Guidance

Delivery manager

Find out what a delivery manager does and the skills you need to do the job.

This describes the role of a delivery manager and the skills required, including:

  • an introduction to the role, telling you what you would do in this role and the full list of skills
  • a description of the levels in this role, from associate delivery manager to head of (agile) delivery management, specifying the skills you need for each level and the corresponding skill level (awareness, working, practitioner, expert)

This role is part of the Digital, Data and Technology Profession in the Civil Service.

Introduction to the role of delivery manager

A delivery manager is accountable for the delivery of products and services.

Skills required to be a delivery manager

You will need the following skills for this role, although the level of expertise for each will vary, depending on the role level.

  • Agile and Lean practices. You know about and can lead on a range of Agile and Lean tools and techniques, with an ability to coach within and outside of your team. You can represent and be an advocate for these tools and techniques. You are innovative and ensure that you are up-to-date with the latest trends. You can establish a feedback loop for teams; you can take responsibility for the translation and measurement of value (what you put in and what you will get out) and ensure this relates to practical government objectives and the user needs. You can ensure the team has a situational awareness of work and priorities across the team. You can ensure that working practices are iterated to achieve effective delivery.
  • Commercial management. You can support effective budget management within the constraints of the project. You know how to monitor projected budgets against expenditure.
  • Communication skills. You know how to communicate effectively across organisational, technical and political boundaries, understanding the context. You can advocate and communicate what a team does to create trust and authenticity. You know how to successfully react and respond to challenge.
  • Financial management. You can support effective budget management within the constraints of the project. You know how to monitor projected budgets against expenditure.
  • Life-cycle perspective. You understand the different phases of product delivery and can contribute to, plan or run these. You can maintain a product or process through the delivery phases, into live and then into retirement. You know how to lead a team through the different phases of the delivery product life cycle. You can maintain and iterate a product over time to continuously meet user needs. You understand incident management and service support so that products are built effectively.
  • Maintaining delivery momentum. You can solve issues and unblock problems. You know how to drive team and set the pace, ensuring teams are working towards delivery commitments. You can engage in elements of risk management such as effectively managing and tracking the mitigation of risks. You can manage various dependencies across teams, departments and government as a whole.
  • Making the process work. You focus on the outcome. You can challenge and improve disproportionate organisational processes where it impacts the pace of the team. You can identify what works best for the team and when to utilise certain processes. You understand that all steps in a process must add value. You can influence and make positive changes to the organisation.
  • Planning. You can take a consistent and ongoing approach to planning, forecasting, estimating, managing uncertainty, metrics and measurements, contingency planning and roadmapping. You know how to communicate plans, planning assumptions and progress to a range of stakeholders. You can maintain the cadence of delivery and manage the relationships between different people within and across teams.
  • Team dynamics and collaboration. You know how to build successful delivery teams. You understand team styles and how people work together. You can maintain, influence and motivate a team. You can give and receive feedback, facilitating the feedback loop. You can ensure the health of a team and facilitate conflict resolution, accelerating team performance. You can ensure that the team works in a transparent way and that the work is understood externally. You can create an open and collaborative working environment; you are flexible, adaptable and have a willingness to learn. You can recognise how people work together, facilitating the best team make-up depending on the situation. You know how to help teams maintain a focus on delivery while being aware of the importance of professional development.

Associate delivery manager

As an associate delivery manager, you will work on a small or mature agile team and learn on the job. At this level, you may work alongside a delivery manager on a larger team, shadowing and providing support, or working to deliver an element themselves under guidance and mentorship.

Skills needed for this role

  • Agile and Lean practices. You have had experience in applying Agile principles in practice. You can provide a clear, open and transparent framework in which teams can deliver. You have an awareness of Agile tools and are starting to use them intelligently. You can visualise and make visible the work of the team. (Relevant skill level: working)
  • Commercial management. You can act as the point of contact for contracted suppliers. You understand appropriate internal contacts and processes within a government department. You know how and when third parties should be brought into digital, data and technology (DDaT) projects. (Relevant skill level: working)
  • Communication skills. You can effectively translate and accurately communicate to technical and non-technical stakeholders as well as facilitate discussions within a multidisciplinary team, with potentially difficult dynamics. You can advocate for the team externally and know how to manage differing perspectives. (Relevant skill level: working)
  • Financial management. You understand the financial impact of the work you do and how cost and budgets are created. (Relevant skill level: awareness)
  • Life-cycle perspective. You understand how the needs of the team and the product vary across the stages of the product life cycle. (Relevant skill level: awareness)
  • Maintaining delivery momentum. You can actively address internal risks and issues and know when to escalate them. You set the team cadence and tempo, ensuring it is sustainable. You know how to track, manage, escalate and communicate dependencies. You can actively remove or minimise risks, issues or dependencies where possible. You understand how the risks, issues or dependencies impact the work of a team. (Relevant skill level: working)
  • Making the process work. You can guide teams to focus on the output rather than the process. You can help the team to find a process that works for them. You can support teams in establishing a process. (Relevant skill level: working)
  • Planning. You know about the importance of planning and forecasting and the different ways to develop a plan. (Relevant skill level: awareness)
  • Team dynamics and collaboration. You know about the importance of team dynamics, collaboration and empowering delivery teams. You understand the importance of feedback. (Relevant skill level: awareness)

