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The digital delivery team

Establish teams with the right skills to create user-centred services that are digital by default.

This guide outlines the different skills required in a sustainable multidisciplinary team to design, build, operate and iterate a digital service that is in the scope of the Digital Service Standard.

The team should be located together, work closely through a Discovery stage, and then deliver ongoing iterations of user-centred services.

Who you need

A digital delivery team needs the skills and capabilities to do everything required to deliver a service according to the Digital Service Standard. To do this you will require people in the following roles.

Service Manager

Responsible for the overall delivery and operation of the digital service.

These are experienced leaders with a strong understanding of their service and its users. They represent their service at all levels within the agency, working to ensure it’s delivered successfully and meets its users’ needs.

They need to be a senior executive with the capacity to unblock obstacles, champion the project at the most senior levels and assist in making sure the internal processes are focussed on achieving results for the product. They need to be available to the team, but not necessarily be present with them at all times.

Involvement: Across the entire project but not 100%

Product Manager

Works with the team to create the vision for the product, and sets the day-to-day priorities to fulfil that vision and ensure the team delivers.

The owner of the product backlog, the Product Manager is responsible for prioritising user stories, attending daily stand ups and accepting stories when they’re delivered. They’re on hand to answer product questions from the delivery team and work closely with the user researchers to make sure the product is meeting user needs.

Involvement: Across the entire project

Delivery Manager

Enables agile teams to deliver high-quality services. They remove obstacles or blockers to progress; and facilitate project meetings.

The Delivery Manager delivers products and services using agile methodologies, learning and iterating the product and processes frequently to meet users’ needs. They work with product managers to define the roadmap for products and services. They run the daily stand up and weekly team meetings, and make sure that the backlog and team spaces are up to date.

Involvement: Across the entire project

User Researcher

Helps the team develop a deep understanding of their users and user needs.

The User Researcher works closely with the product manager and the designers in the team to ensure prioritisation of the work that benefits the users. They are responsible for building understanding of the service’s users and their behaviour, and providing insight to the team about how users interact with the service. They take the lead on running sessions with real users, and communicating findings back to the whole team, creating actionable insights to guide design.

Involvement: Across the entire project

Technology Lead

The most senior technical person in the team. Their role is to break down complex problems and lead by example in writing quality code.

The Technical Lead role is to ensure the product is technically aligned, and provide coaching and feedback to other technical team members. They lead the rapid development of user-driven prototypes to identify technical options and inform architectural approaches, working with colleagues and supplier team members to write tests, code and documentation for new and existing systems.

Technical leads have an equal balance of technical expertise gained through current, hands-on involvement in developing real-world systems, and excellent interpersonal skills allied with the ability to quickly develop strong working relationships in high pressure environments.

Involvement: Across the entire project

Designer

There are different types of design requirements across the project:

Service Designer

Designs user-focused services that meet web standards and contributes to the development and continual enhancement of products.

The Service Designer uses design practices to take the intuitive leap from research to identifying ways that the service could be delivered so that it better meets user needs, across all users, delivery channels and touchpoints. Creates a blueprint or map of the proposed service, ensuring that key elements are built in from the outset. Contributes to the development and continual enhancement of products, partnering with colleagues to facilitate a consistent user experience.

Involvement: Across the entire project ideally, but with particular focus during the Discovery stage

Interaction Designer

Responsible for designing a user-focussed and accessible service, and making use of established design patterns.

The Interaction Designer creates the user interface for the service, ensuring that it is designed to work across devices and browsers, meets web standards, is accessible and is able to be used by people regardless of their digital literacy. They make use of agreed design patterns and contribute to the design community to improve and add to design patterns. They work closely with the content designer to improve the usability of the service, with the user researcher to conduct usability testing and design experiments, and with the technical team members to develop and iterate prototypes with a view to continuously improving the service. The Interaction Designer either makes prototypes in HTML or has enough familiarity with code to work closely with developers to make the HTML prototypes.

