Project management and agility: balancing self-organization and leadership

from Chelsea Alther at

Agile teams and the concept of project management

Agilists may react skeptically when the concept of project management in an agile environment is mentioned. The focus is on the self-organization of agile teams, and the responsibility for making decisions about procedures is in the hands of the team members. The product owner controls the content and priorities of the product, while the implementation team decides how to implement the requirements.

The challenge of complex realities

Self-organization seems simple and effective. But the reality is often more challenging, especially when it comes to complex interdependencies, because a project manager's tasks do not simply disappear in an agile context.

Risk coordination, stakeholder interaction, cross-team decision making, developing a long-term vision, and efficient use of resources all remain relevant in an agile context.

Integration of project management into agile processes

It is undoubtedly possible to integrate project management tasks into the agile and self-organized roles so that a dedicated project manager role becomes superfluous. However, my experience has shown that especially in larger, more comprehensive and complex agile projects, the overall coordination and consolidation of these aspects was often insufficient. The use of a project manager to coordinate these issues comprehensively could be helpful here.


In agile projects, it may therefore make sense to have a project manager to help the agile team with project management tasks and ensure seamless coordination. It is important to define this role together and to separate the responsibilities from the existing agile roles. This allows the product owner to focus on the content aspect of the product. We are happy to provide advice on integrating this role into the agile framework. 


Chelsea Alther

Project Manager & Partner