Agile Development at HP - Part 5: Roles and Responsibilities

This is the last in a series of five posts that describe the methodology and development processes used by the HP Agile Manager team.  In the first post, I described how we came up with our development processes. In the second post, I discussed the culture and values of the team, and how we maintain a consistently high level of quality.  The third and fourth posts reviewed the release and sprint lifecycles, as well as the feature and user story lifecycles, respectively.  This final post summarizes the roles and responsibilities of each member of the team.

 

Roles and Responsibilities of each member

A major motivation for us to review our development methodology was that there was often friction as a result of unclear divisions of responsibility.  There were issues that no one was responsible for, which meant that things fell between the cracks and no decision would be made.  And we’d sometimes find ourselves in endless discussions about ownerless issues because no one was pushing for a decision.  There were also conflicts when two or more people claimed that they were responsible for a decision.  So the roles and responsibilities of everyone in the group had to be clarified.

 

We tackled this during the off-site meeting that I described in the first post of this series.  We put up large blank posters on the wall for us to write on, each one with the name of a role at the top.  Each poster had three blank sections for each role:

  • Accountability - The ‘bottom line’ that defines how the performance of the person in the role is measured.
  • Responsibility - Activities that the person in the role must undertake as part of each process.
  • Authority - Where the buck stops.  The person in this role has the power to make any decisions about activities under his or her responsibility

 We started by writing down an initial list of the accountability, responsibility and authority for each role, and refined the list over the course of the off-site work stream discussions.  They were further refined over the course of the product’s development.  

 

This table summarizes the roles and responsibilities of each role, as well as the duties for which they are accountable.  Some of the roles have a special authority, which is described in the last column: 

 

Roles

Responsibilities

Accountable for

Authority

PMO

Development processes facilitation, tracking and improvement;

Communication and alignment;

External Interfaces (eg. SaaS, MaaS)

Development process definition, adherence  and improvement

 

Release Manager

Push and Release Planning facilitation;

Release Tracking;

Provide decision making platform (including risks and mitigation);

Push To Production

Timely release planning, execution and delivery

 

 Push to Production

Production Owner (Devops)

Service Level Agreement and Service Level Objective monitoring;

Incident analysis;

Usage monitoring - Google Analytics/Totango;

HP BSM, Business Process Monitoring, SiteScope monitoring;

Adoption monitoring;

Downtime planning and notifications;

Deployment status, configuration;

Monitoring production logs;

Training;

Proactive customer engagement;

Production Dashboard

Making production information available to Development and production stakeholders

 

Build manager

Ensuring Continuous Integration (CI) is stable, reliable and optimized;

Optimizing the build process;

Deployments (configuration, stability, automation etc.)

Stable and optimized CI and build pipeline

Freezing the Trunk

Functional Architect (Product Owner)

Backlog ranking, Backlog owner;

Owner of Feature Life Cycle (Feature planning through to Definition of Done (DoD) approval);

Customer facing (best practices, design partners, surveys, visits, presentations, demos, beta);

Subject matter expert - market, competitors, use cases etc;

Field enablement (demo tenants, training, push debriefing)

Bringing customer information and knowledge into the product, and sharing product info with the customer and customer-facing stakeholders

Approve DoD;

Decide scope and priorities of release

Usability Expert (UX)

Usability owner (gather usability feedback and manage it);

Part of Feature Life Cycle (Feature planning till DoD approval)

Optimizing the user experience of the product

Approve DoD

Dev Test Manager (QA Manager)

Provide continuous quality status of trunk;

Provide precise quality status that supports decision making for each build that should be pushed to production

Provide the view of the release’s quality, including functional and performance aspects

Defect Severity;

Scope of testing

Dev Tester (QA)

 

Clear defect description and articulation of regression issues

Defect severity;

Quality

R&D Team Leader

 

Developing high quality features in an optimized manner that supports a Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) approach with a stress on DoD

Sprint planning and scoping;

Work distribution;

Implementation decisions

R&D Group Leader

 

Overall development execution – process, execution, quality deliverables, and end-to-end pipeline

Release planning and scoping;

Work distribution

R&D Feature Lead

Pre-sprint design (work with all relevant roles to create detailed design of the feature)

Create the feature implementation plan;

Ensure all relevant roles review the feature during implementation

Report on the feature’s status;

Move feature to ‘Done’

Ensure all of the feature’s aspects are covered - functional, technical, quality, performance, security, usability, documentation, movies, etc.

 

 

Developer

 

 Developing high quality features in an optimized manner that supports a CI/CD approach with a stress on DoD

 

System Architect

 

Optimizing the system’s architecture for constraints, performance, scalability and openness

 

 

 

If you are looking to read more about this topic, feel free to read the other posts in this series:

 

 

Thanks for following this series of posts on how we use Agile methodologies here at HP.  Leave us a comment in the box below to share your development methodologies.

 

This series of articles was written based on processes and methods developed by Lihi Elazar (Agile Manager PMO) and materials provided by her.  Thanks to both Lihi and to Asi Sayag (R&D Group Leader), for their help, guidance, and extensive reviews of this series.

Comments
Mobisoft(anon) | ‎12-16-2013 11:16 PM

Great Info.  Thanks  for  the  your effort. Appreciate  it.

| ‎12-16-2013 11:49 PM

Thanks for the feedback, Mobisoft!  I'm glad you enjoyed this series of posts.

Michelle123(anon) | ‎04-01-2014 12:01 AM

So often tasks are delegated with little direction or the person not knowing what the end goal is. Having this list is great to recreate in formats for many divisions in the software and other industies to keep everyone on the same page. Thanks for the info.

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About the Author
Malcolm is a functional architect, focusing on best practices and methodologies across the software development lifecycle.
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