General management

Avoid adding jobs, improve roles instead

Photo by John Perivolaris When seeking to improve team performance or delivery it’s often tempting to identify the need to introduce more jobs: “We’re not well organised, we need to introduce a project manager.” “The requirements are never clear, we need to introduce BAs.” “The quality is poor, we need to start hiring QAs.” “The releases are problematic, we need a release manager.”

But too often the result is a longer pipeline with more bottlenecks, more gatekeepers, and more frustration. It’s not that any of these kinds of jobs are individually bad (I’ve known plenty of people in all these jobs who add a great deal of value), but when combined without care it can reduce the overall effectiveness of the team, even while the specific, localised, problem is resolved. The problem is that the distance increases between the people wanting the work done and the people actually doing the work.

A much better approach, then, is to seek to improve the effectiveness and increase the responsibility of those already in the mix. If we aren’t well organised can we simplify our mechanisms or give some more responsibility to a team lead or similar? If the requirements aren’t sufficiently clear can we get the product owner to work alongside the development team? If quality is poor, how can we build quality into our processes? If the releases are problematic can we simplify and automate?

Again: none of the roles I’ve mentioned, or any similar ones you can imagine, are necessarily out of place in an organisation. The trick is to ensure the focus remains on the people actually doing the work.

Photo by John Perivolaris

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