Engineering team usually needs a mature leader to support them on various things. For any IT assignment to complete successfully, the following areas are to be covered and addressed.
- Programming – knowledge of technology
- Customer management – this is a niche skill
- Communication – this is a soft skill, communication becomes very sensitive as you start interacting with various stakeholders
- Building relation with various stakeholders – does not come naturally to everyone
- Consultancy beyond programming – proactive approach
- Finding repeat business and explore more business opportunities – need vision and business outlook
- Foresee risks and handling escalations – leadership skills
- Resourcing decisions and resource movements – need to have company-wide resourcing perspective and vision, knowledge of the contract
- Bailing project out of crisis when in serious trouble – out of box thinking, crisis management that comes with experience and ability to solve problems
I wonder how many items of the above backlog a technical team along with scrum master can pick up. The software development team who is too focused (team must be focused) in development, playing with technology every minute – it’s hard for them to focus in all of the above mentioned areas. I am not saying it is impossible. There are teams who have done this. But this is something which is not possible for every individual and every team to follow successfully. First of all – it needs good amount of time which a team focused on technology and feature development cannot find it too easily. Then it needs all together different perspective. It does need experience and niche skills. Teams may have all of these but at times, may not at that level and to that extent where it is required. That’s why you need someone who can pick non-programming stuff from the above backlog and help team’s effort align with these.
Hence there is always need of some mature leadership who can work closely with the scrum or development team and make them successful. Different organisations call this role with different names such as Engineering Manager, Agile Coach, Principle, Technology Manager or whatever suits as per company’s ecosystem.