Agile Delivery Lead

Last post 02:52 pm August 16, 2019
by Eugene M
3 replies
03:52 pm August 14, 2019

I see that Capital One has implemented a new role for Scrum Masters, Agile Delivery Lead. It seems to be hybrid role of a Scrum Master and Product Owner. In other words, Cap One seems to be encouraging Scrum Masters to get involved with the technical aspects of software projects Has anyone worked as a Agile Delivery Lead at Cap One? If so, how is it? 

04:11 pm August 14, 2019

I don't have any first-hand experience with Capital One and their Agile Delivery Lead role, but I've read their blog post about it and some responses to it.

My interpretation is that it is not a blend of the Scrum Master and Product Owner roles at all, but rather a technical Scrum Master. That is, someone who is not only familiar with the Scrum framework (along with other agile methods and frameworks such as Extreme Programming and Kanban and others), but also someone who has technical knowledge aligned with the Development Teams that they support.

This quote seems to sum up the role best:

Engineers have a lot on their plate, so ADLs set out to keep them focused on writing software by helping to handle ancillary technical tasks beyond coding. This can involve anything from onboarding applications to various tools used for well-managed software delivery, taking the lead on application architecture review processes, preparing various documentation, and even seeking out new opportunities regarding production support and what we call YBYO (you build it, you own it). Let’s be clear though, we are not just swinging the pendulum to the other side and focusing entirely on the technical aspects. In fact, we’ve introduced some added coaching expectations, since at the end of the day, the ADL's primary focus is on helping to create an environment where the engineering teams can deliver high quality, valuable software.

The idea of the Agile Delivery Lead is someone who can take on technical work. Build and deploy tools to help the team facilitate their development process. Assist in writing and updating technical documentation (although I'd hope they'd be following lean and agile approaches to the type of documentation they create). Be an active participant in architecture, design, and code reviews. The person is not someone who is heads down in code, but has a solid grasp of the entire product development life cycle, from initial concept and requirements elicitation all the way through deployment and maintenance. These are things that require knowledge and background in product management, software engineering, software quality assurance, technical writing - skills that some people with a Scrum Master role don't have and aren't technically required to meet the definition as it's presented in the Scrum Guide.

I'd really love to hear first-hand experiences as well. On paper, it seems good. In fact, it's very much aligned with my skills and how I approach my job on a day-to-day basis, although I'm tending to work more at an organizational or program (team-of-teams) level instead of with a particular development team.

04:24 pm August 14, 2019

I believe that this is a group that is making the change, not all of Cap One is making this change. They are also hiring 176 Scrum Masters.

02:52 pm August 16, 2019

Hardly familiar with this ADL thing, but after a skim through, one topic that's concerning to me is having the ADL responsible for the delivery, and in so doing, it pushes it towards a (project) management role.