What Are Delivery Managers in Software Development?
A delivery manager puts all stakeholders in the loop to deliver a market-ready product aligned with user expectations. All stakeholders communicate with each other to ensure a project is delivered on time and within budget. If you want to learn more about our unique approach to software delivery, you have landed on the right post.
Every company has a slightly different implementation of the delivery manager role, so we will dive into presenting our own. Being a delivery manager at Creen means doing what a product owner and scrum master do. They ensure the backlog of work is fulfilled, and tasks are written and aligned with the client’s vision.
However, our delivery managers go one step ahead and take responsibility for technical quality assurance. They ensure that the product is technically sound by, for example, overseeing code reviews and testing to avoid hindering product performance. Generally, they are responsible for defining and executing our highest technical standards on each project.
What Is Software Delivery?
Before describing the job of a delivery manager, we need to understand what the word’ software delivery’ means. In software engineering, ‘delivery’ refers to deploying an application to the market according to user needs.
There are different roles within this context:
- Client – delivers a software specification
- Product owner – creates the product backlog based on the client’s specification
- Scrum master – ensures the implementation process runs smoothly
- Software developers – implement features defined in the product backlog
- Other roles involved – UX designers, QA engineers, etc.
All these entities collaborate until the product is fully completed. The first delivery usually comes as a minimum viable product or MVP. But even though the product is on the market, the collaboration continues through continuous improvements and upgrades.
Who Is a Delivery Manager?
By general definition, a delivery manager communicates with clients, software engineers, and other project-related entities to ensure everything is going well with product delivery.
They are responsible for getting and sharing a client’s input with their development team. Even though they collaborate, delivery managers do not propose technical solutions to programmers.
However, delivery managers should have a solid technical background to understand complex software project requirements. They are excellent communicators, which puts them in a position to discuss any topic beneficial to a project.
Delivery Manager vs. Product Owner vs. Scrum Master
Delivery managers, product owners, and scrum masters are essential in scrum-based environments. While these roles are closely related and present throughout projects, they differ significantly.
Our company does not have the product owner and scrum master roles. Depending on the project requirements, our DM can do both what the PO does and what the scrum master does. In addition, they implement testing strategies and ensure the code meets the latest standards and delivers specific functionality.
Generally, the role of a delivery manager has various forms across different organizations. So, before diving into our own more deeply, let’s learn more about the PO and scrum master roles.
Who Is a Product Owner (PO)?
The product owner or PO shapes a product by making strategic decisions and setting a project’s goals. To bring the highest possible value to end users, the PO prioritizes the product backlog and creates user stories.
The PO has to determine whether developers have created a software solution according to a client’s needs. They organize daily scrum meetings where each team member answers the following questions:
- What did I do yesterday?
- What is my work plan for today?
- Do I have any impediments to my work?
Who Is a Scrum Master?
Scrum masters are more oriented toward overcoming a team’s daily challenges. The team should function without distractions. If there are obstacles, the scrum master helps the team overcome them.
This role is essential in valuing transparency, collaboration, and open dialog. Since these values are the most common Scrum principles, the scrum master is accountable for implementing them.
Creen’s Delivery Manager Role
From our point of view, a delivery manager is a contact point between clients and our internal teams accountable for the project delivery. Our DM communicates well, gives constructive suggestions, and provides superior project deliverables.
Delivery managers are present throughout the product development lifecycle, from project initiation until closure. They actively contribute to pre-project activities and advise clients about the best technology for constructing products.
Clients usually come up with brilliant project ideas but need help understanding how the implementation goes. The delivery manager highlights all potential obstacles, resolves concerns, and speeds up the project launch.
Forming and Leading Software Development Teams
After gathering a client’s requirements, our delivery manager forms a software engineering team. Depending on the technology stack agreed upon with the client; he decides which developers are the most qualified for the project.
