanne Boyarsky: Thank you.

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Thanks Jeanne. I completely agree with you that it makes a lot of sense to take it a step at a time moving from the Traditional methodology into Agile. It`s a massive change and must be approached with absolute care. Rolling it out one at a time will be the best way to avoid the headaches and initial stress attached to the change