Building core roles in a team

Learn more about the importance of building core roles in a multidisciplinary team. This guidance explains why you need core roles, what a core role is, their value, purpose and how to find them.

Why you need core roles in a team

Core roles allow you to:

  • design and deliver a service that is simple, clear and fast
  • ensure your team has the right capabilities (skills, knowledge, attributes) throughout the life of the service

Setting up a multidisciplinary team helps you comply with Criteria 2 of the Digital Service Standard. The team designs, builds, operates and improves the service.

Core roles in a multidisciplinary team

The core roles in a multidisciplinary team are consistent from discovery through to live. Team members can be Australian Public Service staff or a combination of staff, contractors and secondees.

What the core roles are

There are 10 core roles to consider when building a multidisciplinary team. A team member may perform more than one of these roles. For example, a content designer may also do user research.

You may need some or all of the following core roles, depending on the type of service you are designing:

  • product manager
  • content designer
  • user researcher
  • service designer
  • delivery manager
  • interaction designer
  • developer
  • technology lead
  • performance analyst       
  • tester

The same core roles should be in the team for all 4 stages of the service design and delivery process. Find out more about the function and purpose of these core roles in a multidisciplinary team.

Extended roles

An extended role refers to when you may need specialist expertise to join the team for a time. For example, you may need the role of content strategist at the start of designing a service, but not for the whole service.

How to structure your team and decide on core roles

Start with a user-centred approach. Think about what you need to design and deliver to meet user needs. Different types of products and services will determine which of the core roles you need.

Put users first

Seek to understand user needs. Build your multidisciplinary team around a problem or service.

Understand the roles

Understand what the different core roles are and what they do. You can then decide which roles you need in your multidisciplinary team to develop the product or service your agency needs.

Decide when you need them

Decide when you need the roles. This will depend on the type of service you’re designing and delivering. Once you decide which core roles you need, they will stay in place for the life of the service.

For example, if you are designing and building a service, you will likely need all 10 core roles. If you are designing policy or legislation, you may not need a developer or a technology lead.

You will always need the core roles of product manager and user researcher, as these are foundational to any service.

Try to make sure that your core team is also empowered to make decisions. This will help them move through the service design and delivery process as smoothly as possible.

Further guidance

With a clear understanding of digital roles, you can better decide what you need, when you need them.

Get in touch

For further information, please email capability@dta.gov.au