As a software-based company grows in headcount and ambitions, it rapidly becomes difficult to effectively communicate about short- and long-term business objectives from the rank-and-file engineering staff all the way up to the C-suite and then back down again. The Program Management Office facilitates this process.
Program managers in the PMO ensure that stakeholders and engineers reach a shared understanding of business objectives. They also broker agreement on what steps will be taken to achieve those objectives and how their success will be measured. They maintain the lists of the Engineering organization’s deliverables and track progress toward them.
Our organization uses agile software development methodology, specifically Scrum, to drive software development in two-week cycles called sprints. Our APgMs act as ScrumMasters and process coaches; in addition to scheduling and running all of the meetings and ceremonies for each engineering team, they teach others how to use Scrum effectively.
Software engineering is divided into teams of 3-5 engineers who work together with a product owner, an APgM, and a DevOps Engineer to plan, develop, and release software to the product platform. APgMs report to Director, PMO.
Agile Program Managers have the following general responsibilities at the discretion of Director, PMO:
- Working with their assigned team[s]’ product owner to prioritize the backlog of work for the team, and facilitating the product owner in delivering user stories that clearly and effectively communicate units of business value.
- Scheduling and conducting the meetings and ceremonies of Scrum for their assigned team[s], including backlog grooming, story sizing and estimating, sprint planning, standups, and retrospectives.
- Ensuring that all work conducted by their assigned team[s] is tracked in the backlog.
- Maintaining the artifacts of these meetings, including meeting notes and action items.
- Tracking the progress of their assigned teams toward their objectives using agile techniques such as burndown charts.
- Communicating with other staff members in the organization and working with them as necessary to remove impediments to the success of their assigned team[s].