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Team Roles Within Agile Development

10 Mar

As previously mentioned in my last blog, SDLC is a popular process use by IS project teams to achieve their goals. However SDLC might not be suitable for all projects. SDLC can be at times quite complicated and sometimes may have excessive documentation causing confusion among members of a team. The relationship with their end-user members of the team may not be as strong also. This is where Agile Development becomes popular as a process for IS projects. They prefer having less documentation to avoid complicity and they like it keep objectives feasible or KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Their relationship with the end-user in contrast with SDLC is quite strong as they form strict contrasts and quickly develop any necessary changes for their clients.

One example of an Agile Development where team roles are seen throughout is that of Scrum development. Here are just some of its team roles.

Product manager

This member represents the customer’s interest, they also represent the long and short term product vision of the product line. Their challenges include resisting the temptation to add more work, it is an agile software development system therefore it must be kept simple.


This team member leads the technical direction of the overall team. They ensure design goals such as performance, reliability, maintainability, re usability, internationalization and accessibility are met. As well as leading the design they also provide feedback

Engineering Manager

Their role is to ensure the successful completion of Work-in-progress (WIP) and to understand the process of product creation. They are responsible for motivating their team and removing bottlenecks that would slow down the team’s process. They also work closely with the architect to prove technical integrity.

Product Developer

This is an important role for the team. They are responsible for the actual creation of the project. They estimate the size of backlog items and translation of backlog items into engineering design and logical units of work (tasks).





Team Roles Within a SDLC

10 Mar

SDLC (System Development Life Cycle) is a process of creating, altering information systems and the models and methodologies that people use to develop these systems. This process is quite popular among teams in IS project as it eases the process of building an IS system, it reduces system failures or its possibility of not meeting the end-users needs. Because there are so many members involved in the process of IS projects, it is not surprising that different goals and objectives can be seen by different people. SDLC comes into play here to organise certain phases and to allow proper communication between members. There are five phases:

1.       Planning

This is the initial phase of any SDLC. Team roles such as leaders and managers are involved here. They identity a problem and plan a way in which why to solve it, and to see the feasibility of it. This is also the phase where teams and their roles are constructed. This is a vital phase for every team member to know their position and goal.

2.       Analysis

This is the phase where the role of system analysts becomes most prominent. Their task is to analyse what the problem is by asking questions such as why the problem exists, and what is the most feasible way to solve it. They study and collect data from old or other related systems and set out objects for the new system.

3.       Design

In this phase system designers have an important role in how they fulfil user requirements. Physical and logical design occurs here. It is also where system security is established and an implementation date is set here.

4.       Implementation

This is where the actual coding of the IS project takes place. Test runs occur here to spot any problems and to eliminate them. It is here where the system is finally implemented and team members are trained into understanding and fixing any problems with the system.

5.       Maintenance

It is a common occurrence that bugs and flaws are seen within the system after it is implemented. It is in this phase therefore that the team role of maintenance occurs here to rectify any problems or update the system as they have been taught to do so.


End-users: The Outsider Team Member

10 Mar

One might think that the only members in an IS project is that of only those within an organisation. However the consumers or users of what the IS teams intend to create are also members of the IS project. If there are no end-users then there would be no one to use what comes out of the project, therefore the project would become useless. It is because of this that members within the organisation see the end user as an important part of the project. With an ever changing society, the demands of the end users can change spontaneously therefore team members within the organisation must keep studying the needs and desires of the end users in order to satisfy them and attract them to their project. Because of this there are considered a great source a feedback for an IS project.

Team managers and team leaders study current information is studied such as consumer demand and sales. If the trends of the end-user changes certain projects can be changed or discontinued in order to adapt to these changes. Research is also carried out on competition here and what steps can be done in dealing with it.

One question that is frequently asked is who creates the projects that the end–users receive. This can range from in-house applications, software packages, internet-based application services (web services) and outsourcing.

Another question asked is who are these end-users? On organisational levels these can range from top and middle managers, team leaders and supervisors and operational employees. On business function they range from marketing, production, sales accounting, information technology and human resources.

With all the examples shown of the many end-user developers and users, and with their importance shown with in an IS project, it is clear that it is one of the major team roles within the project.

