Software Management Triumvirate: Delivery, Product and Technical

I view Delivery, Product and Technical as the three legs of software management stool. I have people responsible for these elements at both programme and project/team level.

Three Management Roles

I’ve found that programmes and projects work best with three managerial roles on the team. Each of these roles views the work from a different perspective and has a different responsibility:

  • Delivery
  • Product
  • Technical

I’m not alone

It turns out I’m not alone. At least two of the Agile luminaries have ended up in a similar place: Johanna Rothman and Scott Ambler.

The table shows the names of the roles at both programme and project/team level. I have ignored differences between British and American spelling.

Level Responsibility Steven Thomas Johanna Rothman Scott Ambler
Programme Delivery Programme Manager Programme Manager Programme Manager
Technical Programme Architect Programme Architect Chief Architecture Owner
Product Programme Product Owner Programme Product Owner Chief Product Owner
Project/Team Delivery Project Manager Scrum Master Team Lead
Technical Technical Lead ? Team Lead / Architecture Owner
Product Product Owner Product Owner Product Owner

Johanna Rothman

Johanna Rothman is probably the most prolific writer on Agile Programme Management so I was interested to discover she also has roles for the people responsible for delivery, product and technical aspects of a programme. Johanna Rothman calls this management group a “triad”. [If my name, “triumvirate” has hints of Roman imperialism, then “triad” points towards Chinese gangsters. 😉 ]

In her post Agile, Architects, and Programs, Rothman explains:

Our initial triad was this: the Program Manager, the Program Product Owner and the Program Architect are all concerned with the business value of the product, although in different ways.

Rothman uses the “product owner” and “scrum master” terminology so I assume these are the roles she advocates at the project/team level. Unfortunately a quick search didn’t reveal what technical role Rothman has at the project/team level.

Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD)

Scott Ambler is the creator of Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) and DAD also has people responsible for the delivery, product and technical aspects of a programme. Similarly there are people at the team level who have these responsibilities.

The Disciplined Agile Program Management 101 says:

large programs will find that they need: a Product Management (or Product Ownership) strategy where the Product Owners coordinate their activities; an Architecture (or Architecture Ownership) strategy where the Architecture Owners coordinate their activities; and a Product Delivery (or Management) strategy where the Team Leads coordinate their activities. The Program Manager, a specialist role, is responsible for coordinating the overall leadership team.

It is clear from Large Agile Teams in DAD that there is a Chief Architecture Owner and a Chief Product Owner who lead the the sub-groups in their respective domain.

There is an obvious difference between my approach and DAD. I have “Project Managers” as the “Delivery” person in the teams whereas DAD has a “Team Lead”. DAD’s Team Lead combines technical and delivery responsibilities. Personally I think this is unreasonable overloading of a single role.

References

Disciplined Agile Delivery. (n.d.). Disciplined Agile Program Management 101. Author.

Disciplined Agile Delivery. (n.d.). Large Agile Teams in DAD. Author.

Rothman, J. (2011, 7 July). Agile, Architects, and Programs. Author.

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