The title ‘Delivery Manager’ can have different interpretations depending on which organisation you are part of. As a delivery manager within DWP Digital my role is to ensure that high quality products and services are delivered efficiently, by motivated empowered teams using agile techniques.
Principles and techniques
In recent years there has been a shift in the way delivery management achieves the project vision. This is in part due to the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, created in 2001. The principles behind it have been applied by organisations throughout the world, including DWP Digital as we work in small multi-disciplined teams to reach the end goals: streamlining software development, improving responsiveness, adding value quickly, and focusing on improving the end user experience.
In my role, working in the fast-paced environment of DWP Digital, I’ve found that the key to ensuring effective software development is working closely with my team. The transformation has been the creation of roadmaps that outline the stages required to develop a solution. As a delivery manager I set small challenging goals to progress towards it.
- putting processes in place that focus the team on completing the tasks which add the most value
- protecting them from external influences and competing priorities wherever possible
- working with other departments and stakeholders to ensure that the project successfully integrates into existing systems, and complies with relevant legislation and policies
This development method allows teams to focus on the areas that add value, and to adapt and iterate throughout the project based on constraints and ultimately the user needs.
Structure and focus
We’re using agile techniques in a number of ways:
- Kanban is being employed in teams with fixed requirements, where they require flexibility and maximising optimum workflow is a priority
- Scrum is being used to ensure a prioritised backlog of sprint-ready items is maintained, create an agreed sprint commitment and allow release planning
These techniques are giving our delivery teams structure and focus. For example, in my role in a scrum team I ensure that the team are: dedicating sufficient resources to refining their backlog, continuously improving their working methods, and constantly making progress towards the sprint goals. However, the delivery manager role expands past that of a traditional scrum master.
The delivery manager is a critical part of the project from the outset, putting together a business case to obtain the necessary ‘sign-off’ and funding, detailing and securing the resources required to complete the project, and creating high level delivery plans to facilitate engagement with other teams and departments.
Throughout the development the delivery manager ensures the project is meeting its objectives by: tracking and reporting on progress; identifying potential risks and issues and mitigating them; and adjusting plans accordingly. You are also the main point of contact in the team for external requests for support, to liaise with other teams and coordinate releases, to request essential changes to be made to other systems, and to ensure that the relevant approvals are obtained for compliance to security, design and legislative policies.
Working in DWP Digital
I’m currently leading an agile team who are replacing legacy systems that manage audit information and authentication. The replacement will use adaptable and maintainable lightweight microservice-based solutions. We are using iterative development methods that have enabled the team to quickly move through discovery and alpha stages to the first release within 6 months. Our next steps are in refining the release based on user needs.
We’re using cost-effective development methods, for example hosting our new Java coded services on AWS, tracking our backlog using Jira and using open sources tools such as Docker, Git, and Jenkins where possible. We’re also using Selenium - automated web applications for testing – methods.
Collaboration tools such as Slack and Confluence allow the team to work flexibly and collaboratively even if we’re not co-located. This helps colleagues with flexible working and a better work-life balance.
We’re creating new customer-facing services to allow users to interact with us online and new systems to manage our vast data, whilst upgrading legacy applications and undergoing a transformation in the way that digital projects are developed and delivered. It’s an exciting time to be a delivery manager at DWP Digital.
Be part of it!
If you’re interested in working with us, take a look at our agile delivery manager vacancies, we're adding new roles all the time. You can also have a look at our LinkedIn page, find out more about what's happening in DWP Digital by subscribing to this blog and following us on Twitter @DWPDigital and @DWPDigitalJobs.