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What is a Development Manager?

In a previous posting on Agile, I discussed the 3 main roles in Scrum: Scrum Master, Product Owner and the dev team. However, there is also an additional role that is not always considered core, but which is increasingly an integral part of Agile, and that is the Development Manager.

As the name implies, the Development Manager role is a combination of both technical and managerial responsibilities.


On the technical front, Dev Managers focus on code quality (e.g. through code reviews and advocating standards) and architecture (e.g. by contributing to technology decisions, working with a dedicated or shared architect, or sometimes creating the architecture with the team). Working closely with the developers, Product Managers and liaising with other teams and management allows the Dev Manager to sure that working software gets delivered on time, so a suitable level of quality, and that fits within the broader context of the organization.


On the management front, development managers manage the team in the conventional sense in that they have one-on-one meetings, do performance reviews, deal with HR issue etc. While the Scrum Master is responsible for making sure that the team works well, without obstacles, and ideally with high velocity, the Development Manager (Dev Manager) is responsible for building (hiring) and developing (coaching, training & career development). As this ( ) article puts it: Scrum masters focus on building up velocity. Development managers build up team member’s skills.

Scrum Master vs Dev Manager

In general, it is considered bad practice to have the Scrum Master and Dev manager as the same person. Perhaps a topic for another day, but this discussion covers a lot of the reasons why.


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