Understanding digital roles

There are various roles in a multidisciplinary team. Learn about what each role does and what purpose it serves.

When you set up a multidisciplinary digital delivery team you have members from different disciplines in your team. You work together on the same service at the same time. You get better results more quickly.

This is different to having a separate team for each discipline — for example business analysts, developers and testers. This can slow delivery. Each team relies on the previous team finishing their work before they can start.

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Digital disciplines

The roles in a multidisciplinary team come from different disciplines.

You may need some of the following disciplines in your team:

  • user research
  • product management
  • delivery management
  • interaction design
  • service design
  • content design
  • performance analysis
  • software engineering
  • testing
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Digital roles

You will need some roles in your core multidisciplinary team for the life of the service.

You may also need to bring in specific roles for stages of the service design and delivery process.

Remember that one team member can cover several roles, and these may be from different disciplines. For example, your content designer may also do user research.

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Service manager

The service manager is responsible for the whole user experience. Sometimes called the senior responsible officer or experience owner, they:

  • are a senior executive who can unblock obstacles
  • are an experienced leader with a strong understanding of their service and its users
  • champion the service at the most senior levels of the Australian Public Service
  • ensure the service is delivered on time and budget, and meets user needs
  • help make sure internal processes focus on achieving results
  • are available to the team, but not with them all the time
  • create actionable insights to guide work
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Product manager

The product manager leads the strategic direction and delivery of the service or product. Sometimes called a product owner, they:

  • work with the user researcher and service designer to understand the current service
  • work with the team to set the vision for improving the service
  • work with the user researcher, service designer and delivery manager to make sure the service meets user needs
  • own and manage the product backlog
  • prioritise user stories
  • accept user stories when they’re delivered
  • manage stakeholder engagement
  • manage approvals and budget
  • ensure the right team culture develops
  • are available to answer questions from the team
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Delivery manager

The delivery manager ensures multidisciplinary teams deliver simple, clear and fast services. Sometimes called a scrum master, they:

  • ensure the team works in an agile way and builds a user-centred service
  • reduce risk by regularly releasing and improving parts of the service
  • iterate frequently to meet user needs
  • monitor team delivery
  • help remove blockers to progress
  • work with the product manager to plan how to deliver the service and products
  • run daily stand up and weekly team meetings
  • make sure that the product backlog is up to date
  • may manage the budget with the product manager

Read our blog on what a delivery manager does.

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User researcher

The user researcher helps the team develop a deep understanding of users and their needs. They:

  • build understanding of the users and their behaviour
  • work with the product manager and designers to prioritise work to meet user needs
  • run research sessions with users
  • analyse and share findings
  • provide insights on how users interact with the service or product
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Content strategist

The content strategist creates a plan to deliver content that meets user and agency needs. They:

  • develop a content strategy that guides the creation of clear and well-structured content for the product or service
  • focus on the planning, structure, process, creation, delivery, governance and archiving of content
  • align content with business goals and user needs
  • audit content
  • helps create information architecture
  • develops and implements measures of success

Learn more at the Digital Transformation Agency’s Content Strategy Guide

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Content designer

The content designer makes sure all content meets user needs. This includes the text, visuals and interactive content. They:

  • work with subject matter experts to write clear text in plain language
  • review content to make sure it’s accurate and written in line with the Content Guide
  • structure content to reflect how users read online and on different devices
  • make sure content is accessible and inclusive
  • make sure content is searchable and findable
  • use research and data to make sure content meets user needs
  • communicate the principles of content design to your team and agency
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Service designer

The service designer identifies how a service can better meet user needs. They:

  • design the end-to-end service, from legislation or policy to service delivery
  • make decisions based on user research
  • design a service that meets user and agency needs
  • make sure the service meets web standards for all users, channels and touchpoints
  • create a blueprint or map of the proposed service
  • make sure the main parts of the service are built in from the start
  • help the team to develop and iterate the service or product
  • make sure the service and product are consistent for users
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Interaction designer

The interaction designer creates the user interface for the service. They:

  • design the interface to work across devices and browsers
  • make sure the interface meets web standards, including accessibility
  • make sure users have a consistent experience across the service
  • build the user interface with responsive design methods using common design patterns
  • use and contribute to the Design System
  • share with the design community to improve future designs
  • prototype and test services or products, or work with developers to make prototypes
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Technology lead

The technology lead finds the best technology solutions to deliver a service. Sometimes called a lead engineer, they:

  • develop and implement the tech strategy for the product or service
  • consider what is technically and financially viable
  • ensure the technology solution works with your agency’s enterprise architecture
  • guide and carry out the implementation of technology
  • are aware of current and emerging technologies
  • make decisions about technology that reduce service support and maintenance costs
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Developer

The developer designs and builds quality, well-tested technical solutions. Sometimes called engineers, they:

  • base their design on standards and best practice
  • build technical solutions with a focus on user needs
  • use open standards and common government platforms where appropriate
  • write quality well-tested source code which is open by default
  • try to find the simplest solution to a given problem
  • design with security and accessibility from the start
  • solve technical problems
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Tester

The digital tester ensures that services and products meet user needs. They:

  • build and run tests (ideally automated) to confirm the service or product meets user and stakeholder needs
  • help to discover problems while the service is being developed, not once it is live
  • check the operating environment to make sure test results are valid
  • help increase user and agency confidence in future service or product delivery
  • help reduce the risk of reputational damage
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Cloud service manager

The cloud service manager makes sure cloud usage is effective and meets your agency’s needs. They:

  • understand cloud options
  • monitor user and agency usage and demands
  • advise on, plan for and optimise the consumption of cloud services by your agency
  • help enable early adoption of new services that may save time and money
  • prevent unnecessary expenditure on cloud services (bill shock)
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Accessibility and inclusion specialist

The accessibility and inclusion specialist makes sure all users can access a service. This includes meeting individual needs. They:

  • advocate for users of all ages, backgrounds and abilities
  • identify current and potential user groups
  • help user groups take part in research, design, development and testing
  • ensure the service is designed with accessibility from the start
  • make sure all potential users can interact with a service
  • ensure the service works with assistive technologies
  • make sure there are non-digital service alternatives
  • work to make accessibility part of your agency’s culture
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Cyber security specialist

The cyber security specialist helps protect data, services and networked systems and devices. They:

  • help agencies make a service secure
  • use technology, processes and practices to protect data and services from unauthorised use or harm
  • are responsible for detecting and deterring cyber threats for their agency
  • respond to cyber threats with intelligence and analytics
  • provide knowledge about cyber security vulnerabilities and threats
  • provide information on how to address and mitigate threats
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Performance analyst

The performance analyst uses data to make evidence-based decisions about improving the service. They:

  • aim to make the service more effective
  • ensure the service is set up to collect performance data from the start
  • analyse and interpret trends
  • recommend improvements to the service
  • drive a culture of continuous improvement
  • support business decision-making to deliver services that are simple, clear and fast
  • report data that is open and available to the public on the Performance Dashboard

Digital learning standards

Learn more about these roles in the Australian Public Service Commission and Digital Transformation Agency’s Digital Learning Standards.

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Get in touch

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