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Life as a Delivery Manager

Have you ever wondered what life as a Delivery Manager is really like here in Bristol? What does it take to become a DM and to stay top of the game?

In this context, we caught up with Dane Nutting, Delivery Manager at BJSS to give you a little more insight – if you are considering a career within the tech industry or are planning on adding an expert to your team – you can find some first-hand perception right here.

ADLIB: In approx. 30 words what does your role as a Delivery Manager involve?

Dane Nutting: I help clients get the maximum possible value from working with our software teams. This means different things with different clients, but generally, it revolves around:

  • Running proof of concept exercises to reduce risk when solving complex problems.
  • Ensuring quality is built into the delivery.
  • Managing inevitable changes transparently, so there are no surprises.
  • Making sure the team has everything they need to be successful.

My friends often joke and say “what are you delivering, pizza?!” Turns out they aren’t very funny, but the interesting point is that as a DM it’s my responsibility to make sure the development team have what they need to do a great job. So, if the team needs it, yeah I’m delivering pizzas!

ADLIB: What has been your career highlight so far?

Dane Nutting: In a role where product ownership was a key element, I was fortunate enough to travel to an international trade show in Chicago. Over the course of 4 days, 130,000 visitors attended the show and I represented the hard work the team had put into the project by demonstrating the software to potential customers.

ADLIB: In a nutshell, what is a typical day like for you? (…if there is such thing)

Dane Nutting: There’s always a certain amount of structure to the beginning of the day, due to running the usual Agile meetings, for example, the team stand up, where we discuss if anyone is blocked from completing their work and needs help. After which, if I can help with removing any of these blockers, I’ll jump on those straight away, otherwise I:

  • Manage any changes to the engagement, it is important to find the balance between taking advantage of any opportunities and allowing the team to be productive.
  • Fly ahead of the team to make sure work is ready for them.
  • Speak with the client on a daily basis, either by working on-site or on the phone.
  • I try and remember that there are always more things that I could be doing to make it more likely that the delivery will be successful.

ADLIB: What do you like most about your role?

Dane Nutting: Each engagement is different and requires a different approach. I really enjoy working out what blend of Project Management, Scrum Master, Product Manager and Business Analyst skills are needed to best support the engagement.

ADLIB: What do you see as the top 3 skills it takes to become a Delivery Manager?

Dane Nutting:

So many aspects of leadership are really important, for example:

· Clear communication
· Prioritisation
· Empowering the team to own their work

I’m no expert, but I’m always learning and trying to improve.

I find good technical knowledge a real benefit, but balance is once again key here, it is important not to dictate solutions to the team, they are the experts, they should drive how they implement a solution to a user’s need, not me. That being said, as Delivery Manager I am accountable for ensuring the team is delivering to a high standard, so I need to find positive, collaborative ways to ensure this.

The great thing about BJSS is the wealth of technical and business expertise within the company, from Cloud Architects to Agile Coaches, it’s always possible to get in touch with a subject matter expert and get their input.

The ability to create effective relationships, you need positive, collaborative relationships with your team, the client team and other third-party teams. Engagement success is dependent on more than just the completion of your work.

ADLIB: What top tip would you give someone to ensure that their skills and knowledge as a Delivery Manager remain top-notch?

Dane Nutting:

I have two:

  1. Do difficult work. Find the most challenging role you can. Step outside your comfort zone. You’ll learn the most that way.
  2. Listen to the team, they know what’s up, I’ve learned so much from working through challenges with great developers, finding ways of working that fundamentally make sense and allow them to be more productive.

Thanks so much for sharing, Dane!