Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Ella Benson

Second Advisor

Mitchell Henke


This study employed a phenomenological methodology to investigate the shared experiences of project managers of corporations in the United States during a transition to agile project management methodologies. The project managers’ transformation was noteworthy because agile introduces a change in work structures, processes, and leadership. This study sought to understand how eight project managers described their lived experience and leadership during the transition to agile methodologies. Interviews with project managers uncovered identity facets that evolved with their understanding of leadership. The traditional project managers’ common-sense approach to work served as both a barrier and enabler of a change. Project managers who naturally led through control tactics such as documenting and adhering to a detailed plan found agile counterintuitive and challenging. In contrast, project managers who were motivated by serving in the development of others found the transition to agile enlightening and rewarding. The agile transformation afforded project managers the opportunity to serve in a broader leadership capacity. Participants emphasized their role in connecting people and knowledge through a shared understanding of vision and goals. Also noteworthy was the critical role of organizational culture and learning through experimentation and a safe-to-fail environment. Project managers considering a transition to agile would benefit from training to assess the behavioral changes required to adopt an agile mindset. Project managers can use this knowledge to advance their leadership skills and remain relevant in a transformation to agile methodologies.


Ed.D. Dissertation



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