Multidisciplinary delivery teams

The right team is one that enables you to deliver a cohesive and effective service.  

This means establishing a multidisciplinary team with the resources and abilities to deliver your product

Who you’ll need in your team

You’ll need a strong, multidisciplinary team with a broad mix of skills and roles. Your team should adapt to the needs of the service and the phase of work as you go. 

Make sure your team includes:

  • One accountable person with the authority to make decisions based on the outcomes of research, testing and prototypes.  
  • One user researcher on the project (for at least three days each week). 
  • People with expertise in agile digital service delivery, technical, user experience and policy skills. 

If you're considering working with vendors or contractors, be able to show which ones and why. 

Roles your team must have

A team building a government service needs to have people with the following roles or skills either in the team or available to it:

  • Service owner: Responsible for the overall delivery and operation of the digital service. 
  • Product manager: Works with the team to create the vision for the service, and sets the day-to-day priorities to fulfil that vision and ensure the team delivers. 
  • User researcher: Help develop a deep understanding and empathy for the users and their needs so that the team can design the right service in the right way.  
  • Service designer: Design user-focused services and contributes to the development and continual improvement of service iterations.  
  • User experience designer: Responsible for designing a user-focused, consistent and accessible service by making use of established design patterns.  
  • Content writers and content designer: Ensure that content is simple, clear and written in plain language so that users receive the information that they need and understand what the government requires of them.   
  • Developers: Build quality, well-tested software and services according to standards and best practices.  

Other roles you may need

Depending on a service’s size and complexity, your team might also need these roles:

  • Performance analyst: Helps the team understand user behaviour and measure success by providing quantitative and qualitative evidence from web analytics and user feedback.   
  • DevOps engineer: Design, implement and run the production systems, help the team deploy features quickly and reliably and ensure the service runs smoothly.  
  • Technology lead: Works with the team to decide on technical requirements and improvements for software development and help solve any technical problems that may arise.  
  • Ethical hacker: Ensures system security, identifies cyber security risks, applies risk treatments, detects and manages cyber security incidents. 
  • Subject matter expert: Provide high-level knowledge and in-depth expertise about a particular subject matter area. 
  • Business analyst: Helps the team understand the constraints and opportunities presented by the organisation’s processes and systems

Team roles

You will need some roles in your core multidisciplinary team for the life of the service, other roles may need to be brought in for phase of the service design and delivery process.

Remember that one team member can cover several roles, and these may be from different disciplines. For example, your content designer may also do user research.

Service owner 

Your service owner must have the decision-making authority to deliver on all aspects of a project.

Responsible for the overall delivery and operation of the digital service. 

The service manager is an experienced leader with a strong understanding of the service and its users. They represent the service at all levels within the agency, working to ensure it is delivered successfully and meets user needs. This person needs to be a senior executive with capacity to unblock obstacles, champion the project at the most senior levels and assist in making sure internal processes are focused on achieving results for the product. They need to be available to the team, but not necessarily be present at all times. 

Involvement: Across the entire lifespan of the service but not 100% of the time. 

Product manager 

Works with the team to create the vision for the product and sets the day-to-day priorities to fulfill that vision and ensure the team delivers. 

The product manager is the owner of the product backlog, and is responsible for prioritising user stories, attending daily stand ups and accepting stories as they’re delivered. They’re on hand to answer product questions from the team and work closely with user researchers to make sure the product is meeting user needs. 

Involvement: Across the entire lifespan of the service. 

Delivery manager 

Usually either a scrum master or iteration manager, the delivery manager enables Agile teams to deliver high-quality services. They remove obstacles or blockers to progress and facilitate project meetings. 

The delivery manager delivers products and services using agile methodologies, iterating the product frequently to meet user needs. They work with product managers to define the roadmap for products and services. They run the daily stand up and weekly team meetings, and make sure the backlog and team spaces are up to date. 

Involvement: Across the entire lifespan of the service. 

User researcher 

Helps the team develop a deep understanding of users and user needs. 

The user researcher works closely with the product manager and the designers to ensure prioritisation of the work. They are responsible for building understanding of the service’s users and their behaviour and providing insight to the team about how users interact with the service. They take the lead on running sessions with real users, and communicating findings back to the whole team, creating actionable insights to guide design. 

Involvement: Across the entire lifespan of the service. 

Technology lead 

The most senior technical person in the team. Their role is to break down complex problems and lead by example in writing quality code. 