Team Leaders: The different types of leaders

9 Mar

Team leaders are seen as highly ranked when it comes to the role of IS teams. They are the driving force of other members and they help motivate others to achieve the goal of a project. Seeing as it is such an important diverse role it is not surprising to see that there are many different types of leaders and many ways to use their skills. There are four main domains of leadership strength. They are as follows;

1.       Executing

These leaders must be skilled at executing their work. When an individual is needed to finish their part of the project, the leader motivates them to do this. This must try to focus on the better ideas of their fellow colleges, focusing on it and make it a reality. This is also where the planning skills of the leader comes into play. They usually are disciplined and will work tirelessly to achieve a goal.

2.       Influencing

Influencing is another domain of leadership skills. They work on a wider audience trying to sell their ideas inside the project teams and outside it. They have the strength to speak out in group providing confidence for the team and prioritise objectives for the team.

3.       Relationship Building

This domain if for the leaders who prioritise the relationships of all members of the team. They have the ability to create great teams that work efficiently and with feasibility together. They encourage their colleges to create new ideas, as some team members may fear promoting their ideas as they don’t want them rejected or criticised. Their traits usually include high energy, work hard to minimise distractions and work hard to get all members involved and promote communication.

4.       Strategic Thinking

These types of leaders look into the future of what the consequences of their actions are. Because of this, they are constantly absorbing and analysing the data they receive. It is here also that the leader is always organising in order to create feasabilty to access of all information.

Of course any leader is not limited to just one of these domains. An effective leader may have traits of all these domains if not all. The diversity of these traits is what makes a good leader and crucial role in the team and to help the group achieve their IS projects.



Communication: A Vital Part of a Team

9 Mar

Communication is a vital part of any team role in an IS system. Without it information would not be passed to other members of the team and therefore will endanger the completion of the project. The skills of team communication are critical for ensuring the success of the team effort, whether the team is making a process improvement, or charged with creating a new product. Strong team communication skills can help build relationships, ensure the sharing of new ideas and best practices, and benefit team members through coaching and counselling. Here are the two main factors that contribute to the communication of a team are as follows;


Team members must learn to work together so that all their findings and work are relevant to each other. Communication is critical and is driven by the team leader who will work with the team to establish ground rules and work to bring the team together so that it can accomplish its goals. Team analysts with share all their findings and relevant information on their research to other members in order to progress with the project. All teams will go through expected stages of planning, organizing, and developing in order to do this.


Sharing of information is an important part of communication f a team. When team communication skills are strong, it raises the chance that good ideas and best practices will be shared openly. At times there can be problems with members sharing information for fear of having their ideas stolen, criticized or even dismissed, this is why team leaders try to encourage their team members to try new ideas. It is also the role of a leader to try to create an open, positive and supportive environment among team members in order to get a better position to hear those good ideas and learn from the best practices of the group.


Team roles of an IS Project

9 Mar

Team roles in IS projects are essential for a project to achieve its maximum potential. Over 50% of IS projects fail. This is due to many factors such as 30% of projects being cancelled before being completed like the Avis Europe PLS (UK) in 2004, whose ERP project was cancelled after $54.5 million was spent after they had fundamental problems with its design and implementation. Some of the projects fail to achieve their goals and some had budgets that were too high. Because of the high rates of failures and the costs that follow, team roles in IS projects are carefully designed to minimise any failures. Therefore to avoid any confusion or obstacles in the progression of the project, objectives are divided down into team roles of the project.

In order to hand out the team member roles for each objective, planning must first occur. This is usually the first phase for SDLC. You cannot just go and built it. A problem must be identified my investigating the issue. It is then that team roles can be built. Some of the team roles are usually divided out as follows;

Team Leader: This member of the team is to keep an overall check of the other members of the group, to encourage them and to monitor their progress.

System Analysts: Their role is to identify which projects are worth perusing, to study what kind of budget is affordable and how many hours should be spent on the project.

Project Managers: Mangers roles are to give direction to the project.  Project Manager is responsible for communication, including status reporting, risk management, escalation of issues that cannot be resolved in the team, and, in general, making sure the project is delivered in budget, on schedule, and within scope.

Stakeholder: A stakeholder of a project can range from a lot of different individuals. They can include staff members such as managers, leaders and developers or can even be people who invest their time and money into the project.

For an IS project to work swiftly and with feasibility all team roles must work in cooperation together.


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