Project Choreographer – an Agile Project Manager

In the last few posts I have had on Agile Project Management, I’ve continued to struggle with what term to use when referring to an Agile Project Manager. Here are my thoughts:

  •  I really don’t like the Project Manager term as it implies that the team needs to be managed at a very low-level.
  • I didn’t like Project Leader as it implies that the team needs to be led and can’t provide the leadership themselves.
  • I don’t even want to talk about the Scrum Master term. It implies that the Project Manager just oversees the process and I dislike the ‘master’ terminology, but maybe that is just me. 🙂

I also wanted have a term that re-inforced the that Project Manager contributes more to a project that just the maintenance of the budget and schedule. That he or she is really an experienced practitioner that understands the business of developing software. I was really searching for a common term that would communicate all these roles and responsibilities without the negative connotations.

So what is the proper term that provides a valid description on what an Agile Project Manager does? May I present…

Agile Choreographer

I found an excellent article on Ehow that listed the duties of a Choreographer. Upon review I updated it slightly by primarily making the following substitutions:

  • Choreographer –> Project Choreographer
  • Dancer –> Software Developer
  • Performer –> Software Developer
  • Dance –> Project
  • Dance steps, routines –> project routines
  • types of dance –> types of projects

With these changes and some additional minor ‘enhancements’, this is what I ended up with:

Project Choreographers

Project Choreographers are experienced Software Developers who have acquired excellent reputation as developers. They have many years of training, preferably in more than one style of development. They may have obtained a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in Software Development, but talent and ability are more important. They can live and work almost anywhere, as long as there are projects in the community.

Planning and Creating

Project Choreographers plan original projects by combining a variety of project routines. They might modify existing projects. Alternatively, they may develop new interpretations of traditional projects. Some Project Choreographers may decide to focus on a particular type of project. In the majority of cases, however, they are expected to work in all types of projects. A few Project Choreographers specialize in the particular methodology or routines that comprise a project.


Project Choreographers are often present at interviews and provide input into the selection of Software Developers. Once projects start, they teach the choreographed project routines to the team and make the necessary modifications to the project. They must be able to communicate and teach all types of project routines and also collaborate with the team. Because few of the project routines are written down, Project Choreographers often demonstrate the exact techniques. It is important for them to stay flexible and keep up with the latest trends in the project routine field.

Meeting and Promoting

Project Choreographers must also possess excellent communication, teamwork and time management skills. They meet regularly with the Client, Sponsor, and/or team to brainstorm and solve any problems that may arise. They may be asked to help promote the project by presenting.


I certainly think this description is quite close to the intent of an Agile Project Manager. At least it is very close as to how I like to manage Agile Projects. Although it may not be feasible for people to use the Project Choreographer term instead of Project Manager, I think it communicates the intent of the role much better.

If you are interested, you can find the original article on Choreographer Duties by following this link.


Author: Terry Bunio

Terry Bunio is passionate about his work as the Manager of the Project Management Office at the University of Manitoba. Terry oversees the governance on Information Technology projects to make sure the most important projects are being worked on in a consistent and effective way. Terry also provides leadership on the customized Project Methodology that is followed. The Project Methodology is a equal mix of Prince2, Agile, Traditional, and Business Value. Terry strives to bring Brutal Visibility, Eliminating Information islands, Right Sizing Documentation, Promoting Collaboration and Role-Based Non-Consensus, and short Feedback Loops to Minimize Inventory to the Agile Project Management Office. As a fan of pragmatic Agile, Terry always tries to determine if we can deliver value as soon as possible through iterations. As a practical Project Manager, Terry is known to challenge assumptions and strive to strike the balance between the theoretical and real world approaches for both Traditional and Agile approaches. Terry is a fan of AWE (Agile With Estimates), the Green Bay Packers, Winnipeg Jets, and asking why?

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