Hi guys, what’s up? Have you been polishing your CV and getting ready for that new Delivery Manager role? Your DTO says it needs loads of people and now you’re wondering “what does a Delivery Manager do?” Digital Koolaid has been checking out the challenge.
Yiannis Godfrey at your DTO blogged hard and said “Quite simply, a Delivery Manager is responsible for the delivery of projects and products”. Check it and you’ll see it in writing: a DM is so not a Project Manager. A PM has to actually manage a project, so be clever and flip it to just “deliver” the project instead. Problem solved. And then, a DM is definitely not a Product Manager either. That’s another pay packet and hey, it’s not your job to manage products is it? There’s a guy for that. A DM just “delivers” products. If that’s not clear I hope you’re still on the same page with Yiannis and me, else head back up to the blog. There’s Yiannis showing The Thing (STM).
He blogged that, in many ways, the role of Delivery Manager can be seen as the (d)evolution of the traditional role of Project Manager. Just take a normal PM role and cut out the tricky bits. It’s easy, just do this:
- Forget project planning. There’s no plan so you won’t have to do that bit.
- Forget an org structure. Everybody does everything so nobody is responsible.
- Forget the project schedule. This will just keep iterating until we run out of money.
- Forget money too. There’s lots, and there’s always more next year anyway.
- Forget resources. That’s way too hard to predict and you won’t need to care.
- Forget deliverables. They’re in the next sprint …. you can relax
News! That leaves the non-PM stuff, like this:
- Serve the needs of the team, and lead them in the right direction, from behind …
- Shield the team from anything they shouldn’t have to worry about, by ostriching …
- Remove ‘blockers’ or obstacles to progress, by denying they exist …
- Negotiate with stakeholders, so there’s heaps of meetings and you’ll always look really really busy …
- Refocus senior leadership, because our senior leaders are like, really unfocussed …
- Address procurement issues, by buying all sorts of stuff … without a tender, from mates
Do you like troubleshooting? A good DM should also be able to spot warning signs, to foresee things and get the hell out of there before they become problematic – often, this means letting the team know you are providing constructive challenges and refocusing senior management – maybe at another site / state.
If you’ve got good communication skills, great. If you don’t, great; a DM might be just the kind of role for you either way. Can you clarify strategies and plans, and communicate a clear sense of direction and purpose for self and team to help projects along? No need to read up: the DTO needs you.
And you’ll get to travel. A DTO DM should actively participate in the agile delivery community; that’s stuff like skills and knowledge, and best practice across the organisation and government, so there’ll be loads of off-site meetings, workshops and networking. It’s important to be visible to new employers and recruiters and to regularly undertake activities to build your profile with the people overseeing a vision for the delivery framework of the strategy in the area of work your team has to do while you are away from the office. Remember to set your Out-Of-Office please.
Yiannis blogs that 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“. But then again s/he might not as well, if it’s avoidable. Hey, it’s such an empowered team it collaborates, plans and prioritises all by itself. Is that cool? You can still go to daily stand-ups and ceremonies, and coach teams on Agile tools and techniques which you don’t have to know about if you don’t already. The DTO is really flexible with that type of thing, so just apply anyway if you’re from the UK.
Yiannis says these next points are the really important bits and you’ll get paid to be a DM if you can make working with the team and organisation an enjoyable experience (think …. like, fun)
- Give people the space and tools to think creatively, and avoid responsibility … No PM
- Provide enthusiastic and encouraging feedback on priorities, objectives and expectations, that you won’t have to meet …. No Plan
- Keep performance and morale high under difficult and challenging circumstances, that you won’t you have to fix …. No Issues
- Manage team dynamics, from outside the team at another site …. No Leader
- Create a culture of innovation while working across departmental and other boundaries, which have nothing to do with your project …. No Scope and;
- Seek constructive outcomes in discussions, challenge traditional assumptions while remaining willing to compromise, because compromise is the heart of innovation … No Passion
And guys, get this. The totally awesome part of being a DTO DM is that you won’t have to actually deliver anything. Even though Yiannis says (quite simply) a Delivery Manager is responsible … you won’t be. If in the unlikely, like impossible, situation that your high performance, totally agile, multi-disciplined team doesn’t actually like, deliver, you aren’t gonna get hurt. Secret is ….. there’s actually nothing to deliver, you can just put something out there, call it Beta and iterate wildly … chill.
Yiannis says “we’re likely to see more and more roles like that of the Delivery Manager popping up.” Sky’s the limit for a new DM. Gotta get that CV finished …
Guys, quick heads up. Yiannis Godfrey is a paid Delivery Manager at your DTO. He worked with Paul, and Leisa, and Dan at the GDS in London. He did French, Law, Politics and Sociology, and he’s definitely a very nice guy. Now he lives in Sydney and you pay for him to fly down to Canberra, hotel stay and fly home again. We love the idea of getting paid to travel from home to work (with travel allowance) but haven’t got it to happen … yet. When you become a DTO DM maybe you’ll tell us how … with frequent flier points.