Agile and soft skills

Does Agile work more effectively when you have a good core of soft skills?

It has to. The very nature of the beast means that the PM is required to negotiate ideas and updates all day every day. A tweak here and an update there can turn a good product into a great product.

The minor adaptations that are required can be achieved easily if the PM has the right soft skills:

Can they outline the benefits?

Outlining the benefits of a change don’t just have to be functional, they can be personal, good for you, good for the developer, good for the business, good for the team.  the key is showing the change and the necessity of the change in a good light.

Can they empathise with the difficulties?

Empathy isn’t just ” There there” and on to business, some issues and difficulties need real attention, they could impact on the team, the sprint and the delivery as  a whole and if mismanaged lead to breakdowns in communication, respect and tolerance.

Can they convince in a few short statements?

I’ve said it before, but almost everything is a sales pitch, and no one likes a pushy sales person.  As a PM you have to sell it and sell it well.  People have to  have a reason to do things for you.  Empathy, respect, understanding will help and these go both ways.  Knowing your product, knowing your project and knowing what you are doing (I mean really knowing what you are doing, not just bluffing the minimum.) will give you the eloquence you require to guide people to the correct response.  It is also worth remembering to adjust the way you put your point across based on the asudience.  Are they technical or not technical?  Do they like a summary or an in depth explanation?

Soft skills are not a one time thing, you need to use them all day, every day otherwise you will come across as insincere and manipulative.  If you apply your soft skills to a project, you will certainly find that things become easier for both you and the team.