Delivery manager

A delivery manager is accountable for the performance of the team. In this role, you will:

  • build and maintain teams, ensuring they are motivated, collaborating and working well
  • identify obstacles and help the team to overcome them
  • focus the team on what is most important to the delivery of products and services
  • encourage and facilitate continuous improvement of the delivery team
  • coach and mentor both team members and others to apply the most appropriate agile and lean tools and techniques

The complexity or breadth of products or teams will vary in this role, depending on the context.

Skills needed for this role

  • Agile and Lean practices. You can identify and compare the best processes or delivery methods to use. You can recognise when something does not work and encourage a mindset of experimentation. You can adapt and reflect, be resilient and have the ability to see outside of the process. You can use a blended approach depending on the context. You can measure and evaluate outcomes. You know how to help teams to manage and visualise outcomes. (Relevant skill level: practitioner)
  • Commercial management. You can act as the point of contact for contracted suppliers. You understand appropriate internal contacts and processes within a government department. You know how and when third parties should be brought into digital, data and technology (DDaT) projects. (Relevant skill level: working)
  • Communication skills. You can listen to the needs of technical and business stakeholders and interpret them. You can manage stakeholders’ expectations and be flexible. You are capable of proactive and reactive communication. You can facilitate difficult discussions within the team or with diverse senior stakeholders. (Relevant skill level: practitioner)
  • Financial management. You know how to balance cost versus value. You can consider the impact of user needs. You can report on financial delivery. You can monitor cost and budget; you know how and when to escalate issues. (Relevant skill level: working)
  • Life-cycle perspective. You recognise when to move from one stage of a product life cycle to another. You can ensure the team is working towards the appropriate service standards for the relevant phase. You can manage delivery products and services at different phases. (Relevant skill level: working)
  • Maintaining delivery momentum. You can facilitate the delivery flow of a team, managing the pace and tempo. You can actively address internal and external risks, issues and dependencies including where ownership exists outside the team. (Relevant skill level: practitioner)
  • Making a process work. You can identify and challenge organisational processes of increasing complexity and those processes that are unnecessarily complicated. You can add value and can coach the organisation to inspect and adapt processes. You know how to guide teams through the implementation of a new process. (Relevant skill level: expert)
  • Planning. You understand the environment and can prioritise the most important or highest value tasks. You can use use data to inform planning. You can manage complex internal and external dependencies. You can provide delivery confidence. You can remove blockers or impediments that affect plans and can develop a plan for difficult situations. You ensure that teams plan appropriately for their own capacity. (Relevant skill level: practitioner)
  • Team dynamics and collaboration. You know how to bring people together to form a motivated team. You can help to create the right environment for a team to work in and can empower them to deliver. You can recognise and deal with issues.You can facilitate the best team make-up depending on the situation. (Relevant skill level: working)

Senior delivery manager

A senior delivery manager is accountable for the effective delivery of complex, high-risk products and services. The role is similar to a delivery manager role, but senior delivery managers have more experience across a range of products and services, throughout the entire product life cycle, and have greater responsibility and accountability as the main point of escalation.

At this level, you will be expected to:

  • have strong communication skills and engage senior stakeholders
  • coach and mentor delivery managers

