|Chapter 7: Roles and Responsibilities|
7 Roles and Responsibilities
People working together effectively are the foundation of any successful project. DSDM recognises this and assigns clear roles and responsibilities to each person in a project,representing the business interests, the solution/technical interests, the management interests and the process interests. Everyone involved in a DSDM project works very closely together in order to break down potential communication barriers.
The best solutions emerge from self-organising, empowered teams. However, these teams, and the people within them, must actively take on the responsibility for their empowerment within the boundaries that have been agreed. At the same time, it is important they:
Figure 7a - The DSDM team model
7.2 The DSDM Team Model Explained
7.2.1 Role colour scheme - to represent areas of interest
The colour scheme in figure 7a is as follows:
7.2.2 Role Categories
220.127.116.11 Project-level roles
In figure 7a, the project-level roles (Business Sponsor, Business Visionary, Technical Coordinator, Project Manager and Business Analyst) are the directors, managers and coordinators of the work for the project, where necessary. They may be part of a project board or steering committee for the project and, collectively, have authority to direct the project. They are responsible for the governance of the project, liaising with governance authorities outside of the project. The Business Sponsor provides the overall strategic direction and controls the funding/budget for the project. The Business Visionary and the Technical Coordinator hold the business and technical visions, respectively, for the project. The Project Manager ensures that project funds are used effectively to create the envisaged solution within the agreed timescale.
The Business Analyst is intentionally positioned as part of the project level as well as part of the Solution Development Team. This allows the Business Analyst to, for example, help the business to formulate the Business Case, and also to be involved in assisting the business in defining their requirements during feasibility and foundations, sometimes before the full Solution Development Team. is assigned. The role then continues in supporting the Solution Development Team alongside the project-level roles, as the more detailed requirements emerge.
All roles at the project level need to adopt the facilitative, empowering leadership style which allows Agile teams to learn as they go and reflect, adapt and enhance process. They need to ensure the freedom of the Solution Development Team. to do the job, getting to an end point by its own means, within an empowerment framework for the team.
The project-level roles:
18.104.22.168 Solution Development Team roles
The Solution Development Team roles are Business Ambassador, Solution Developer, Solution Tester, Business Analyst and Team Leader. These roles form the “engine room” of the project. They shape and build the solution and are collectively responsible for its day-to-day development and for assuring its fitness for business purpose. There may be one or more Solution Development Teams within a project. Each team will include all Solution Development Team roles and cover all their responsibilities.
The membership of each Solution Development Team should be stable throughout a project, however, in the worst case, each Solution Development Team should remain stable for a Project Increment. Each member of the Solution Development Team is an empowered individual who takes personal ownership for their area of responsibility and represents the interests of their peers.
22.214.171.124 Supporting roles
The supporting roles (Business Advisors, Technical Advisors, Workshop Facilitator and DSDM Coach) provide assistance and guidance to the project on an ad hoc basis throughout the lifecycle. The Advisor roles may be filled by one or more subject matter experts, as necessary. The Advisor roles are not the empowered decision-makers – that is the responsibility of the roles within the Solution Development Team – but they advise the Solution Development Team in areas where specialist expertise is needed (e.g. legal and compliance matters, technical knowledge, business-specific rules and regulations). The supporting roles engage with the project as and when necessary. For example, a Business or Technical Advisor will be actively involved during Foundations and then for the particular Timeboxes where their expertise is needed to properly shape the Evolving Solution.
7.2.3 Levels of engagement
All DSDM roles need to be appropriately engaged in the project sufficiently to fulfil the responsibilities of their role. Project-level roles need to be engaged sufficiently to ensure that the ongoing work of the project remains aligned to the business need, is generating a solution to the agreed quality and continues to be viable in terms of the Business Case. Project-level roles therefore need to be engaged in high-level reviews and planning sessions, and perhaps in more detailed sessions where key issues and strategic decisions need their input. Their involvement is not normally needed or expected day to day but is more likely to be focussed around the beginning and end of Timeboxes and perhaps at key review points within them. Solution Development Team roles need to be actively engaged in the project on a day-to-day basis working at the detailed level; shaping, building, reviewing and testing the Solution Increment delivered at the end of each Timebox. All roles must attend the Daily Stand-up in order to maintain a common understanding of progress and any issues and, as a self-organising team, agree detailed plans and actions needed to meet their delivery commitments. Continuous, open, honest communication and day-to-day collaboration are the key to making good progress with transparency of progress and work being important in demonstrating control. Where project-level roles do engage at a lower level of detail, it is important that they do so as observers and leaders and the owners of issues rather than as managers of the team or the work being undertaken.
