About the ADM and TDM Roles

The role names Application Development Manager (ADM) and Technology Delivery Manager (TDM) might not be familiar but the responsibilities probably are.

To understand these two roles, it helps to see how they work together. Essentially, the Application Development Manager is responsible for building the functionality of the software being developed while the Technology Delivery Manager is responsible that this software is delivered in a cohesive manner. This requires the TDM to ensure the ADM is creating any interrelating modules in an appropriate order and with appropriate interactions.

In a nutshell, the ADM is about content and the TDM is about the timing of delivery.

These Responsibilities Must Be Done… Who Does Them?

Who should play the roles of Application Development Manager and Technology Delivery Manager? This is not quite the correct question because a “role” is just shorthand for a set of responsibilities. The most important thing is to understand the responsibilities described in the ADM and TDM roles and then to be sure that these responsibilities are being attended to. How you divide the responsibilities depends on the context of your organization.

Who does the work? We have seen the following:

  • TDM responsibilities being done by senior project managers
  • ADM responsibilities being done by architects who also have management responsibility, by development managers, and even by technical leads.

The larger you get, the more likely it is that you will need dedicated ADM and TDM roles. The systems are more complex and so require dedicated attention to the issues.

Whether an organization is four people or four thousand, organizations who are trying to be serious players are driving to increase the maturity of processes and practices, quality, metrics. It means they must have standards and then enforce those standards. The sets of responsibilities contained in the ADM and TDM responsibilities, together, assure consistency and growth.

Assuring that both sets of responsibilities are being attended to has these benefits:

  • Teams are properly focused and prepared to deliver value
  • Status meetings are shorter and more effective, with a clear delineation between value (reported by the Product Owner) and project (reported by the TDM)
  • Forecasting and predictability is better
  • Quality improves because of fewer bugs, better testing, more complete Done criteria

It is possible that an organization might achieve success without these roles in the short term. However, any organization, regardless of size, must start paying attention to these responsibilities in order to achieve on-going success in the long term. It is easy to succeed at release 0.1. But the bulk of your work and the bulk of the value you deliver will be in the future releases. The ADM and TDM roles assure ongoing quality and integrity and flow for these future releases. Viable, on-going product development requires investment in these roles.

Viable, on-going product development requires investment in these roles.