Iteration manager role

I’ve recently read an essay about Iteration Manager role by ThoughtWorks. I was so excited before going through it. After all, it has appeared I’m already aware of IM’s duties. Generally, the Iteration Manager role is close to the one role from Scrum – Scrum Master. In short, the IM should focus in the following areas:
  1. The Team – track iteration’s progress (day-to-day work), report impediments, make sure iteration’s commitment will be fulfilled, point bottlenecks in the delivery process.
  2. The Customer – act as gatekeeper, protect team from distractions, keep customer from changing requirements.
  3. The Iteration – plan team’s budget (ideal hours), help customer with prioritization, motivate team, owns iteration planning and retrospective.
  4. The Project – form group of people working together towards common goal (they success or fail together); IM needs to aim for productive and happy team members and satisfied customer.
The main responsibility of Iteration Manager is “building well-oiled delivery machine, continually feeding it story cards, and tuning the machine”.

Some activities that can help you to organize your iteration (Sprint in the Scrum) are:
  1. Day-to-day communication with the team,
  2. Informing customer about progress and potential risk.
  3. Avoiding noise and reacting on it if necessary.
  4. Making sure that team has defined goal for iteration and all team member are concerned in the iteration’s tasks.

19 Response to "Iteration manager role"

  • Blotko Says:

    Hi Tomek, I was wondering ... what's the difference between Scrum Master and Iteration Manager? For me it looks like those are the almost the same roles?

  • Tomek Dabrowski Says:

    Yep, I noticed the same and put this thought in the post.

  • Blotko Says:

    do you think that there is a room for both roles in one project/team?

  • Tomek Dabrowski Says:

    My personal feeling is that there is no need to have them both as the responsibilities are the same. The author of the essay does not use Scrum Master name as he is writing a general approach, I think. To sum up, there is need to have at least one person acting as described – the name of this role is not so important.

  • Anonymous Says:

    I've seen the Iteration Manager (IM) role in action and to me (at least the way I saw it implemented) it doesn't seem like a very good idea. I seems to have weakened the role of the Project Manager (PM) to the point where the IM is more of a PM than the PM is (except that the IM doesn't have the needed authority to do that pseudo-PM role properly).

    In describing the IM role, I was told that the IM deals with the "inward facing" parts of the project (as per the above post), while the PM now mainly deals with the "outward facing" parts of the project. Considering that the PM is supposed to manage and control the project (the entire project), I'm not sure how effective he can really be if he gives up control of the very heart of that project (i.e., the inward facing part where the people that are working on the project are, and the iterations in which they work exist). It seems like the PM is abdicating a very important and critical part of his role. It's almost like telling an airline captain that he just needs to greet the people coming on the plane (the outward part); a new flight coordinator role will be created to worry about stuff like being in the cockpit and flying the plane (the inward part).

  • Anonymous Says:

    Iteration Manager -- Wow, what a concept! As Dilbert would say, this job is not at ALL like a Project Manager... it has an ENTIRELY different name!

  • Anonymous Says:

    is an iteration manager automatically suppossed to take on the role of mentor for the team?

  • Prageeth Says:

    it is a bad name ,in agile there is no room for micro management of iterations just like in a typical PM role.. It is a bad terminology mostly used to impress large corporation to show there are manager in agile team too.thought work article about iteration manager is 10 years old and no longer valid.

  • Anonymous Says:

    I have done didn't project management frameworks, including PRINCE2, ITIL and PYMBOK and I must say that the words SCRUM, Agile and some other names are actually weak in the real world. Agile is a process developed because they have tried flattening IT roles. This is a faux pas and a graphics developer is a prep school student while a system administrator is high school. Attempting to flatten these roles by direct communication or meetings doesn't make it a good method as has been demonstrated in many companies I have worked for.

  • Anonymous Says:

    I do all these things as the IM but also take care of project intake and resource planning and of course iteration planning, reporting actuals back up the chain - which would be considered more of PM role. Yes, no room for micro management, leading my example is very important here and facilitating and mentoring great communication and happy team members, I take this portion of my role very seriously

  • project management system Says:

    Businesses these days are highly advanced and strictly target oriented. The main driving factors for businesses are the target and timeline. Hence, projects need to be managed quite proficiently in order to execute excellence at work. Project management as a concept is mushrooming as the times have gone digital and technologically sounder. It is the methodology and discipline of planning, organizing, securing and managing resources of an organization to accomplish project missions successfully.

  • Sridhu Says:

    I see most Iteration Managers sitting idle most of the time. Should Iteration Managers also start gaining the domain/knowledge using which they can contribute to Software development process.

  • Sridhu Says:

    As Agile is more of work and less of people. If we see daily activities of an Iteration manager. Its hardly 4 out 8 hours spent on activities involved. So, in-order get SRS more clear, the role of an Iteration Manager should be re-defined and IM should also involved in the activities related to gaining (or) suggesting new improvements in business implementation.

  • Miah Charley Says:

    Yeah its a good article. According to you what we project managers do is communicating. And a lot of this communication is done during project meetings. It can sometimes feel like you are running from one meeting to another and that your time is often wasted. Meetings don’t start on time, the issues aren’t dealt with, there is no agenda, there is no focus, nobody assigns any follow ups or tasks and of course then they also don’t end on time. An efficient project manager is required for the good management of a project. I think a project manager should PMP certified. Looking forwards to apply what I learned in PMP classes in my company.

  • Anonymous Says:

    IM = when you're not using Scrum (other Agile - It's weird to use Scrum Master in XP if it's not a scrum)
    SM = when you're using Scrum

  • lisysomna Says:

    It is really a helpful blog to find some different source to add my knowledge. I came into aware of new professional blog and I am impressed with suggestions of author.
    Agile Project Management

  • Unknown Says:

    Both are and shouldn't be in the same project. Scrum Master is if you're using Scrum Methodology to your project. IM would be if you're adopting another Agile methodology. If you have both an IM and a Scrum Master, you're trying to hybrid 2 methodologies which can cause further issues. I.E. confusion as to roles and responsibilities in the project like we have here

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