I’m seeing ads for what should be agile program managers on LinkedIn. I can’t tell what these positions really are, but when they say “responsible for management of 15 scrum teams,” that’s an agile software program manager to me. But the distressing part of the ad is when it’s a US-based position with a base pay and a bonus.
I understand that in other parts of the world that cars are part of a professional pay package. And, I don’t understand enough about the tax laws elsewhere to understand how pay is apportioned to understand base vs. bonus. But I understand a lot about US law. And, to offer a bonus to a program manager seems silly to me.
What’s the bonus for? For meeting a date? That’s trivial with Scrum. You can meet any date you want. You have timeboxes. Is it for meeting a feature set? That’s all on the product owner, right? Sure, the program manager should help the program product owner understand the risks and help make decisions. But that’s the program manager’s job, not worthy of a bonus. What about technical debt and defects? Product owner decisions, because the product owner owns the acceptance criteria and ranking the technical debt along with the new features. Again, the program manager should help with decision making. Just because the program product owner has the final decision doesn’t mean the program owner should have the only decision-making responsibility.
The agile program manager owns managing the risk and the coordination among the teams and managing the dependencies, and helping the architects smooth the way, and making sure the program product owner understand the risk behind the decisions. There’s plenty of work for the agile program manager to do. But why would an agile program manager need a bonus? What’s the bonus dependent on?
I worry when I see bonuses for agile program managers specified in a job ad. The bonus breaks the social contract with the team. Are the other people on the program team getting bonuses? If so, for what? If not, why not?
This makes no sense to me. Does it make sense to you? If so, please explain it to me.