The role of the project manager in agile software development projects

Yogeshwar Shastri, Rashina Hoda, Robert Amor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Agile teams are not meant to have project managers. Instead, agile methods such as Scrum and XP define roles such as product owner, scrum master, and coach. Studies have uncovered the existence of the project manager in agile projects, pointing to disconnect between theory and practice. To address this gap, a Grounded Theory study with a mixed methods approach was conducted using multiple sources of data including over 45 h of interviews with 39 software practitioners and quantitative data from 57 questionnaire respondents. We present and describe the project manager's role in agile projects in terms of (a) everyday activities: facilitating, mentoring, negotiating, coordinating, and protecting, performed by the project manager using; (b) three management approaches: hard, moderate, and soft; (c) four traditional project management activities continued to be performed by them, including: tracking project progress, reporting on project status, budgeting and forecasting, and managing personnel; and (d) the influence of the presence of the project manager on the frequency with which agile activities are carried out by the teams. Our study highlights the continued presence of the role of the project manager in agile software projects as a part of the transition from traditional to agile ways of working.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110871
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Systems and Software
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Agile project management
  • Agile software development
  • Project manager
  • Scrum

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