What is the Role of the Tech Lead in Agile?

Tech lead is a role many organizations assign without providing a role description or defined responsibilities. That's because it's often used as a role on an initiative, product, project, or team, and not a formal job description. Most organizations spend their efforts on defining and wording job descriptions and related career paths. They don't go more in-depth into determining roles people take on, especially roles on initiatives, projects, and teams. 

StarCIO Role of Agile Tech Leads

This can lead to confusion for both the person assigned the role and for the people working with the tech lead.

In agile, there's literature that defines the role of product owners and scrum masters. But as I work with many clients, the role of the tech lead is often assumed known and understood. 

So when I'm asked why estimates are inaccurate, how to write user stories with better requirements, or what's going wrong with teams missing their sprint commitment, I ask leaders how they assign roles on their agile and scrum teams.

Agile Tech Leads Wear Many Hats in Different Organizations     

When it comes to tech leads, there are some responsibilities that most organizations apply reasonably consistently. For example, tech leads are assumed to be mentoring the team on completing their assignments, and they are the first to respond to technical blocks raised by the team. Beyond several basics, how teams assign responsibilities depends on how structured an agile process they operate, and their rigor in technical standards.

StarCIO's programs address that through our Driving Digital Guides and StarCIO Workshops. Our philosophy is that every organization is different, so even the responsibilities of fairly standard roled like scrum masters and product owners are often defined and aligned to organizational needs, culture, and talent.

So, in Episode 11 of 5 Minutes with @NYIke, I share some of the essential responsibilities of a tech lead on agile and scrum teams.

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