Agile Scrum Master/Project Manager Service

I provide a comprehensive service filling the roles of both the Agile scrum master and overall project manager. This is important because filling only one of these roles results in poor project results, and using two people to fill these roles is inefficient.

Why Combine Scrum Master and Project Manager Roles?

Some companies get two things wrong about these roles:

  • Agile is a software development methodology focused on the actual coding of the software (i.e. build stage). It is not a comprehensive software development lifecycle or project methodology. Therefore, scrum masters only address the build stage of a project.
  • A strict scrum master role only responsible for the Agile ceremonies is not a full-time job for a single project.

Scrum Masters Only Address the Build Stage

A scrum master is a specific role in the Agile methodology and therefore only addresses the build stage of a project. A project manager role is also required to manage the other project stages: plan, analyze, design and deploy. A project manager role is also required to address the portions of the project that aren’t software development: business process, software package implementation and change management.

Scrum Master is Not a Full-Time Job

The scrum master is responsible for four Agile ceremonies: sprint planning, daily stand-up, sprint demos, sprint retrospectives. Stand-ups are only 15 minutes per day. The sprint planning is 2-4 hours, the demo an hour and sprint retrospectives an hour. So over a two week sprint this is only 8.5 hours of work. That leaves 71.5 hours for the scrum master to address their other responsibility which is to address issues slowing development. That amount of time to address issues would only be required for the most screwed up projects.

Why not assign the scrum master to 5-10 projects? Because, it is not possible for a human to stay abreast of the details of 5-10 projects. So, if you assign 5-10 projects to your scrum masters they become automatons just facilitating the ceremonies with no underlying understanding of the projects, and can’t add any real value to address issues or make improvements.

The best solution is to have one dedicated person fill the role of project manager and scrum master. This person is now completely focused on the project, understands all the details and can add some real value.

How Am I Unique?

  • Build tangible solutions working side-by-side with team members. I don’t simply advise or delegate. I don’t simply maintain a project plan and tick off completed tasks.
  • Work the entire project lifecycle: develop the initial business case, plan the project, analyze, design, build and deploy.
  • Jump into the fray and pick up dropped balls. I’ve worked almost every project role, and I can help out when a delayed task is threatening the critical path.
  • Work multiple roles. Project management roles are busiest during the beginning and end of a project. I will fill business analyst or testing roles when program/project management work is light in the middle of the project. The scrum master role is busiest when forming a new team and getting people trained on the Agile approach. Once the team is performing at a high level, the scrum master role tapers off and I’m able to help fill other roles.
  • Thirty years of experience. There aren’t many people with my level of experience actually doing the work of scrum master/project management. I still do it, because I actually love managing projects: building something out of nothing. And, as a freelancer, I don’t need to move up the management ladder to make a good living

Why a Freelance Scrum Master/Project Manager vs. Big Consulting Firm?

I was an executive in one of the largest consulting firms in the world for seven years. They can do some great work, but I’ve also seen some magnificent disasters. Here are some reasons to consider a freelancer versus a big consulting firm.

  • The Individual Consultant is What Matters, not the Firm. The big consulting firms tout all the relevant projects they’ve done as a firm, but their assigned lead consultant has not worked all of those projects. A firm having worked 100 Salesforce implementations doesn’t do you any good if they assign a lead consultant who has only worked one partial Salesforce implementation. Therefore, a single freelancer can have better qualifications than the lead consultant assigned by one of the big firms.
  • Only Need One Consultant. A big consulting firm isn’t going to staff someone with my experience by themselves on a project. They are going to want to bring in an entire team, so the total revenues justify a dedicated senior manager.
  • Want to Staff Most of the Team with Employees. Big consulting firms want to sell projects with big teams, so they are going to want to use their own people where possible. They also aren’t in the business of training your people, because that is less billable hours for themselves. Sometimes big consulting firms are simply unwilling to manage client’s employees on the project because it is an added risk for them to meet their contractual obligations.
  • Don’t Want to Pay For Overhead. If you hire a big consulting firm, they are going to assign a partner to the account who will want to bill the project. The partner will not actually work on project deliverables. The partner will do ‘quality audits’ or other nonsense when in fact what they are doing is billing you while they try to sell you additional services.
  • Don’t Want a Sales Guy in Your House. A big consulting firm may take a small project to get their foot in the door so they can sell bigger projects. This is like having a used car salesman in your living room. I’m so busy on my projects that I can’t spend any time looking for the next project until the project is done.

Freelance Project Manager Skills

Here is a partial list of the skills I can bring to a project. Again, I’ve worked almost every role on a project over my career.

  • Project Management
  • Scrum Master
  • Business Process Analysis
  • Process Design
  • Business Requirements Development
  • Business Case Development
  • Business Process Development
  • Root Cause Analysis
  • Test Execution
  • Change Management
  • Meeting Facilitation
  • Technical Analysis
  • Technical Solution Design
  • System Configuration
  • Salesforce Administration

Industry Experience

  • Electric Utility
  • Logistics
  • Manufacturing
  • Renewable Energy (Solar)
  • Retail
  • Software Development
  • Tech Startups
  • Professional Services

Related Info