The Delivery Lead Role

How we’re shaping it at Octobot

At Octobot, Delivery Leads help us keep our software development projects on track. They manage different projects at a big picture level and follow them up from design to deployment by drafting timelines, setting budgets, and delegating work to the right roles. Their main goal is to get the products to market on time, while maintaining compliance with quality and good standards

To talk about this role we invited our two Delivery Leads, Micaela and Rodrigo, to our podcast Octobot Tech Talks. They discussed the main responsibilities of the role, gave advice on how to be a good Delivery Lead, and explained how their role impacts the internal team and the clients. Let’s get into it!

The Delivery Lead Role vs The Tech Lead Role

Before having Delivery Leads, Octobot used to work with Tech Leaders only. This went well until we identified an issue: those who got the role of Tech Leads due to their seniority were getting further and further away from coding, an activity they loved. Managing the team’s backlog and tasks left very little time for programming. That’s when the organization was restructured and the role of Delivery Lead appeared; while Tech Leads redefined their tasks to be fully technical-oriented, Delivery Leads focused on management.

Let’s hear the Delivery Lead role’s responsibilities from Micaela and Rodrigo themselves:

Management – Act as the Scrum Master, manage the backlog, be the client contact, and oversee estimations.

Cultural leadership – Monitor the team’s well-being through one-on-one sessions, empower team members to achieve their professional goals, and participate in feedback sessions.

Upselling and Cross-Selling – Pay attention to client needs where assistance can be provided and identify opportunities for team growth.

The Path to Becoming a Delivery Lead

There are several paths that can lead to this role. Leadership, empathy, and organizational skills are highly valued. Communication skills are also crucial. While technical background and years of management experience are beneficial, they are not mandatory for being a good Delivery Lead. Being open to learning, especially concerning work dynamics and methodologies, is essential. Our Delivery Leads come from very different backgrounds, and their unique experiences have provided valuable insight that they now apply to their roles.

Micaela comes from client-facing roles; right before joining Octobot as Delivery Lead she worked as a Project Manager. She enjoys the human aspect of the role, developing her leadership skills, and helping teams excel at their work.

Rodrigo’s background is more technical. He worked several years in programming and always found the management aspect interesting, but had not explored it before his Delivery Lead role at Octobot. Previously, he was a developer at Octobot, and he decided to apply for the Delivery Lead opening, hoping to become the kind of leader he enjoyed working alongside.

A Delivery Lead’s Typical Day

Regular conversations and feedback with team members are crucial for creating a good working environment and ensuring  people feel comfortable and motivated.

Delivery Leads must closely monitor projects for approaching deadlines and to mitigate potential risks that could prevent the team from meeting the deadlines. Based on this, they propose action ideas to fulfill the objectives set with the client, which may involve revisiting task priorities or considering expanding the team. The Client Partner is an important ally in this aspect, helping to articulate these matters with clients and implementing the suggested actions.

Organizing and prioritizing tasks are also important duties, because each Delivery Lead manages multiple teams, each with their own needs. No team should be neglected, even if it’s functioning well, as not following up could lead to critical issues.

The primary goal of the Delivery Lead role is to help teams shine and provide excellent service, ensuring projects run smoothly and meet estimations.

Additionally, they are responsible for communicating with clients to ensure they are satisfied with Octobot’s services. A regular follow-up is done with clients to inquire about opportunities to improve our service and how they feel about the project and the team. All these instances are key to fostering a positive and smooth interaction between the client and the team.

Main Challenges of the Delivery Lead Role

According to our Delivery Leads, what they have found more challenging has been handling estimations and iterative processes: client expectations are high, and they have to clearly communicate if things are changing within the project to prevent disappointments and delays. Another challenging aspect they highlighted is knowing that there will always be conflict and obstacles. It’s important to work with colleagues to achieve their goals.

All these challenges bring rewarding aspects as well. Letting someone know they’ve been added to  a team, sharing positive feedback from clients with the team, seeing team members proud of their work and achieving their objectives are among our Delivery Leads’ favorite moments.

As we mentioned in the beginning of the article, the Delivery Lead role is meant to work collaboratively with many other roles within the company, one of the closest being the Tech Lead of each project. Here at Octobot, the two roles are in constant communication to offer the best services to clients: Tech Leads make the technical decisions and guide the team from that point of view, and Delivery Leads articulate that with the clients, while also checking on the team from a personal standpoint, making sure that people are doing well and supporting each other. 

To learn about the Technical Leads role, you can head to their episode of Octobot Tech Talks!

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