So what does a Delivery Manager do?

Delivery Managers play a key role at the DTO. Yiannis Godfrey reveals what the role of a Delivery Manager is and what they do.

Yiannis Godfrey giving a presentation
Caption: Yiannis Godfrey Delivery Manager of the Alpha project presenting to the team.

Delivery Managers play a key role at the DTO particularly in driving our Digital Transformation Projects.

If you’re new to digital transformation, you might not have come across this role before.

Quite simply, a Delivery Manager is responsible for the delivery of projects and products, particularly using Agile methods. They need to work closely with the Product Manager and the rest of the team to define the vision, keep everyone on the right track and ensure common priorities feeding this into the prioritisation of work ensuring that all products are built to an appropriate level of quality for the stage (alpha/beta/production).

In many ways, the role of Delivery Manager can be seen as an evolution of the traditional role of Project Manager. The Delivery Manager is primarily there to serve the needs of the team, and lead them in the right direction. To shield the team from anything they shouldn’t have to worry about and which could impact on delivery. A good example of this might be removing ‘blockers’ or obstacles to progress: negotiating with stakeholders, refocusing senior leadership, or addressing procurement issues for example.

Like troubleshooting? A good Delivery Manager should also be able to spot warning signs, to foresee and remove blockers before they become problematic - often, this means providing constructive challenges to senior management on issues.

If you’ve got good communication skills, Delivery Manager might be the kind of role for you as well. It’s important to be visible to staff and stakeholders and to regularly undertake activities to engage and build trust with people involved in the area of work. Clarifying strategies and plans, and communicating a clear sense of direction and purpose for self and team, are the best things we can do to help these projects along.

Delivery Managers should actively participate in the agile delivery community; sharing and re-applying skills and knowledge, and bring in best practice across the organisation and government.

On a day-to-day basis, a Delivery Manager might lead collaborative and planning processes, prioritising the work that needs to be done against the capacity and capability of the team. This might include facilitating daily stand-ups and other sprint ceremonies, and coaching teams on Agile tools and techniques.

People who are unhappy in their jobs are undoubtedly less productive. So it’s very important for the Delivery Manger to also ensure teams are able to, not only work effectively by having a productive working environment, but are happy at work. A Delivery Manager will strive to make working with the team, and within the organisation, an enjoyable experience. This might mean:

  • Giving people the space and tools to think creatively
  • Providing enthusiastic and encouraging feedback on priorities, objectives and expectations.
  • Keeping performance and morale high under difficult and challenging circumstances.
  • Managing team dynamics and creating a culture of innovation while working across Departmental and other boundaries and;
  • Seeking constructive outcomes in discussions, challenging traditional assumptions while remaining willing to compromise when it is beneficial to progress.

As governments and other organisations adapt their processes and structures to meet the challenges of the digital age, we’re likely to see more and more roles like that of the Delivery Manager popping up.