How Agile Delivery Managers Collaborate with Product Managers and Drive DevOps Standards

Agile and Scrum teams work with product owners to define requirements and prioritize backlogs, then have the team/tech leads that guide them from commitment to done every sprint and release. Many scrum teams will have scrum masters focusing on team cohesion, and some will have business analysts aiding the product owner and team/tech lead in writing user stories.

Developing Agile Cultures that Deliver and Evolve Standards - Isaac Sacolick

Things get fuzzy when your product or program requires multiple agile teams, so I've been sharing aspects of StarCIO's Agile Planning to help small, medium, and large organizations adapt continuous planning, transformation management, and driving digital cultures. 

When running multiple teams that must collaborate on releases and business impacts, I guide organizations on three leadership roles that work across teams: Product Managers, Program Managers, and Delivery Managers. I've covered product management and the role of program managers in agile, so this post will focus on delivery managers. 

Winning Teams Require Collaboration Between Product, Delivery, and Program Managers

Delivery Managers in Agile and Scrum focus on delivering on quality, time, and standards. They partner with Product Managers who are most responsible for defining and gaining buy-in on the product/program's vision, roadmap, and customer value propositions. Obviously, the struggle to meet the scope and technical stands in a defined timeframe (i.e., across roadmaps, releases, and sprints) creates tension, so their success requires a collaborative partnership.

How product managers and delivery managers collaborate with program managers depends on the agile program management office's (PMO) primary responsibilities. These vary considerably by the organization, but they often include overseeing strategic requirements, compliance functions, financials, and reporting.

Delivery Managers Balance Self-Organizing Teams and Delivery Standards

Once multiple teams must work together toward the strategic, product, and program goals, the bounds of self-organizing teams must be defined and led by someone accountable for the teams' successes. That's the primary role of the delivery manager. Delivery managers must often address questions like:

  • How many teams and who is on what team 
  • Which standards must be followed and where to get teammates defining them
  • How best to improve teams' estimating practices and velocity
  • What details to cover when timeline, capacity, and other forecasts are requested
  • How to promote hybrid working, learning, diversity, inclusion, fun, and other cultural practices with the teams

In many ways, delivery managers act as CTOs for their products or programs and have broad responsibilities around teams, people, processes, and technologies. They should be bound by org or department standards but also have a voice in creating them. Standards include architecture, security requirements, DevOps practices, the SDLC, UX guides, data governance, and other guardrails that define how agile teams deliver. 

There's more in Episode 41 of 5 Minutes with @NYIke. See below. Please reach out to me if you have questions or want to know more about StarCIO's Agile Center of Excellence Programs and our Driving Digital Workshops

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