Today is Friday, meaning that today is the last article of the #DSDMweek. During the week we have introduced the DSDM Agile Project Framework, explained its principles, analysed the lifecycle of agile projects, and seen what products suggested for creation during it.
We are going to go into more detail on the practical principles suggested (MoSCoW, Facilitated Workshops, etc.) as well as examples of application of the framework among our clients.
However, in the last article of this series we will see the different roles and responsibilities which must be covered in a project managed with DSDM.
In this image we can see the different roles, their interests (shown by colours) and the level (Project, Solution Development Team, Supporting) to which they belong.
Following the same colour coding as the DSDM products, we have roles grouped by interest:
- Business-oriented Roles. Orange, providing the business perspective.
- Solution/technical oriented Roles. Green, representing the technical perspective.
- Management/leadership oriented Roles. Blue, grouping roles focused on management and leadership of the project
- Process-oriented Roles. Grey, those which help to define and properly monitor the processes
Before going into detail, it should be remembered that the principles of DSDM are Collaboration and Communication. Individuals working on an efficient team form the basis of any successful project. “The best solutions emerge from self-organising, empowered teams“. 3 key factors are also detailed: respect between members of the team, commitment and personal responsibility for undertaking work, and courage to continually improve the way of working as a team. These are three of the five Scrum values, along with Focus and Openness, which DSDM describes in its principles. Once again, as we have seen in the rest of the articles of the series, Scrum and DSDM are totally aligned.
These are the 13 roles of DSDM:
- Business Sponsor. This is the most senior role at the project level. With their interest totally focused on the business, they are fully committed to the project, the solution proposed and the approach for achieving it. They are responsible for both the Business Case and the project budget.
- Business Visionary. They provide the vision of the project, interpreting the needs of the Sponsor and future users of the solution, being responsible for communicating it and marking the direction to be followed by all members of the team. To avoid potential duplication or inconsistencies in the vision, it is recommended for this role to be carried out by a single person.
- Technical Coordinator. Main technical authority of the project, ensuring that we are designing a solution aligned with the technical needs of the organisation, that we have the appropriate skills in technical roles, and that they are working appropriately. They are the equivalent of the Business Visionary, but from a technical perspective.
- Project Manager. In addition to providing leadership, following agile principles of the Solution Development Team, their role is focused on the management of the working environment in which the solution is developed. They are the facilitator and coordinator of the management of the project, delegating the details and scale of potential problems which may arise on their team, which go beyond the decision capacity of the team.
- Business Analyst. Only role with dual interests, they have sufficient knowledge of the business to understand needs, and enough technical knowledge to ensure that the solution fulfils both the functional and non-functional requirements. They are a member of the Solution Development Team, and at the project level.
- Team Leader. They help the team to be as productive as possible, acting as a leader in its service. The role is similar to the Scrum Master, ideally selected by colleagues on the Solution Development Team, and facilitating the different meetings of the team.
- Business Ambassador. Key person for representing the business in the development team. They participate very actively in the creation and prioritisation of requirements during Feasibility and Foundations, and are responsible for the detail and prioritisation during development. The role is very similar to that of the Product Owner, making business decisions with regard to the team.
- Solution Developer. They are able, along with their colleagues on the development team, to take the requirements and transform them into an expansion of the solution which fulfils all the technical and business needs. The role is very similar to that of Scrum Team Member, but specifying skills more oriented toward development.
- Solution Tester. DSDM emphasises defining and ensuring an appropriate level of quality, and the Solution Tester is the individual responsible for defining and executing the tests based on the agreed strategy. Very similar to the Scrum Team Member, but specifying skills more oriented toward testing.
- Business Advisor. Support role which can provide specific business knowledge that we do not find among other members of the project team. Considered a Subject Matter Expert on business, they may represent users, focus groups or legal/compliance aspects to be taken into account.
- Technical Advisor. Support role similar to the Business Advisor, but more oriented toward technical aspects to take into account in the solution. For example, requirements to be fulfilled once in production, extensive knowledge of the technology used, or technical support.
- Workshop Facilitator. Workshops are one of the practices recommended in DSDM, so having a neutral individual with the necessary skills for facilitating this type of workshop is essential for its success.
- DSDM Coach. In an agile transition, the adoption of certain techniques and processes may be difficult, even more so when it is a change of mindset. The contribution of a coach with practical experience in agile, and with knowledge of the framework which is our basis is a key factor for the success of this transition.
Does a total of 13 roles seem too many? Scrum only has 3 roles, and we have seen how they correspond to those of DSDM. Why do we need the others? Well, we have mentioned several times that DSDM explicitly covers a greater scope than Scrum, including aspects to take into account before beginning product development, more focused on the project.
Additionally, one person may have more than one role in small initiatives, but always covering all responsibilities. They will not necessarily be involved in the project from start to finish. For example, the support roles will have occasional participation when required.
We must consider DSDM as a flexible framework which can provide very valuable support in the adoption of agile methodologies. With a specific section on how to personalise the framework (Tailoring the DSDM Approach), it does not only detail roles, processes and products, but also suggests different patterns and actions to carry out to ensure that we make it a success.
If your organisation manages numerous projects, whether traditional or agile, or you have a PMO which helps to define good practices and common processes between projects, and you wish to improve your time to market and deliver solutions focused on resolving business needs, I am sure that DSDM can provide very good results, as it has done for thousands of businesses in the last 25 years.