Skills needed for this role

  • Agile and Lean practices. You know how to coach and lead teams in Agile and Lean practices. You are a recognised expert that advocates these approaches, continuously reflecting and challenging the team. You can create or tailor new ways of working; you are always innovating. (Relevant skill level: expert)
  • Commercial management. You can take responsibility for complex relationships with contracted suppliers. You can identify appropriate contractual frameworks and identify appropriate suppliers. You know how to negotiate with contracted suppliers. You can get good value out of contracts and suppliers. (Relevant skill level: practitioner)
  • Communication skills. You can mediate between people and mend relationships, communicating with stakeholders at all levels. You can manage stakeholder expectations and facilitate discussions about high risk and complexity even within constrained timescales. . You can speak and represent the community to large audiences inside and outside of government. (Relevant skill level: expert)
  • Financial management. You know how to negotiate, influence or set budgets in complex environments. You can write or input into business cases and can communicate business-value propositions. (Relevant skill level: practitioner)
  • Life-cycle perspective. You can apply experience of multiple parts of the product life cycle. You can recognise when it is right to move forward and when it is right to stop. You can recognise the appropriate deliverables and the right people to meet these. You are able to work with other agile delivery operations throughout the product life cycle. You can plan and engage with the appropriate stakeholders at a particular stage in the project. (Relevant skill level: practitioner)
  • Maintaining delivery momentum. You know how to optimise the delivery flow of teams. You actively address the most complicated risks, issues and dependencies including where ownership exists outside the team or no clear ownership exists. You can identify innovative ways to unblock issues. (Relevant skill level: expert)
  • Making a process work. You can identify and challenge organisational processes of increasing complexity and those processes that are unnecessarily complicated. You can add value and can coach the organisation to inspect and adapt processes. You know how to guide teams through the implementation of a new process. (Relevant skill level: expert)
  • Planning. You know how to lead a continual planning process in a very complex environment. You can plan beyond product delivery. You can identify dependencies in plans across services and coordinate delivery. You know how to coach other teams as the central point of expertise. (Relevant skill level: expert)
  • Team dynamics and collaboration. You can identify problems or issues in the team dynamic and rectify them. You can pull out issues through agile health-checks with the team and provoke the right responses. You can engage in varying types of feedback, choosing the right type at the appropriate time and ensuring the discussion and decision sticks. You can accelerate the team development cycle. (Relevant skill level: practitioner)

Head of (agile) delivery management

The head of delivery management is an experienced practitioner who exemplifies what good looks like across the delivery roles.

As a head of delivery management you will:

  • represent and champion the role within your department, across government and in industry
  • lead the community of practice for this role and build capability and excellence (in an agile, lean practice)
  • be responsible for the recruitment of the right people to the right teams
  • support professional development and continuous improvement of their community
  • work with other heads of roles to promote effective cross-functional delivery
  • be a skilled team leader who is able to confidently communicate the value of the role to digital and non-digital stakeholders
  • be credible and influential across departments

Skills needed for this role

  • Agile and Lean practices. You know how to coach and lead teams in Agile and Lean practices. You are a recognised expert that advocates these approaches, continuously reflecting and challenging the team. You can create or tailor new ways of working; you are always innovating. (Relevant skill level: expert)
  • Commercial management. You can act as the escalation point and resolve large or high-risk commercial management issues. You know how to coach others in appropriate commercial management. (Relevant skill level: expert)
  • Communication skills. You can mediate between people and mend relationships, communicating with stakeholders at all levels. You can manage stakeholder expectations and facilitate discussions about high risk and complexity even within constrained timescales. . You can speak and represent the community to large audiences inside and outside of government. (Relevant skill level: expert)
  • Financial management. You know how to negotiate, influence or set budgets in complex environments. You can write or input into business cases and can communicate business-value propositions. (Relevant skill level: practitioner)
  • Life-cycle perspective. You know how to successfully lead teams through the full product life cycle. You can identify which tools and techniques should be used at each stage. You can develop sustainable support models. You can identify and deal with potential risks across or between all stages of the product life cycle. You know how to coach others. You can contribute to the assessment of other teams, providing guidance and support as they move through stages of the product life cycle. (Relevant skill level: expert)
  • Maintaining delivery momentum. You know how to optimise the delivery flow of teams. You actively address the most complicated risks, issues and dependencies including where ownership exists outside the team or no clear ownership exists. You can identify innovative ways to unblock issues. (Relevant skill level: expert)
  • Making a process work. You can identify and challenge organisational processes of increasing complexity and those processes that are unnecessarily complicated. You can add value and can coach the organisation to inspect and adapt processes. You know how to guide teams through the implementation of a new process. (Relevant skill level: expert)
  • Planning. You know how to lead a continual planning process in a very complex environment. You can plan beyond product delivery. You can identify dependencies in plans across services and coordinate delivery. You know how to coach other teams as the central point of expertise. (Relevant skill level: expert)
  • Team dynamics and collaboration. You know how to change organisational structures to fixable and sustainable designs. You can lead on strategy for an entire organisation, joining up business needs with innovative analysis. You can make and justify decisions characterised by high levels of risk, impact and complexity. You know how to build consensus between organisations (private or public) or highly independent and diverse stakeholders. You can solve and unblock issues withing teams or departments at the highest level. You understand the psychology of a team and have strong mediation skills. You can coach an organisation on team dynamics and conflict resolution. (Relevant skill level: expert)

Read more

Published 7 January 2020