Delivery Management is a much broader scale of project management. It is the organization, administration, and supervision of the people, processes, and technologies, which when combined into a comprehensive plan, provides the business and technical functions needed to successfully achieve what a client expects to receive. The person responsible for this type of work is referred to as the delivery manager, delivery director, delivery vice president, or account manager depending on the organization. For purposes of this blog, the term delivery director will be used.
There are many likenesses between a project manager and delivery director. Whereas the project manager will get into more of the details, the delivery director oversees what is going on at a higher level and across more areas of responsibility. The delivery director is typically a more experienced individual that gets assigned to the larger, more visible projects. This individual also has more direct involvement with management at a higher level such as with the client, third party vendors, executive steering committees, board of directors, etc. The delivery director anticipates the actions, thoughts, and directions of the client, and manages the client without them really knowing it.
Let's begin by understanding what delivery is all about. There are many stages in the business cycle such as getting a lead, turning the lead into a prospect, working towards the sale, closing the sale, and then making the magic happen - delivering what was promised. Now some of the readers may say they do not have to worry about this cycle because they work in a company where they get a request to do the work and their management tells them what to do. In some cases it may be that simple, for example, very small projects such as those under a work-month. However, if you look a little closer, you will see there is a lot of internal selling going on at various levels.
Getting to the delivery stage for a large-scale project requires a great deal of up-front work. By the time it gets to the point where a delivery team comes into play, a company could have spent one million dollars over the course of a year. Whether it is a consulting company or an internal organization, the effects of what the delivery organization produces will determine if the project was successful. This could be a highly technical software project or a business process development project. If you do not deliver what was agreed to in the timeframe expected, the chances for additional business is remote. That is why the delivery organization has to be in sync with the sales group or internal organization requesting the work on the front end and the support team on the back end. If the support team has difficulty maintaining the product, costs will increase, personnel will get frustrated and leave, and the client will be quite upset.
So what does the profile look like for a delivery director? Look for it in my next blog entry.