I am on a software project with a project manager that seems to be doing things that are either not adding value, or that the rest of the Agile team could quite easily do themselves. It feels like they are struggling to let go of the traditional waterfall/command and control mindset.

The issue for me isn't so much that I don't know what the project manager should do, I think he should stop micromanaging, but my issue is I don't know how to highlight this in a constructive way without coming across as excessively critical or by hurting his ego by making him feel useless. I want to stop the conflicting approaches in a constructive way that adds value to the project itself.

Does anyone know how I can highlight these issues in a sensible way and bring about an effective transition to a truly Agile project?

  • Depending on the specific case, if your PM is really micro managing, it may be a smart idea to address this point explicitly without referring to formal roles, more referring to agile values. An agile project context is allowed to be imperfect at any point in time, but it should develop over time. Sometimes, the development / transition is not just required by one person. Maybe the team triggers the PM's distrust. The question is, can you be open about this without causing any problems. But there's really no standard recipe for this. Can't the SM be of any help here' Jul 28 '17 at 12:15
  • If the question is "how do you stop a PM being a micro manager?" then you've a nice challenge on your hands. it could just be the way he's wired. Try to reassure him when doing your tasks that you know what you are doing and request that he trust your experience and judgement. A 2nd option is to record the time lost while the interruptions are taking place and highlight them as an issue. but be careful, you need to keep your PM on our side !!!
    – Andy L
    Jul 28 '17 at 14:28

For him to take an appropriate role, he should be knowledgeable in the Agile area. Depending on what you work on he can try to fulfill the Scrum Master role or Product owner role. More often than not "SM" falls more naturally as he is the person to facilitate and help with impediments. To bring value he can talk with stakeholders, shield you from executive politics, bring subject matter experts to help and so on.

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