Agile Development Manager: Job Description & Salary

If you're considering a career as an agile development manager, the following article will provide you with essential information on the job description, education requirements, median salary, and career outlook.

Job Description of an Agile Development Manager

Agile development managers analyze an organization's existing agile development infrastructure and implement improvements to it based upon streamlining processes and ensuring the delivery of the final product. They analyze and implement best practices protocols to guide the overall effort. Agile development managers serve as both supervisors and project managers; they resolve conflicts and communicate with upper-level management and stakeholders. Team motivation is perhaps the defining characteristic of the job, and the entire team is held accountable for the success of the final product.

What Does an Agile Development Manager Do?

Agile development managers - sometimes referred to as scrum masters - serve as team leaders for projects. They operate as leaders over a number of different types of personnel - collectively known as a scrum team - and maintain focus on the processes and successful product outcome. They supervise and coordinate tech experts, analysts, software developers, and software testers to develop solutions for an organization. The role uses unique terminology, including meetings termed scrum rituals or scrum ceremonies and sprints.

Briefly, sprints are time-constrained or time-boxed increments intrinsic to the overall development process; they usually last about two weeks on average. There are four types of these rituals and the agile development manager is responsible for each. Since these rituals are an integral part of the development manager's job, let's briefly define each one and how each relates to the role.

Sprint Planning

The development manager and the team meet to discuss prioritized items and assess what needs to be done in terms of staffing and other activities that need to be achieved to meet the goals of the sprint. While the manager coordinates, input from the entire team is considered and it is the responsibility of the development manager to provide motivation as well as monitoring progress.

Daily Stand-up

These are informal daily meetings that usually last no longer than 20 minutes. The development manager coordinates this ritual that serves as a means for all on the scrum team to touch base with one another to keep all apprised of what's been done since the previous day as well as identifying any possible hindrances that may crop up for the current day's activities.

Iteration Review

These occur at the end of a sprint. The development manager and staff conduct either informal or formal demonstrations of what has been accomplished during the sprint. An organization's stakeholders may be in attendance.

Retrospective

Development managers organize these meetings at the end of an iteration. These meetings are essentially a time for the manager and staff to assess what has worked well in the process as well as what needs improving to move forward in future projects.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Strong organizational skills, excellent time-management, strong oral and written communication, excellent mentoring ability, strong motivator
Median Salary (2019)* $92,121 (agile project managers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 10% (training and development managers)

Sources: *Payscale.com **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Agile development managers need a bachelor's degree. Some employers require prior practical work experience as a scrum master. For some organizations, certification as a CSM (Certified Scrum Master) is preferred.

Required Skills

Agile development managers need strong organizational skills because they are responsible for setting meetings, facilitating sprint goals and retrospective analysis. They also monitor every step of the process from sprint planning to the final retrospective ritual. Time-management is crucial because sprints are time-constrained parts of the development process and it is the direct responsibility of the manager to ensure that the allotted time is used efficiently. Strong oral and written communication are crucial for managers because they communicate with upper-level management and organization stakeholders on project progress; they facilitate the communication process on the scrum team and write about and present best practices guidelines. Managers must possess very strong motivational abilities because they are responsible for building and maintaining an effective and efficient development culture within the organization.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an expected 10% job growth rate for training and development managers over the 2016-2026 decade. The BLS reports this growth to be faster than average compared to all other occupations. In May 2019, Payscale.com reported that the annual median salary for agile development managers was $92,121.

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