Guide to Delivery Manager vs. Project Manager in Agile Management

Updated July 12, 2022

Producing products on time and within a budget is very important for a business's productivity. Project and delivery managers help businesses fulfill tasks and improve profit margins. Learning more about the differences between delivery and project managers can help you better understand the production process for projects. In this article, we discuss delivery managers versus project managers in agile management and the definition of each position.

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What is a delivery manager?

A delivery manager is a management professional who ensures that teams complete projects in a timely and efficient manner. They focus on delivering a product, rather than managing a group and may prioritize group projects in order to improve an item's schedule. Delivery managers work in many technical fields, including software, hardware and machine and part production. They use agile project management techniques to manage projects and improve their delivery processes. Delivery managers may work with project managers to define a development plan and support technical leaders to innovate new delivery methods.

They create— and maybe later, adjust—development standards and help ensure the team meets each appropriately. During hiring phases, delivery managers may be part of the onboarding team to help ensure each new member can work well with the existing team. Delivery managers complete data analyses to ensure that a project is both accurate to customer demands and on schedule for prompt arrival. Because they often onboard new clients, forming a long-term relationship with them can be valuable for a business. Delivery managers often consult with clients concerning a project, summarizing details of production and discussing any requests.

Related: A Complete Guide to Project Management

What is a project manager?

A project manager is a leader who works with multiple teams on projects and helps motivate each member. Project managers understand business strategies that drive a project and its purpose. They understand why a team produces a product or service or works toward a goal. During projects, project managers oversee any potential obstacles that may occur throughout development, such as budget deficits or delayed resources. They may adjust plans or create additional action steps to either solve or work around those challenges. Project managers may also write a contract between the current project team and any stakeholders.

Contracts for projects typically include objectives, deadlines for each phase and estimated total costs. Project managers may also oversee various presentation duties, such as creating visuals like diagrams to help illustrate progress to investors. They may also outline progress for the entire project or for smaller goals to help teams understand the project's timeline. Project managers may help other team leads allocate resources such as finances, employees and materials throughout multiple projects and redistribute them as needed for each. They communicate any changes in timeline or scope and any challenges to investors through meetings and written reports.

Related: 20 Skills Every Project Manager Should Have

What is agile project management?

Agile project management is an approach to project management that involves adapting and setting broader goals. A project's life cycle features many steps before the team completes the project. Both delivery and project managers use the agile project management approach to help software product delivery and promote continuous planning progress throughout multiple projects.

Agile project management's goal is to learn from project management throughout the process, rather than only after a project's completion. Agile project management emphasizes many values, such as flexibility, trust and empowerment within a team. Some differences between traditional project management and agile project management include:

  • Initial standards: Traditional project management defines an initial target before the project begins. In agile project management, team leaders and any managers establish a general vision for the project before beginning.

  • Objective approach: In traditional project management, team leads and managers work toward an established goal. In agile project management, all members work toward a more broadly defined direction, rather than fulfilling a single objective.

  • Process management: For projects under traditional management, managers and team leaders progress toward an unchanging goal, even if circumstances surrounding the goal change. In agile project management, team leaders work to adapt to certain conditions and learn from them to reach an agile goal.

  • Goal timeline aspirations: During traditional project management, the team aspires to fulfill a goal at the end of the project. In agile project management, the goal may shift or change or the team may fulfill the goal incrementally throughout the project.

Related: Learn About Being a Project Manager

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Delivery manager vs. project manager in agile management

Delivery managers and project managers both have multiple goals when directing teams through agile management. Agile project management allows each manager to adjust and learn from current circumstances and past projects. Some differences between delivery and project managers in agile management include:

Project scope

Delivery managers in an agile project help ensure the team delivers the project both on time and according to customer specifications, even if those attributes may change throughout the course of the project. In an agile project, delivery managers seek to establish project delivery goals and adjust them as needed throughout the period. Delivery managers establish the scope changes throughout the project period, consulting team leaders and clients to agree upon various project markers. Because delivery managers have a permanent position within a company, they may learn from past projects in order to provide strategic expertise to goal-setting standards.

Project managers in agile management oversee almost every element of the project in order to complete a team goal. They help establish goals and change them if the project circumstances also change. Because project managers help moderate team members and objectives, they may make executive decisions concerning employee changes and objective changes. In agile management, project managers can freely change aspects such as goals, standards and delivery rates throughout the process. However, because project management is not a permanent position, managers may have varying experiences when facing new challenges.

Team focus

In agile management, delivery managers lead team members in limited ways. While they may not manage team members as individually as project managers, delivery managers ensure that teams can work together well to complete projects. They may suggest team reassignments or reallocate responsibilities to other teams within a system. Delivery managers help arrange meetings and objectives with investors or stakeholders more than individual team members. They may decide to request a stakeholder retract from a project or seek a specific investor for delivery purposes.

Project managers within agile management oversee all team members and their objectives toward departmental goals. They may rearrange team members not for delivery goals but for short-term objective goals within a project. Additionally, they typically don't consult investors as much as delivery managers do, aside from project updates. Within agile project management, a project manager may change project goals depending on complexity, risk management and scope.

Related: Understanding the Project Management Processes and Phases

Customer involvement

In agile management, delivery managers may adjust workloads for employees based on the customer's needs and project deadlines. Because agile management focuses on adapting to project situations, delivery managers may change product requirements, amounts and standards in order to deliver the product on time. Delivery managers who form long-term relationships with clients may be able to negotiate product requirements and change the necessary steps to complete a project.

Project managers in agile development communicate with customers and employees to verify goals, even if they change. Because project managers are responsible for drafting a contract between the company and client, they may be able to adjust project requirements multiple times before finalizing expectations. When overseeing resources, capital and employee allowances, project managers can illustrate a project's timeline for both customers and employees and create multiple custom action plans to help compensate for any execution variables, such as late resources or employee fluctuation.

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