How did adding a Delivery Lead changed our software development project? Well first, let me give you some context. I am currently on a medium-to-large project with four to seven developers at any one time. As a result, much of my time has been squeezed into meeting after meeting and spending a lot of time on story writing and client education. This has left me feeling wildly out of touch with the software we writing, as well as out of my depth with the amount of client relationship management, with sometimes up to 10 clients in many meetings.
Up to this point, I’ve been managing this project along with another more technically inclined individual. We are both comfortable building and maintaining client relationships as well as navigating complex consulting situations. However, when we originally allocated this team in this manner we forewent the typical Delivery Lead for a team this side. Instead, opting for balancing the technical and delivery needs between both of us.
Long story short, I was beginning to burn out from having to spend so much of my time doing work that is less fulfilling to me. Additionally, we were ramping up to welcoming more developers both internally and from our client. This further increased our meeting and managerial overhead. We needed help.
Cue adding a Delivery Lead! It has been a whirlwind of change, shaking up everything from established sprint organization to re-invigorating client engagement. There have been a number changes, but below are a few that have made a palpable difference for me and my team.
Brought New Energy and Enthusiasm
One of the most notable was the energy. When our Delivery Lead joined, I had been on this project for just over 6 months and with this client for over a year. Though I was still excited about the software, I was struggling to stay enthusiastic for the project. I was burnt out. Bring in a new Delivery Lead gave an opportunity to show off what we have been working on and re-engage with the clients excitement as we mapped our progress and goals.
Created a Bulwark to Organize Requests
Early in onboarding, we were discussing pain points for the project. One of the major points, was the constant slow stream of requests and changes. Though this is normal on any project. However, our pain was the lack of any filtering and distilling of these requests. After bring our Delivery Lead up to speed, we established new patterns. This allowed us an opportunity to re-align client expectations, as well as push for better time management.
Re-evaluated Team Norms and Expectations
Bringing new people on to your team is a great opportunity to re-evaluate how your team is organized. This is doubly true for a Delivery Lead, as they have an opportunity to be the focal point for this change. For us, we saw a shift in how we were managing our daily stand-ups, focusing in on dialing in the meeting and organizing follow-ups. As our Delivery Lead was non-technical, we needed to relate the technical to the future work. This shift helped no only relating within our team, but also helped realize a gap in our communication with our client at times. Lastly, we could re-orient how we were structuring meetings and follow-up, allowing for our Delivery Lead to organize and schedule across a number of schedules to achieve quorum on questions or issues.
Built More Relationships, Less Tech
As I mentioned before, our team consisted entirely of technical users. As a result, when working it our client the focus was on the technology. It’s not that we didn’t build relationships with our client, but it was often in the context of casual conversation. The was hugely shifted by our Delivery Lead. Upon joining the team, our Delivery Lead jumped into relationship building. This not only re-affirmed the relationships we held strongly, but also helped to foster and improve relationship with other key stackholders that had not seen eye-to-eye with technically. This shift helped to bring everyone to the table leading to productive good-faith discussions.
Adding a Delivery Lead
Overall, the addition of a Delivery Lead has lead to a huge shift in a number of ways. I can spend more time doing technically engaging work. Our client feels more connected with the progress and has a reliable non-technical contact. Our team as a whole has more information about timelines, goals, and priorities. It was worth the shift, I only wish we had done it sooner.