Agile project management goes beyond software development

Today’s project management teams are being asked to do a lot more, a lot faster As the amount of change and transformation projects related to digital transformation has increased in the past 12 months as compared to generic infrastructure and system project management, companies in Hong Kong are looking to project managers who have agile experience.

“They are looking for people versed in agility with ability to act in a business-facing capability as they manage and influence stakeholders to drive fast-paced projects,” said James Redshaw, associate director at recruitment firm Randstad Technologies, Hong Kong. “With this, candidates must be able to look at projects with a business focused mindset in addition to understanding the technology.”

Demand for scrum masters on the rise

With this trend towards agile, it is no wonder that scrum master makes it to Randstad’s latest list of top 10 in-demand jobs in Hong Kong.

A scrum master can be seen as a facilitator and coach in an agile environment to make sure that the team is able to keep track with project goals and remove road blocks hampering the team from making progress.

“The scrum master will often run daily meetings or ‘scrums’ to find out the progress of the project, facilitate communication and problem solve. By running scrums, project progression can be maximized to enhance deliverables and customer satisfaction,” said Redshaw.

According to Randstad, 58% of technology teams across Hong Kong now adopt scrum as their agile implementation methodology and this increases further to 75% if you include hybrid approaches, such as those which combine scrum with another agile approach such as Kanban to create Scrumban.

“Hong Kong businesses are just starting to adopt agile methodologies to drive projects. The relative newness of the methodology has revealed a lack of professionals with scrum experience or accreditation,” Redshaw said.

“Businesses have decided to tackle this issue headfirst and are investing in their own staff by providing them with agile and scrum courses,” he added.

The new PMO

Meanwhile, agile project management is now finding its way across different departments of the company – where it used to be software development was the only domain where agile project management found a “home”.

A modern Project Management Office is emerging, according to Chris Pope, senior director, Office of the CSO, ServiceNow.

A PMO is a group or department within a company that defines and maintains standards for project management within the organization. The primary goal of a PMO is to achieve benefits from standardizing and following project management processes, policies and methods.

“Agile started with IT and has done very well in that space. But when you come to HR, customer service and other departments, they are behind the curb. They are stuck in the old work mode where a lot of things that need to happen across the company are very unstructured and unautomated – very manually driven. The new PMO helps companies to structure that to make it a lot easier and simpler. And where possible, automate along the way,” he said.