Do we still need the role of the project manager? We ask this question because we often see posts on social media, suggesting the demise of this role. Posts with titles like: would AI (artificial intelligence) eliminate the need for project managers, and so on. We also see posts that claim in the age of Agile is there a need for a project manager Recently, we are viewing posts that compare the role of Scrum Master with a Project Manager, implying that a project manager is not needed. Think about this …
Manager versus Leader
Over the years, we have read posts comparing a Leader with a Manager, yet most of these copy-paste posts, share one thing in common, they are wrong. They take the characteristics of a bad “manager” and label it as a “Manager.” They also present the sound aspects of a good “manager” and attach the “Leader” label to it. Yet, these comparisons are wrong. There are good managers and bad managers. There are true leaders, and there are those who might be called leaders, but they know nothing about leadership. In the project management context, we need both types of skills.
Project Manager or Scrum Master
Recently, we have seen almost the same style of comparison between a Scrum Master and a Project Manager. It is important to stress that these posts are often posted by “scrum” or “agile” advocates or beneficiaries. So, once again, bad things are attributed to the “project manager” and the good stuff, well, it must be “Scrum Master.”
A Direct Message
I must ask
If you are one of those people promoting the idea that Scrum Masters are the best, why do not you have the courage to come out and promote the benefits of Scrum and being a Scrum Master?
If Scrum Masters are superior to Project Managers; promote the role, tell us why it is good and needed. Even if you think that we only need Scrum Masters instead of project managers, say so. Please, do not hide behind stabbing the project manager role. We are sure there are good project managers, there are great project managers, and there are imposters. The key is to focus on the role.
The question may be or should be: if we have a scrum master, do we still need the role of a project manager?
These types of posts show a lack of understanding of what Project Management is. They also do not comprehend the role of the project manager. So, do we need PMs if we have SMs? Absolutely. The PM role is to lead the project from concept to success. A PM will be required long before we reach the implementation stage. Sure, in implementation, we may need an SM, if the project would be using the scrum approach to do the work.
One final thought, Agile and Scrum are limited:
(1) They are mostly about the implementation work of the project, not the whole project life cycle.
(2) They are not applicable to many domains and types of projects.