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How to Recruit and Train for the Agile Program Manager Role

Our last post discussed how The Agile Program Manager is the most important role you don't have.  Perhaps you're now convinced you need to establish an Agile Program and appoint yourself an Agile Program Manager.  Here we discuss how to go about deciding who should fill the role and how to train them.

Who should be the Agile Program Manager?

The role of the Agile Program Manager is a great position to first see if there is anyone on staff available to promote from within.  Promoting from within can provide a culture boost to your Agile organization and Hakkiri highly advocates this practice.  In searching for an ideal internal candidate look for someone that:

  • has broad trust and respect across the teams and organization
  • isn't afraid to ask critical questions and can hold people accountable
  • demonstrates interest and knowledge about system level (vs. team level) processes
  • is a high performer and looking for a steeper growth path

This is commonly someone from other areas of project management in an organization looking to grow their skillset, or a ScrumMaster/Agile Coach who has mastered their craft and is looking to scale across more teams.  If there are no good candidates on staff you should open a position hire for this role.  Hakkiri's consulting services can help you determine who might be a good candidate on your staff, provide them with training, and guide them through establishing an Agile Program.

How do I train an Agile Program Manager?

If you're looking for some out-of-the-box training for someone taking this role, a good background course is Leading SAFe from the Scaled Agile Framework.  Your Agile Program Manager will come out of that a Certified SAFe Agilist and a solid understanding of Agile processes at scale.  We recommend this with the caveat that we are not necessarily stating that you should adopt SAFe for your organization.  However, there are some great concepts under the SAFe umbrella that your Agile Program Manager will be able to learn from through this foundational training.

Longer term training would be encouraging your Agile Program Manager to pursue the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) exam.  While it will take some time to prepare and eventually sit for the exam, your Agile Program Manager will reap the benefits as soon as they start studying.  It will give them a solid overall grasp of everything under the Agile umbrella, along with the foundational iterative delivery principles that will help them oversee teams that might be using mixed frameworks.  Two resources we recommend for preparation are the PMI-ACP Prepcast by Cornelius Fichtner, and the PMI-ACP Exam Prep Course Book by Mike Griffiths

How can Hakkiri help with the Agile Program Manager Role?

If you are seeking assistance with adopting Agile, defining your Agile Program Manager Job Description, selecting/training your Agile Program Manager, or career mentoring for your staff, we offer expert consulting services in a variety of functional areas.

Once your Agile Program Manager gets on their feet, they can have the dashboard of their dreams with Hakkiri. Try out our Free Trial or request a demo today!

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Topics: Agile Culture
Robert Orefice

Written by Robert Orefice

Robert Orefice is the Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder of Hakkiri. He has previously served in senior leadership roles across Technology, Product and Portfolio/Program Management at Eze Software Group, WebMD and Aetion. In each of these roles he has directed Agile transformations with an emphasis on blending the right mix of tools and processes to drive a great team culture, while also giving the necessary visibility to executive stakeholders. Previous to his work in the software industry, Robert spent over 12 years as a microprocessor design engineer and methodology lead at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). The process discipline, iterative engineering workflows, and demanding quality requirements from the semiconductor industry have enabled him to bring a unique perspective into Agile software development.