On the other hand, the team should understand the project requirements they are working on and have the necessary tools. So, the DM focuses on making these things happen and ensuring the team has everything to deliver a software project successfully.
Managing Working Tasks
The biggest challenge is creating a perfect environment where programmers can express their full potential and construct valuable results. To maintain high productivity and avoid potential burn-outs, a delivery manager has to determine the team’s capacity and prioritize tasks on time.
Delivery managers usually rely on scrum ceremonies and company procedures consisting of the following:
- Managing backlog prioritization and planning together with a client
- Writing user stories and planning the team’s work per sprint
- Making sure the team is following the company and client’s procedures
Being Responsible for the Technical Quality of a Delivery
A delivery manager plays the most crucial role in our projects in technical quality assurance. Some of the duties involved are: ensuring proper code reviews, establishing best-in-class DevOps practices, and generally adhering to industry best practices, standards, and regulations.
The delivery manager works closely with technical teams to ensure a software solution is tested and validated to meet client expectations. They identify and address any potential roadblocks, technical challenges, or risks that may arise during delivery.
To achieve technical quality assurance, delivery managers focus on metrics, tools, and processes that support continuous improvement. They provide leadership and guidance to software development teams and ensure they develop high-quality and scalable solutions.
Keeping a Good Relationship with Stakeholders
Delivery managers act with integrity towards every person influenced by the projects in their scope. To maintain positive stakeholder relationships, they are:
- Communicate fluently and consistently
- Exceed clients’ expectations
- Share knowledge across a project team
- Spread optimism and positive energy
- Promote company culture and core values
Creen Software Delivery Management
Our software delivery management is split into three packages – software development, project management, and product management. Delivery managers have different responsibilities within each of these.
Just Software Development
Some clients outsource their projects only to add an extension to their software engineering team. They already have internal departments consisting of people responsible for project management and product management.
Usually, companies outsource their software projects to gain access to specialized skills they do not have in-house. In this case, our help comes only from just software development.
Even though we are not involved in management processes, we are always open to questions. The delivery manager’s job is to provide the best possible answer to our client’s questions and the challenges of our team.
Our Project Management
Software project management encapsulates planning, leading, execution, time management, and tracking the quality of deliverables. This is the field where our delivery managers can show all their superior capabilities.
From this point of view, our delivery manager is accountable for the following tasks (examples):
- Preparing and leading Scrum meetings (daily meetings, spring planning, backlog grooming, spring review, and retrospective meeting)
- Capacity management and team management
- Organizing testing and ensuring code quality procedures are met
- Keeping track of budget and timeline
Driving Product Management
Product management is essential to any successful business, especially regarding software solutions. To build software, it is essential to have a product roadmap, which is then broken down into epics/user stories.
Sometimes, our clients have this already available. However, often we can support them in establishing or further clarifying their product vision and roadmap. In this case, our delivery managers work closely with them to develop a product concept aligned with their objectives.
Our delivery manager does everything listed in the previous package, plus the following tasks:
- Understanding what the client wants through product workshops
- Talking to various stakeholders and collecting important information
- Creating a product roadmap
- Writing user stories
- Managing the backlog
So, in addition to software development, the client also outsources part of product management. This is where we can see the connection between their product owner and our delivery manager. Our delivery manager takes over the PO’s tasks to a certain extent.
While the product owner, scrum master, and delivery managers are integral to successful software delivery, they each have slightly different responsibilities.
The product owner is responsible for defining the product vision, managing the backlog of work, and ensuring the product meets customer expectations. The scrum master facilitates the agile process and ensures the team follows scrum principles. Any roadblocks that may hinder progress should be removed.
The delivery manager oversees the development process to ensure timely and efficient delivery by managing resources and product quality.
Creen’s delivery managers can deal with the PO and scrum master tasks. Someone would say we have united these two roles, but this is partially true. One of the key responsibilities of our delivery managers is maintaining high-level software quality by performing code reviews. Technical quality assurance is a fundamental principle of our software delivery.