What Are 5 Main Responsibilities of Agile Software Development Managers?
To be a successful Agile software development manager means to wear different hats as a motivator, a translator, and a taskmaster. A lot of companies equip independent teams to carry out different projects and deliver valuable applications. These organizations expect that their developed code will be of high quality, secure, easy to maintain, with low defects, and able to meet the business objectives while minimizing technical debt. While trying to create a balance between self-organizing and standard principles, many large companies with multiple Agile teams must recognize the functions and responsibilities of key team members and the management team.
For this reason, it is important to have a well-defined role for the manager. No doubt, Agile development has some guidelines designed for the role of product owners, team members, and scrum masters. However, most of the frameworks and practices have a lot of gray areas when it comes to the role of software development managers. So let’s dig deeper and bring out to the light the five major responsibilities of an Agile software development manager.
1. Deliberate on Implementation Trade-Offs with Product Owners
The user and feature stories should clearly define ‘what’, ‘why’, and ‘for whom’, in order to align the teams with acceptance and requirements criteria. Technically, there is no need to elaborately prescribe ‘how’ the feature would be implemented, even though a lot of product owners would want to define the user stories along with the implementation details. The problem with the overly prescriptive model of a story or a feature is that it boxed up the development teams into a fixed implementation framework that may be difficult or expensive to scale. However, when there are few prescriptions, the team can use initiative and work out the best plan that suits the business requirements and the needs of the end-users. In cases where the requirements are too rigid, the software development manager should classify and clarify multiple implementation alternatives with the product owners. This approach usually has better results.
2. Deliver Standards and Best Practices to Members of Team
One of the most difficult tasks for an architect is defining and explaining standards and best practices to the team. Another more difficult task is getting them to understand and use these standards appropriately, especially for big software organizations. You may have the experts in your team that will want to explore different ways of doing things over and beyond the standards and best practices recommendation. Another situation might be to have less experienced professional developers who do not understand the practices or the application in coding challenges. As an Agile software development manager, you must understand the mindset and skills of each member of your team. In addition to this, you have to review the implementations objectively and identify the standards and best practices that are applicable. You can then translate these to your team and share challenges and questions with architects.
3. Challenge Backlogs That Do Not Focus on Innovation & Technical Debt
Generally, the product owners work with various customers and stakeholders to define product visions, feature priorities, and roadmaps. They are regularly under pressure to achieve more features and satisfy the stakeholders with their priorities choices. Sometimes, the pressure can lead to an excessive Agile backlog, overloaded with features, as well as insufficient capacity to innovate, experiment, and deal with technical debt. In some cases, excesses might be needed to get some projects done fast when critical business functionality has to be delivered within a short time. However, the team has to return at some point to stability where innovation, technical debt priorities, and features are balanced. One of the ways to make priorities more effective and transparent is to develop dashboards on the backlog. The teams can introduce extra processes and governance to control technical debt but there should always be a leader at the helms of affairs who is focused on active governance.
4. Deliver High-Quality Releases on Agreed Schedule
One of the most crucial duties of an Agile software development manager is to make sure that high-quality releases are always delivered as scheduled. A team with poor implementation, perceived as not consistent, undependable, or negligent with regards to timeline and quality, will put the organization at risk. Anytime there are indications of these issues, the Agile manager is responsible for identifying the causes of problem and handling them. You have to consider the possible line of actions that are open to you. Some of them may include discussing the difficulties with demonstrations. This will help to identify the problems and deal with them as a team. Another option is to review and collect additional data on the defects in production and identify the prerequisites as well as the testing gaps. You might also want to review the story acceptance criteria to be sure that the team understands the expectations of quality. Additionally, plan the sprint and release cycles at the stage when it requires input from external teams.
5. Encourage Different Thinking Patterns and Problem Solving Options
Any Agile team must learn to collaborate and work as one. Routines like demos, retrospectives, and stand-ups bring the team together and generate the understanding of requirements, work-out blocks, improved process, and estimated solutions. They help to create the foundation for collaboration. Thus, the software development manager would be able to decide how to obtain ideas and effective contributions from the team members. It is important to understand that everybody has different expertise and personalities. There are introverts and extroverts. The software development manager must have skills to be able to harness the uniqueness of these personalities to get the best out of them.
In the real world, the job role of an Agile software development manager is a blend of different processes. This person should be able to balance the standard principles with the adaptive ones and provide them with exceptional technologies focused on best practices and frameworks. Helping the team members to achieve success in their roles is the key feature of all five major responsibilities, so grab these instructions, follow your heart and experience, and be the best Agile software development manager in your company.