What's the role of a Resource Manager in Agile?



  • The following exchange took place in the comments to an answer to another question https://pm.stackexchange.com/questions/33267/how-do-i-manage-development-with-testing-and-get-proper-reporting-in-jira , which seem to highlight a different viewpoint between the principles of Agile, which is all about delivery of value, and the desire of a Resource Manager to keep people working / contributing at all times. I have highlighted the key elements in Bold. There is a fundamental difference between these positions, so what is, or what should be, the role of a resource manager in an Agile (Scrum) environment?

    Please don't answer this by reference to restructuring into multidisciplined teams - that's not my question. It is purely to do with the organisational roles of resource managers in an Agile environment, and how much they should be involved / interested in what individuals are doing on a daily basis.

    Edit: I am neither a resource manager nor an Agile practitioner, so I'm not asking this question with any pre-formed opinions. I just wonder what the community's view is on the subject.


    "For example... why is development wrapping up at 5pm on Friday, instead of at 5pm on Thursday so the work can be tested on Friday?" - let's say they will finish on Thursday, so what will they do on Friday?? – user48230 yesterday

    @user48230 That's the 100% utilization fallacy. The goal isn't to keep people busy; the goal is to deliver increments of value on a dependable cadence. You have implemented the wrong goal. – Todd A. Jacobs ♦ 16 hours ago

    @ToddA.Jacobs - you do have a point, 100%. still, as a resource manager I also have to ensure that people are delivering value on Friday 9-17 while QA is finishing up the testing. – user48230 15 hours ago 1

    @user48230 No. In a Scrum environment, the "value" being delivered on Friday is the demonstration/review with the stakeholders, not "more work." If no one else takes this into account, I'll write a longer answer when I can. Value in Scrum isn't about busy-ness; it's about consistency, quick feedback, and collaboration. – Todd A. Jacobs ♦ 13 hours ago



  • A resource manager as a organiser of day to day productivity has no place on an agile team. We know why they don't belong, it's in your question. They're trying to optimise things that oughtn't to be optimised. It's counterproductive.

    It could be possible that this "resource manager" is more strategic role than it sounds. For instance, at a staff-augmentation agency, there are people making sure that developers have new engagements to move on to after their current ones finish. That's a useful job, but it doesn't involve day to day meddling in a team. And if that's happening, the team need to object to it and escalate their concerns.

    But, if the "resource manager" is a role that exists day to day in the team that we have a problem. That person will have to look past their role and at how they contribute the team's outcome. Something needs to be arranged, by the team and by their reporting manager, to best use their skills productively. Ideally something that doesn't undermine their career progression and leaves them with a role they enjoy and can do well. This is a hard problem and depends on the individual. Their job isn't too far away from agile coach or Scrum master (they are, after all, asking process questions), but their attitude and abilities may be incompatible, it's impossible to say from a distance.




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