A resource for Delivery Managers to target their development
Having been a member of the cross-government Slack community since I joined the Civil Service Fast Stream in October 2018, I was always interested in the forum as a way to help share learning and for Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) professionals to improve themselves. As part of the Fast Stream scheme, I rotate around departments every 6 months, doing a number of roles across government. Another key focus of the Fast Stream is development of key competencies of DDaT roles, as well as leadership.
Most recently, I've been acting as an Agile Delivery Manager at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). I am now working as a Delivery Manager at the Department for Education (DfE), and so my development journey in this role and space is only set to continue.
The Delivery Managers (DM) Community
After dutifully joining a host of channels, I was encouraged to see just how committed Civil Servants are to collaborating and solving problems. It is often the case that another department has already been there, done that, and that knowledge was being effectively exploited.
The DM community was a prime example of this. I've seen hundreds of questions asked over the time I've been a member, with a large variety of members providing their expertise to help improve delivery of value. We're now also embracing remote meet-ups and community sessions across the UK.
A gap in the market
While the channel was a valuable resource for ad-hoc questions, one thing I noticed was the lack of structured documentation for those in the role to help them identify what they might want to focus on next.
This theme was also seen at DeliverCon 2020, where a number of discussions were focused on ‘learning’, and ‘pathways’ for Delivery Managers, and how they can move up through the grades.
This was a clear gap in the market and I therefore set out to tackle it. I drew on the product management community's examples of resources, including their version of a Product Manager's essentials spreadsheet. I was also helped by a number of contributors from across government.
The questions that I looked to answer were numerous, aligning with the broad range of responsibilities that a Delivery Manager can have in government: "Where should I start?", "What training should I do?", "What should I read next?", "How can I make my retrospectives more interesting?"
I'm pleased to share this resource with the wider community, as well as anyone who wants it. You can find a spreadsheet version of this on Google Sheets, or alternatively, I've also uploaded this onto GitHub. Both are updated simultaneously:
Iteration, Iteration, Iteration
I plan to expand this, including to add a bank of questions that DMs can ask a new team to get a feel for where they are at, and how they might add value early on.
This is not just my product, and it can only be the optimum tool with the pooled expertise of Delivery Managers across government and beyond.
If you want to suggest additions to the document, whether resources or an alternative section completely, you have 2 options:
I hope that this resource is useful and I look forward to growing this together.
You can get involved in the discussion on this, or any other Delivery Management issues, on the cross-government Slack channel by joining with your government email address.