Involvement: Across the entire project ideally, but with particular focus during the Alpha and Beta stages

Content Designer

Ensures that written guidance is clear and meets user needs, and that questions and other copy on forms is clear, simple and understood by users.

The Content Designer writes words that let people of all ages and backgrounds understand what they need to know and what they need to do. They write questions for forms that people can understand and answer confidently and accurately. They use and advocate for plain English.

The Content Designer works closely with the content owner, interaction designer and user researcher to continuously improve the words. The Content Designer also works with the content community to develop a government style that is clear, approachable and consistent across multiple platforms.

Involvement: Across the entire project ideally, but with particular focus during the Alpha and Beta stages

Developer

Builds quality, well-tested software and sites according to standards and best practice.

Developers build software in a team with a relentless focus on how it will be used. They write quality well-tested code and try to find the simplest solution to a given problem. Some will specialise in being a front end or a back end developer but most will have solid skills in both. A good team has a mix of front and back end skills. As they work, they’re expected to keep security, accessibility and open standards in mind, and improve (“refactor”) the technical implementation as they go along.

Involvement: Across the Alpha and Beta stages

Ethical Hacker

Ensures system security, identifies cyber security risks, applies risk treatments, detects and manages cyber security incidents.

The Ethical Hacker is not a full time allocated role to the team. They should be consulted during the Alpha stage to ensure best practice is followed when build begins in Beta, and during Beta the Ethical Hacker needs to be involved part time across the duration of the stage to help the team analyse and resolve security risks, and build secure code.

Involvement: Across the Beta, with some consultation in Alpha

Performance Analyst

Specifies, collects and presents the key performance data and analysis for their service

Digital performance analysts sit at the heart of a team, working to specify, collect and present the key performance data and analysis for their service. They are essential to how the government continuously measures, assesses, and improves performance in transacting with the public. Analysts support service managers by generating new and useful information and translating it into actions that will allow them to iteratively improve their service for users.

Involvement: Across the Beta, with some consultation in Alpha - not at 100%

Subject Matter Expert

Provides in-depth expertise and high-level knowledge (as an authority) in a particular subject matter area, including current policy.

Involvement: Across all stages - not necessarily at 100%

Web Operations Engineer

Runs the production systems, helps the team deploy quickly and reliably and ensures the smooth running of the service.

Responsible for keeping the service online, web ops are critical to any digital service. They work closely with developers to make sure that all technology is built with consideration to how it will be operated, and put the foundations in place for the service to be hosted and deployed to preview and live environments. This involves expertise in areas such as infrastructure, configuration management, monitoring, deployment and operating systems. Along with other developers in the team, they’re expected to share the out-of-hours support responsibility for the service.

Involvement: Across the Alpha and Beta stages - not at 100%

You may also need

Accessibility/Diversity specialist

Supports the team with an in-depth knowledge of best practice in accessible development.

Involvement: Across all stages - not at 100%

Business Analyst

Helps the team to understand the internal processes and systems of the organisation.

The BA helps in the understanding and documentation of the constraints and opportunities presented by the organisation’s processes and systems. They work closely with the service designer to ensure the design approach can be implemented in the business.

Involvement: varies from project to project but can offer significant value during Discovery stage

Finding people or teams through the Digital Marketplace

If you work in local, state and federal government, you can find people for your digital delivery team in the Digital Marketplace in as little as a week.

Part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, the Digital Marketplace has hundreds of digital service providers approved to offer the services required for today’s digital projects.

In the Digital Marketplace you can:

All businesses listed in the Digital Marketplace use agile methodologies to design, build and deliver their projects.

When you engage external people look for opportunities to upskill your own team so you have that capability in the future. Ask one of your own staff to assist a more experienced contractor to learn from them. You should only work with sellers who are willing to pass on their expertise.

Visit the Digital Marketplace.

This content has been adapted from the UK Government Service Design Manual guide on The team under the Open Government Licence v2.0.

Last updated: 18 October 2016