What is a Delivery Lead?

There’s a new role that is starting to take shape in the realm of software development, and that’s the role of Delivery Lead but what exactly is this role?

In my last article we explored the Software Delivery Lead role and how it relates to Project Management, Agile, and Scaling. Here, we’ll dive a little deeper in an attempt to better define this emerging role.

A Delivery Lead’s role is to enable the successful delivery of a portfolio of initiatives or features for a particular team or product area. They’re an enabler; they think strategically, and they provide leadership.

The Delivery Lead works with a software development team and throughout the Software Delivery Lifecycle (SDLC). The most important touch-points for a Delivery Lead are the beginning and the end of the lifecycle; specifically the planning & requirements and deployment and operations management.

At the beginning, they work with the team to ensure initiatives are well-defined and ready to work on. Near the end of the SDLC, they work with the team to ensure completed features get into a production environment and into the hands of stakeholders—with confidence and ideally with minimal manual intervention.

Delivery Leads also work to enhance communication and continuity across teams by assisting their particular team or product area to better communicate and co-ordinate initiatives with that of other teams or product areas.

A Delivery Lead is also an enabler for a software development team. They have a solid understanding of software delivery methods, Agile principals and methods, and classic Project Management approaches. They use this brew of knowledge and provide insights and make decisions that help to elevate a team, ultimately building more productive and resilient teams to achieving more impactful and transparent outcomes.

A Delivery Lead often also has acquired knowledge of best-practices in software integration and delivery. This could include best-practices in testing, continuous integration/delivery, and cloud-native engineering, to name but a few. Applying this knowledge — along with their own experience, background, and insights — Delivery Leads are well-positioned to identify practices that are well-suited for a given team to further elevate teams to achieve successes.

Delivery Leads also provide key insights to stakeholders — Product Managers, Software Delivery Leads, Executives, and Stakeholders — on the progress of an initiative or feature from inception to delivery and into production. They keep stakeholders informed by enhancing the visibility of development efforts and providing regular insights through metrics, charts, and status report. This allows key stakeholders to stay informed and enables them to make better business and product decisions.

Delivery Lead is also a strategic and leadership role. Delivery Leads are actively involved in helping to define and shape the features and products they’re working to deliver, almost always alongside a Product Manager and frequently a Software Manager too.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or the position of any entity.

Technologist, car enthusiast, and Oxford comma evangelist. Can be found forest bathing when not experiencing the daily inner-city pressures.

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