Recently I have heard suggestions that Delivery Management restricts teams and reduces their autonomy. I think this is an important point to address in order to ensure that teams are able to benefit from the discipline.
Sadly some people have had poor experiences with Delivery Management or have seen traditional command and control approaches masquerading as elements of the discipline. However, Delivery Management is all about team enablement and supporting others to achieve valuable outcomes. This involves promoting self-organisation.
So, what are some of the ways that Delivery Management achieves this?
First and foremost, Delivery Management involves helping the team to establish a clear vision and define specific outcomes. This means enabling the team to create goals and objectives that they feel able to work towards. It also involves providing guidance on practices, approaches, and tools that can help the team to achieve these outcomes.
In addition to this, Delivery Management involves encouraging the team to take ownership of their work. This means promoting a sense of accountability or responsibility across the team, which can foster a greater level of autonomy. Although the team should be highly aligned to the wider organisation, it is important that they are able to make decisions about their work.
Another important aspect of Delivery Management is promoting continuous improvement within the team. This means supporting the team in identifying areas for growth and working together to implement changes that will help the team work more effectively. This aligns with the coaching aspect of enablement.
Delivery Management also involves enabling the team to remove obstacles and impediments that may be preventing them from achieving their goals. This could include addressing issues such as lack of resources or poor communication within the team. The key word here is enabling as the team should not become dependent upon any single person to remove blockers as this creates a new potential impediment.
Alongside this, Delivery Management should support the team with decision-making and problem-solving. This means facilitating opportunities for communication and collaboration among team members, and helping the team make well-informed decisions that will support their goals.
Delivery Management is not a roadblock for self-organising and self-managing teams, but rather an enabler for them. It is important to remember that anyone applying the discipline is not there to micro-manage or limit self-organisation. Instead, they should be supporting an environment where people feel empowered to do their best work, in order to deliver value.