7.2.4 Fulfilling the roles
One DSDM role does not necessarily mean one person. One person may take on one role, or one person may cover two or more roles. One role may be split between two or more people. However, where a role is split between individuals, it is vital that these individuals communicate and collaborate closely.
Conversely, in smaller projects, one person often performs more than one role.
Issues such as geographical constraints or staff availability can affect the creation of the ideal project team, but it is strongly recommended that all the roles are considered and that their individual responsibilities are all understood and accepted as appropriate. The role definitions can be used as the basis for personal terms of reference for a project.
7.3 Business Sponsor
This role is the most senior project-level business role. The Business Sponsor is the project champion who is committed to the project, to the proposed solution and the approach to delivering it. The Business Sponsor is specifically responsible for the Business Case and project budget throughout (however formally or informally this may be expressed).
The Business Sponsor must hold a sufficiently high position in the organisation to be able to resolve business issues and make financial decisions. This role has a crucial responsibility to ensure and enable fast progress throughout the project.
The Business Sponsor should be committed, supportive and available for the duration of the project, providing a clear escalation route. On smaller projects, the Business Sponsor role will always be fulfilled by a single person. However, on larger projects or in complex organisations, the Business Sponsor’s financial responsibilities may be fulfilled by a higher authority such as an investment board or an executive committee. In this circumstance, DSDM expects the business to agree a specific person to “front” the role. This ensures the project deals with a single ultimate decision-maker and a single ultimate escalation point, and is protected from a lack of clarity through differing views about the project.
7.4 Business Visionary
This is a senior project-level business role that should be held by a single individual, since a project needs a single clear vision to avoid confusion and misdirection. More actively involved than the Business Sponsor, the Business Visionary is responsible for interpreting the needs of the Business Sponsor, communicating these to the team and, where appropriate, ensuring they are properly represented in the Business Case. The Business Visionary remains involved throughout the project, providing the team with strategic direction and ensuring that the solution delivered will enable the benefits described in the Business Case to be achieved. At the end of the project, the Business Visionary will own the Deployed Solution and will be responsible for the realisation of any benefits associated with it.
7.5 Technical Coordinator
As the project’s technical authority, the Technical Coordinator ensures that the solution/technical roles work in a consistent way, that the project is technically coherent and meets the desired technical standards. This role provides the glue that holds the technical aspects of the project together while advising on technical decisions and innovation. The Technical Coordinator performs the same function from a technical perspective as the Business Visionary does from a business perspective.
7.6 Project Manager
As well as providing high-level Agile-style leadership to the Solution Development Team, the role is focused on managing the working environment in which the solution is evolving. The Project Manager also coordinates all aspects of management of the project at a high level but, in line with the DSDM concept of empowerment, the Project Manager is expected to leave the detailed planning of the actual delivery of the product(s) to the members of the Solution Development Team. Managing an empowered team requires a facilitative style rather than a “command and control” style.
Although the Project Manager role is focused on getting the project delivered, appropriate sourcing of the role will depend on the skills and knowledge required and on the project itself; the Project Manager may come from the business, or may come from the solution/technical side. For some projects, especially formal contractual projects being delivered by external suppliers, there may be two Project Managers, one from the business (the customer) and one from the solution/technical side (the supplier).
It is usual that the Project Manager takes responsibility throughout the duration of the project. This must include both business and technical delivery aspects of the project, from Foundations (if not Feasibility) through to Deployment.
7.7 Business AnalystThe Business Analyst is both active in supporting the project-level roles and fully integrated with the Solution Development Team. The Business Analyst facilitates the relationship between the business and technical roles, ensuring accurate and appropriate decisions are made on the Evolving Solution on a day-to-day basis. The Business Analyst ensures that the business needs are properly modelled and analysed and are correctly reflected in the guidance the team needs to generate the solution.
Active involvement of the business users in the process of evolving the solution is vital to the success of a DSDM project. Therefore it is important to ensure that the Business Analyst does not become an intermediary between the Solution Development Team members but, instead, supports and facilitates the communication between them.
7.8 Team Leader
The Team Leader ideally acts as the servant-leader for the Solution Development Team and ensures that it functions as a whole and meets its objectives. The Team Leader works with the team to plan and coordinate all aspects of product delivery at the detailed level. This is a leadership role rather than a management role and the person holding it will ideally be elected by his or her peers as the best person to lead them through a particular stage of the project. It is therefore likely that they will also perform another Solution Development Team role (e.g. Business Analyst, Business Ambassador, Solution Developer or Solution Tester) in addition to their team leadership responsibilities. It is also feasible that the person carrying out the Team Leader role could be different from one Timebox to another, for example where they have a different focus.
