Meet the Software Producer
It isn’t every day that a new title is introduced around here. And I get to have the fun of helping define it, because I’m one of the few on the block with that new title: Software Producer.
Why do we need a new title?
SEP grew out of an engineering focus from its inception. Do the work right with integrity, and the clients will come. Those engineers matured, and a need for project managers arose as projects got larger. Engineers from the trenches moved into those roles, with mostly positive results. Projects were quoted, developed, and delivered. To this point, we have Senior and Lead Software Engineers that focus on project level technical leadership. Project managers are striving to make the project succeed (within budget and other business constraints). And everything was good, right?
Well, a gap materialized that we really didn’t realize was there. We noticed that some of the projects we worked on were being left on the proverbial shelf. The client was happy with the quality of the project, and the project came in on budget. But the software never saw the light of day because it solved the wrong problem.
As a result of this enlightenment, SEP began offering Discovery services to engage our clients earlier in the process; to help understand our client’s problems and pain points to be able to collaborate to achieve a common goal. The goal to deliver high quality software that meets the real need of our clients. However, the gap was being filled by our LSEs and PMs, some of which didn’t have the tool-set to most effectively attack the problem.
Enter the Software Producer
A Software Producer’s job is to ensure that the right product is being built. A good analogy I use is to compare it to releasing a new music album (or record, for those vinyl enthusiasts).
- The music producer (or Software Producer) is the person who creatively guides and/or directs the process of making a record (piece of software).
- The bands (software engineers) create the actual music (software).
- Executive producers (project managers) manage the contracts, financials, and represent the label (client). The music/software producer also represents the client, but in so much as to produce a product that will provide the proper value stream.
A Software Producer at SEP performs the following kinds of primary tasks:
- Engages the client in product analysis and discovery activities
- Works with client stakeholders and development teams to balance client desires (scope, priority, etc.) with technical feasibility and project constraints
- Implements work item/story tracking and reporting practices for projects
- Communicates necessary information to the project team and/or management such as current progress, potential issues, blockages, etc.
- Performs acceptance testing of work product with reference to established client goals
- Facilitates demos of completed work to stakeholders for buy-in and feedback
- Continuously analyze process outcomes and adjust processes to better meet the needs of the development team and client stakeholders
- Coaches and mentors fellow engineers, as well as client stakeholders, as opportunities arise
I’m excited for what the future will bring. I’m excited by the opportunity to have a name for the work I’ve enjoyed doing for the past few years. I’m excited for SEP in its continued growth to fill a problem niche. Doing the work right, and doing the right work.
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