Delivery Manager - a new role in the world of Agile

Original author: Steven Thomas
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Good day everyone!

Almost nothing remains until the end of the year, but still we will have a few new products in the courses. One of these new courses is Agile Delivery Manager , which was created by Marina Arefieva . By tradition, we have prepared open lessons and interesting materials for you. Today we will get acquainted with the vision of what Delivert Manager is and what it is eaten with.


Rich Lewis ( Rich Lewis ) - the best one I have ever worked with. When I first met him, he was a business analyst and scrum master for a small team. He coped with his work, but was clearly capable of more. I offered him the post of Delivery Manager in the program I was working on at the time.

We don't talk about the role of the Delivery Manager often. Of course, this is not part of the Agile “family” where Scrum terminology dominates. Product Owner; Scrum master; All others are labeled “Developer.” Here, perhaps, that's all.

However, the job title, Delivery Manager, exists. For example, in The Government Digital Service (GDS) in the UK and an increasing number of companies in the United States.

Why the Delivery Manager is needed

Marty Cagan (Marty Cagan) noticed a trend in the USA from the Project Manager (Project Manager, briefly PM) to the Delivery Manager . Marty likes this trend and new role for three reasons:

  • “The project manager’s“ brand ”is so damaged that it may take a rebranding.”
  • “There is a question about the goal - to complete the product. The task is not in research, not in learning processes; The goal is solely in release. ”
  • Delivery Manager is responsible for sorting and prioritizing product problems, thereby freeing up the Product Owner.

Scrum users of course agree that the role of the project manager is so stained that it requires re-branding. That is why, according to Mike Cohn (Mike Cohn) - one of the luminaries of Scrum, the role of scrum master appeared. However, I think that the role of the scrum master has already been tarnished. Therefore, I don't hire Scrum Masters .

However, I called Rich the Delivery Manager, not because I don’t like the term “project manager”. I see no particular conflict between project managers and Agile as a whole / Agile roles. Also, I do not see much point in the rebranding of project managers. I just want to show people the meaning of the Delivery Manager.

What does Delivery Manager do?

If you google “Delivery Manager”, you shouldn’t hope for a lot of results. (At the time of this writing in 2015.) One of the first to be material is the British Government Digital Service (GDS). It has a lot of interesting things. For example, Mark Stanley describes the Day in the Life of the Delivery Manager in the GDS . He writes:

Delivery Manager protects team time to ensure continuous performance. Team time is precious time.

The GDS also has a description of the Delivery Manager role. The main responsibilities in this role are as follows:

  • Produce projects and products, use a suitable agile methodology, constantly learn and improve processes.
  • Together with the product manager, develop a roadmap and translate it into user stories.
  • Lead a collective, dynamic planning process - the main focus is on the work that needs to be done, in conditions of limited capacity and capabilities of the team.
  • Matrix management multidisciplinary team.
  • Ensure product quality at all stages (alpha / beta / production).
  • Actively participate in the Delivery Manager community, share and find applications for skills and knowledge, implement best practices.

With the GDS role, everything is in order, and, in my opinion, it is much more useful than the role of the scrum master.

Program Manager and Delivery Manager

I had a definite need when I invited Rich to be the Delivery Manager. The bottom line is as follows:

  • I had three development teams that worked in one big room - about 35 people in total.
  • I needed one process and one Kanban board for the whole team.
  • I attended only four days a week, one of them remotely.

In fact, Rich ran the Kanban board and all related processes. He established strong tactical ties with the owner of the product, making sure that the cards were created and synchronized with the electronic ticket system. He collected metrics, painted the Cumulative Flow Chart, organized retrospectives. Plus, he attended work every day so that the team would not lose momentum in my absence.

My relationship with Rich can be compared to that of the Chief Executive Officer (Chief Executive Officer, briefly the CEO) and Chief Operating Officer (Chief Operating Officer, briefly the COO). As CEO, I was the external face of the team. During remote work, I discussed with remote senior stakeholders a strategy to make sure that the compensations and the priorities are adequate. Like COO, Rich's work was directed inside the team. He helped her move on. I checked the correctness of the direction. Together we made the product owners happy.


As always, we are waiting for your questions and comments that you can leave here or write directly to Marina in an open lesson .

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