Successful product development projects are often characterized by having an enthusiastic product champion with solid domain knowledge, a visible and proud chief engineer and a clever and supportive project manager, and of course, a group of exceptional developers. From an organizational point of view it makes sense to require that any project should clearly identify these three roles:
- The Champion : The product champion is a person that dreams about the product, have a vision about how it can be used and can answer questions about what is important and what is less important. The product champion is required to have a deep and solid domain knowledge and will often play the role of a customer proxy in the project. This position can only be held by a person that is deeply devoted and have a true passion for the product to be created. The product champion is the main interface between the project and the customer/users. (sometimes also known as: Product Manager, Project Owner, ...)
- The Chief : The chief engineer is a technical expert that have a vision of the complete solution and ready to defend this vision. At any time, the chief engineer should be able and willing to stand up to proudly describe the solution and explain how everything fits together. He/she should be responsible for technological decisions but also make sure that the solution is supporting the business strategy. The chief engineer is the main communication channel between this project and other projects. (sometimes also known as: System Architect, Tech Lead, Shusa, ...)
- The Manager : The project manager is a person that leads a team to success by managing the resources on a project in an effective and sensible way. He/she will be responsible for defining a development process, but should also actively discover and remove impediments. The project manager is the main interface between the project and corporate management. (sometimes also known as: Scrum Master, Team Manager, ...)
Of course, for very small projects these three roles can be fulfilled by one person, but for projects of some size there should be three people filling these three roles: one product champion, one chief engineer and one project manager. These three people must work together as a team, they need to "protect" and "promote" the project to the outside world, and be available to the developers at any time.