Guidance for Multidisciplinary teams

Version 1.0

Your service team must include people doing a variety of different roles (this type of team is called a multidisciplinary team). You may need to include other roles depending on the size and nature of your service.

Multidisciplinary teams are needed to make and operate government services at a sustainable pace and at scale. 

Roles your team must have

A team building a government service needs to have people with the following roles or skills either in the team or available to it:

  • product manager
  • service owner
  • delivery manager
  • user researcher
  • content designer
  • service designer
  • interaction designer
  • developer

Your whole team, and in particular your designers, user researchers, content designers and developers, must work together to design, build and iterate a service based on the user needs of the people your service is aimed at.

Your team may be made up of civil servants as well as suppliers, depending on the service. 

Product manager

Your product manager works with the delivery team to:

  • makes sure your service fits in with your organisation’s priorities
  • define what the future goal of the service is (often called the ‘product vision’ in agile project management)
  • make sure your service will meet user needs
  • make sure your service is accessible to everyone, including disabled people or people who aren’t comfortable using online services
  • prioritise user stories for each work sprint
  • comment on technical, content and design solutions
  • accept user stories when complete

Service owner

Your service owner must have the decision-making authority to deliver on all aspects of a project. They also:

  • have overall responsibility for developing, operating and continually improving your service
  • make sure the necessary project and approval processes are followed (including the service self-assessment process)
  • identify and mitigate risks to your project
  • encourage the maximum possible take-up of your digital service
  • have responsibility for your service’s support to those who can’t use the online service 
  • help identify and find subject matter experts within the relevant organisation
  • help unblock problems within the organisation

Delivery manager

Your delivery manager is responsible for:

  • setting up the agile environment your team needs to build and iterate a user-centred service
  • removing obstacles or ‘blockers’ to progress
  • helping your service team become better at autonomously organising their own work
  • making sure accessibility is factored into each feature or activity the team’s working on

User researcher

Your user researcher helps your team learn about the people who will use your service. This will help you design and build a service that works well for all your users, including people who need additional support.

On your team, they will:

  • plan and carry out research using a range of methods
  • involve the team in user research to help everyone develop a deep understanding of your users
  • create clear findings that help your team continuously improve your service, based on data and evidence

Content designer

A content designer makes sure that your users understand the service. They are responsible for:

  • developing content plans and strategies based on user needs where necessary
  • writing clear, concise, simple and accessible content using language your users would use
  • making sure any content is written in line with relevant style guides or manuals 
  • reiterating and championing the principles of content design to your service team and others across your organisation
  • advocating for users of your service by challenging requests that do not support their needs

Service designer

Service designers design the end-to-end journey of a service. They help users complete their goals, and the government deliver its policy intent. They help deliver services by:

  • understanding the service from a user’s perspective which may cut across organisational boundaries
  • working with internal staff to understand existing processes and regulations
  • creating service blueprints that visualise interactions between users, technology and organisations
  • sketching out the steps in a user journey according to their needs and user-centred design principles
  • getting feedback from stakeholders and iterating

Interaction designer

Interaction designers work out the best way to let users interact with services, in terms of both overall flow and at the level of individual design elements. They do this by:

  • understand the goal of the user for the task they are trying to do and the steps we need them to take to achieve it
  • propose new journeys through a product
  • work with developers to understand and technical constraints
  • creating prototypes of how a service could look and feel, in order to test solutions to problems
  • ensuring services delivered are accessible and intuitive

Developer and frontend developer

You need developers on your team to:

  • build accessible software with a focus on what users need from your service and how they’ll use it
  • advise on the technical feasibility of designs
  • write, adapt, maintain and support code
  • continually improve the service with new tools and techniques
  • solve technical problems

Other roles you may need

Depending on a service’s size and complexity, your team might also need these roles:

  • performance analyst
  • technical architect
  • devOps engineer
  • business analyst
  • quality assurers and testers

Performance analyst

Performance analysts help your team understand and improve your service’s performance by:

  • collecting and presenting key performance data and analysis for your service
  • working with your service owner to make sure their service meets the performance requirements set out in the Service Standard
  • helping your service team understand user needs by providing quantitative and qualitative evidence from web analytics, financial data and user feedback

The performance analyst and user researcher should work together to understand and incorporate both qualitative and quantitative data when building or iterating a service.

Technical architect

Technical architects need to:

  • work with delivery teams and third parties to decide on technical requirements and improvements for software development and web operation
  • make sure that new and updated platforms, products, transactions and system architectures are robust, scalable, open and secure

DevOps engineer

DevOps engineers help your service team by:

  • running your production systems
  • helping the development team build software that’s easy to use
  • working with developers to optimise existing applications and design new ones
  • encouraging everyone (developers, delivery managers, product managers) to think about how new applications will be run and maintained

Business analyst

Business analysts work with the service owner or product manager to:

  • define what skills a service will need and map where these can be found (for example from an external contractor)
  • check there’s the budget to cover the proposed approach
  • analyse how much money your project needs for its ongoing running costs
  • analyse and map risks and propose solutions

Quality assurers and testers

The quality of any digital service is the responsibility of the entire team, and the final responsibility lies with the service owner.

Employing specialist skills from outside of the service is a good way to make sure this is tested thoroughly. You may find this particularly helpful for penetration testing and quality assurance.

A quality assurer can work on a short-term basis with your team to build quality into everything they do. They should leave your team capable of managing quality as part of their standard development and iteration of the service.

Get help with what roles you need

If you have any questions about the roles in service teams, you can work with the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy to guide and support you with this.

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