The technical lead ensures the product is technically aligned with the project vision, and to provide coaching and feedback to other technical team members. They lead the rapid development of user-driven prototypes to identify technical options and inform architectural approaches, working with the team to write tests, code and documentation for new and existing systems. Technical leads have an equal balance of technical expertise gained through current, hands-on involvement in developing real-world systems, and excellent interpersonal skills allied with the ability to quickly develop strong working relationships in high pressure environments. 

Involvement: Across the entire lifespan of the service. 

Service designer 

Designs user-focused services that meet web standards and contributes to the development and continual enhancement of products. 

The service designer uses design practices to take the intuitive leap from research to identifying ways the service could be delivered to better meet user needs, across all users, delivery channels and touch points. Creates a blueprint or map of the proposed service, ensuring key elements are built in from the outset. Contributes to the development and continual enhancement of products, partnering with colleagues to facilitate a consistent user experience. 

Involvement: Across the entire project ideally, but with particular focus during the Discovery phase. 

User experience designer 

Responsible for designing a user-focused and accessible service and making use of established design patterns. 

The interaction designer creates the user interface for the service, ensuring it is designed to work across devices and browsers, meets web standards, is accessible and able to be used by people regardless of digital literacy. They make use of agreed design patterns and contribute to the design community to improve and add to design patterns. They work closely with the content designer to improve the usability of the service, with the user researcher to conduct usability testing and design experiments, and with the technical team to develop and iterate prototypes with a view to continuously improving the service. The interaction designer either makes prototypes in HTML or has enough familiarity with code to work closely with developers to make the HTML prototypes. 

Involvement: Across the entire project ideally, but with focus during Alpha and Beta phases. 

Content designer 

Ensures that content is clear, focused and designed to respond to user needs and written to meet acceptance criteria. Ensures that content in transactions and forms is clear, simple and easy to understand. 

The content designer writes words that let people of all ages and backgrounds understand what they need to know and how to do what they need to do. They use and advocate for plain English. The content designer writes to user or job stories, works closely with the content owner, interaction designer and user researcher to continuously improve the words. The content designer also works with the content community to develop a government style that is clear, approachable and consistent across multiple platforms. 

Involvement: Across the entire project ideally, but with focus during Alpha and Beta phases. 

Developer 

Builds quality, well-tested software and sites according to standards and best practice. 

Developers build software in a team with a relentless focus on how it will be used. They write quality well-tested code and try to find the simplest solution to a given problem. Some will specialise in front-end or back-end development, but most will have solid skills in both. A good team has a mix of front and back end skills. Developers are expected to keep security, accessibility and open standards in mind, and improve (refactor) the technical implementation as they go along. 

Involvement: Across the entire lifespan of the service. 

Ethical hacker 

Ensures system security, identifies cyber security risks, applies risk treatments, detects and manages cyber security incidents. 

The ethical hacker is not a full time role. They should be consulted during alpha to ensure best practice is followed when build begins in beta. During Beta the ethical hacker needs to be involved part time to help analyse and resolve security risks and build secure code. 

Involvement: Across the Beta phase, with some consultation in the Alpha phase. 

Performance analyst 

Specifies, collects and presents the performance data and analysis for the service. 

Digital performance analysts sit at the heart of a team and are essential to how the government continuously measures, assesses, and improves performance in transacting with the public. Performance analysts support service managers by generating new and useful information and translating it into actions that will allow them to iterate to improve their service for users. 

Involvement: Across the Beta phase, with some consultation in the Alpha phase. 

Subject matter expert 

Provides in-depth expertise and high-level knowledge (as an authority) in a particular subject matter area, including current policy. 

Involvement: Across all stages - not necessarily at 100%. 

Web operations engineer 

Runs the production systems, helps the team deploy quickly and reliably and ensures smooth running of the service. 

The operations engineer is critical to any digital service as they are responsible for keeping the service online. They work closely with developers to make sure all technology is built with consideration to how it will be operated, and put the foundations in place for the service to be hosted and deployed to preview and live environments. This involves expertise in areas such as infrastructure, configuration management, monitoring, deployment and operating systems. Along with other developers in the team, they’re expected to share the out-of-hours support responsibility for the service. 

Involvement: Across the Alpha and Beta phases - not at 100%. 

Accessibility/diversity specialist 

Supports the team with an in-depth knowledge of best practice in accessible development. 

Involvement: Across the entire lifespan of the service - not at 100%. 

Business analyst 

Helps the team understand the internal processes and systems of the organisation. 

The business analyst helps in the understanding and documentation of constraints and opportunities presented by the organisation’s processes and systems. They work closely with the service designer to ensure the design approach can be implemented in the business. 

Involvement: Varies from project to project but can offer significant value during the Discovery phase. 

 

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