7.9 Business Ambassador
The Business Ambassador is the key representative of the business needs within the Solution Development Team and, as such, they need to have the desire, authority, responsibility and knowledge to fulfil the role.
During Foundations, the Business Ambassador has significant input into the creation and prioritisation of requirements. Once the requirements have been agreed and baselined (by the end of Foundations), the Business Ambassador then provides the day-to-day detail of the requirements during timeboxed development. This is either based on their own knowledge and experience, or drawing on the experience of the Business Advisors.
During the Evolutionary Development phase of the project, the Business Ambassador is the main decision-maker on behalf of the business. For this reason the Business Ambassador needs to be someone who is respected by their business peers and who has sufficient seniority, empowerment and credibility to make decisions on behalf of the business, in terms of ensuring the Evolving Solution is fit for business purpose. It is also important that the person fulfilling this role has the confidence to recognise where their own knowledge is insufficient and to bring in Business Advisors to support them.
Typically the Business Ambassador role is someone who is already busy. For this reason they must be able to commit the appropriate (and agreed) amount of time throughout Timebox development to help guide the Evolving Solution in the right direction to meet the business needs. For some projects, this may require a full-time commitment as the only way to meet the deadline. However this is unusual and actually introduces a risk that the Business Ambassador may become unaware of events occurring in the business. For most projects, the Business Ambassador commitment is a part-time one, at a level agreed during Foundations. But it is also important that where an Ambassador is committing time to the project, some of their normal workload can be delegated, so that all their work (day-to-day business and DSDM project) can be achieved in a normal working week. It is important that the amount of commitment expected is openly discussed and agreed at a workable level.
7.10 Solution Developer
The Solution Developer collaborates with the other Solution Development Team roles to interpret business requirements and translate them into a Solution Increment that meets functional and non-functional needs. A person assuming a Solution Developer role needs to be appropriately empowered by the Technical Coordinator to make day-to-day decisions in their area of expertise. They should ideally be allocated full-time to the project they are working on. Where they are not full-time, the project ought to be their first priority. If this cannot be achieved, significant risk is introduced with regard to timeboxing. This risk needs to be managed proactively by the Project Manager.
7.11 Solution Tester
The Solution Tester is an empowered Solution Development Team role, fully integrated with the team and performing testing throughout the project in accordance with the agreed strategy.
7.12 Business Advisor
Often a peer of the Business Ambassador, the Business Advisor is called upon to provide specific, and often specialist, input to solution development or solution testing - a business subject matter expert.
The Business Advisor will normally be an intended user or beneficiary of the solution or may be a representative of a focus group.However they may, for example, simply provide legal or regulatory advice with which the solution must comply.
Based on the specialism for which the Business Advisor has been engaged:
Providing specialist input into relevant:
Providing specialist advice on, or help with:
7.13 Technical Advisor
The Technical Advisor supports the team by providing specific, and often specialist, technical input to the project, often from the perspective of those responsible for operational change management, operational support, ongoing maintenance of the solution, etc.
The Technical Advisor supports the Solution Development Team through the provision of detailed, and often specialist, technical input and advice with regards to:
7.14 Workshop Facilitator
The Workshop Facilitator is responsible for managing the workshop process and is the catalyst for preparation and communication.The Facilitator is responsible for organising and facilitating a session that allows the par participants to achieve the workshop objective.
The Workshop Facilitator should be independent of the outcome to be achieved in the workshop.
Engaging with participants prior to the workshop to:
During each workshop:
7.15 DSDM Coach
Where a team has limited experience of using DSDM, the role of the DSDM Coach is key to helping team members to get the most out of the approach, within the context and constraints of the wider organisation in which they work.The DSDM Coach should ideally be certified as a DSDM Coach to ensure that their competence tofulfil this role has been independently validated.
As with any method of working in any context, the approach cannot be followed blindly. If there is something in the project environment that will inhibit the effectiveness of a particular DSDM technique, then it is vital that the potential problem is addressed.Typically, there are two ways of addressing such a problem: the first is to influence the environment to allow the technique to be effective; the second is to adapt or substitute the technique. Either way, an expert in DSDM - the DSDM Coach - will have the knowledge and experience to help.
DSDM identifies roles in two dimensions – categories and interests.
Roles are grouped into three categories:
Within a DSDM project, the different interests are represented using colours:
The Business Analyst role is coloured a mix of orange and green since this role often straddles the boundary between business and solution/technical interests.
On a DSDM project, one role may be fulfilled by several people, or one person may fulfil several roles.