27. Jul 2020

What does an Agile Project Manager actually do?

Persistence instead of bullshit bingo is Sabine Götz’s motto at the e-commerce service provider Shopmacher. If she manages to get the sales to fly, she sometimes has tingling in her stomach.
Sabine Goetz Agile Project Manager

Surname:

Sabine Goetz

Position:

Agile Project Managers

Age:

38

Training:

Marketing clerk

Company:

Shopmacher E-Commerce

What do you do?

I’m an Agile Project Manager at a specialist agency for the development and expansion of e-commerce platforms. For my customers I act – because we work according to Scrum – as a product owner, internally the task for us as a service provider in a multi-project environment is somewhat more comprehensive. That’s why we call it Agile Project Manager.

How do you see your role in the team?

First and foremost as a translator. I am part of a development team, but I represent the interests of my customers in the team. I translate the customer requirements into “development language” via user story.

For my customers, I am the central contact person for all wishes and requirements. In a way, I’m also part of their teams. I’m also often on site with the customer. I have to understand what is behind a requirement and what result you want. A common question is WHY? Why do you want this feature, what do you expect from it etc.? Most of the time that’s obvious, but sometimes I can think of better ways to do it. Or – if not me – our development teams, if I can explain to them what’s behind it. In the end, everyone has to pull together so that a shop can improve. My role is to moderate that.

How did you come to this task?

I started my career as an online marketing and media specialist in classic advertising in the 2000s. At that time, the individual disciplines of e-commerce were even more differentiated and I learned how to develop sales promotion measures in e-commerce. It was in this role that I came to my current employer. In the meantime, however, everyone has learned that you cannot develop technology in e-commerce in a meaningful way if you have not internalized the sales goals. So I practically became part of a technical team. I was already able to sell online beforehand, I added the technology afterwards – and now I’m a translator who connects these worlds. if not me – our development teams, if I can explain to them what’s behind it. In the end, everyone has to pull together so that a shop can improve. My role is to moderate that.

Which characteristic helps you the most in everyday life? Why?

Probably a certain perseverance. I want to understand how things are connected and I won’t give up until I get it. I don’t settle for superficial bullshit bingo because I don’t think it helps anyone if you’re supposed to produce measurable results. So I’m digging deeper – with my customers as well as with my development teams, who, however, now think and work a lot more from the customer’s point of view. I think that was and is sometimes exhausting for both of them – but I think and hope that in the end both of them appreciate it because it should make us all better.

Please describe as descriptively as possible a project that you were particularly enthusiastic about.

The nice thing about my job is that our success is measurable. Last year we developed a configurator for one of my customers because the product itself is not so easy to sell using the typical components of an online shop. The whole thing was preceded by a fairly comprehensive analysis phase – at first we were only confronted with the “problem” and then looked at what the competition was doing, what worked in comparable sectors and then hatched this idea and pushed it forward. The development was quite complex and took a comparatively long time – and when the configurator was live, sales really skyrocketed. When you then look at the analytics data and see that, you get tingling in your stomach. Me anyway.

What is most important to you in your job? What is the most fun?

Actually, as in probably most jobs: It’s about effectiveness. When you’re obviously effective in what you’re doing, that’s very gratifying. If you rip open the A… and nothing comes of it at the end, you push frustration. From my point of view, it goes without saying that I can only achieve this effectiveness in a team with customers and colleagues. That’s why the typical phrase “teamwork” is more of a kind of bullshit bingo for me. Teamwork, of course – what else?

My job is essential because…

Software – no matter which one – can only be effectively further developed in the long term using agile methods. Manufacturers have known this for a long time. In agencies – with different customers and projects – it is more difficult to establish this procedure in everyday life. I believe that we have found a good way with our interpretation of my current role, which creates added value for retailers and agencies alike. That’s great.

If you weren’t an Agile Project Manager, what would you be?

Probably translator. No fun! If I look at what shapes my day-to-day work today, I would probably be in good hands in the diplomatic service. It’s also about questioning, understanding and translating different interests and expectations – and reconciling them in the interest of everyone’s well-being. That’s actually what I do every day.

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