Software Development Team Structure — Your Ultimate Guide

Imagine that you have an ambitious product idea that will skyrocket your business and win your users’ hearts and minds. Whether it’s a sophisticated software solution, a scalable mobile app, or an accessible cloud service, you will need an ingenious software development team to make your idea come to life. 

But how to assemble this powerful software team? How to understand whether your team is reaching its full potential? And how to sort out tons of abbreviations like BA, PO, QA, and PM? 

We have compiled this guide to help you assemble a powerful team and understand the major approaches to product team structure.

Agile Software Development: Communication Is a Priority

Agile software development is a methodology, the principal goal of which is to bring meaningful results through cooperation within a flexible team without a strong hierarchy. This methodology enables clients to get their products much faster and with fewer headaches. 

Agile software development team

While the traditional approach involves clearly defined roles among specialists and big teams, the Agile methodology is all about smaller teams without a strong hierarchical structure. With constant communication between a client and a software development team, specialists can adapt to various requirements and resolve issues within a team as they have the authority to suggest changes and make decisions.

Agile Team

Traditional Team 

  • Flexible teams without a strong hierarchy (tech talents’ skills are more essential than experience and job titles)
  • Strong hierarchical structure and duties distribution 
  • Each team member bears the responsibility for the successful result. The PM removes any possible obstacles, communicates with clients, and coordinates the team
  • The PM is responsible for delivering top-quality products to clients 
  • Simplified structure. Team members are focused on building software products rather than documentation, specialists can suggest alternatives and make decisions
  • Bureaucratic structure. To meet clients’ changing requirements, it’s crucial to reevaluate the entire project plan
  • Up to 10 specialists per team 
  • Big teams 
  • The primary focus is on transparent communication and people
  • The primary focus is on well-defined processes

 

Choose the Agile software development team structure if:

  • You need to spend less time on documentation
  • You want to avoid micromanagement and provide your employees with more freedom during the development lifecycle
  • It’s vital to launch your product as fast as possible
  • Your solution requires many upgrades to work smoothly
  • It’s crucial for you to be flexible with project planning
  • You are ready to communicate with your team regularly 

Select a Software Team Structure to Suit Your Project 

The Agile methodology requires constant communication between specialists, so you will need a special type of team. It’s crucial to ensure every team member is aware of their colleagues’ tasks to help each other or swap tasks efficiently. 

Depending on a certain type of software development team you need to build, there are three core approaches you have to consider searching for the perfect employees: generalist, specialist, or hybrid. 

Modern software development team structure

  • Generalists

Suitable for: projects of medium complexity, simple tech stack, small teams 

This approach is a perfect match for you if you prefer to cooperate with a small software team and don’t want to equip your product with numerous complex features. 

Multitasking, exchanging tasks, and performing multiple roles, your specialists will become universal soldiers to ensure you hit the market with a profitable solution as fast as possible. For instance, one of your designers can be familiar with quality assurance and test your software product as well. 

Such software teams usually include specialists with extensive skill sets and expertise. Though if you require your team members to be experts in a specific area, generalists may lack the knowledge you need to deliver a relevant solution. 

But if you are limited in resources and want to opt for this approach, consider hiring a third-party contractor to perform niche-specific tasks. 

  • Specialists

Suitable for: niche-specific projects of higher complexity that require expertise in a certain area

If you have in mind a complex project that requires deep expertise, consider applying this approach to get better results. Specialists are seasoned experts in particular programming languages or technologies and they don’t exchange tasks with their colleagues. Such a software team is perfect to build feature-rich and effective products much faster.

Since every team member works individually, specialists might face communication issues, so it’s crucial to equip your team with an experienced project manager to eliminate any obstacles along the way. 

  • Hybrid Team

Suitable for: complex projects with big budgets 

This approach involves both generalists and specialists and is suitable if you require both flexibility and deep expertise. Remember that a hybrid team is a costly endeavor as you will need lots of resources to connect your tech talents. 

Hybrid software teams can be an amazing option for big projects—specialists will perform tasks that require deep expertise and develop separate components, while generalists will ensure the system is integrated. 

Though the development lifecycle is more effective with hybrid teams, it might be tough to connect specialists with different approaches to the workflow. These teams need a seasoned PM to provide a client with a sophisticated product as fast as possible.

Assemble Your Powerful Team: The Key Roles and Responsibilities 

A typical Agile software development team consists of:

  • Product Owner (PO)

This decision-maker represents both business stakeholders and end-users. They understand customer requirements and know how the product’s final version should function.

Their job is to maintain a product backlog, balance trends and business objectives, define the product roadmap, and communicate with a client to ensure a team gets valuable and relevant feedback. 

  • Business Analyst (BA)

The main task of this team member is to process customer business goals and transform them into specific requirements. This person aligns the business model with technology to ensure a client gets a product that brings value to their audience. 

Being a reliable mediator between a customer and a team, BA defines the market demands and comes up with the most suitable and profitable direction for business development.

  • Project Manager (PM)

A project manager is a process guru coordinating a development team, communicating with a client, and eliminating any possible obstacles. They prioritize and distribute tasks among specialists, maintain project documentation, and organize business calls. 

Whether a team has communication issues or a project goes over budget, a PM has to develop an action plan to eliminate the possible risks. 

Product development team roles and responsibilities

  • Software Architect

If you want to hit the market with a complex and scalable product, you will need a software architect to decide how integrations should work, perform code reviews, select the right technology stack, and make high-level design choices. 

With an understanding of software architectural patterns and exceptional programming skills, this engineer aligns your requirements and users’ needs with the technical aspect of your solution. 

  • Software Developer

A team of developers builds top-quality products and resolves any technical issues they face during the development lifecycle. A powerful team usually consists of front-end and back-end engineers. You can also hire full-stack developers with skills in various coding niches. 

Front-end engineers work with customer-facing elements of your product: developing the user interface, creating cross-device responsive pages, and optimizing a product for maximum speed. 

Back-end developers are responsible for your product’s functionality. From building and managing databases to integrating third-party APIs, these specialists deal with server-side programming to ensure your software product works without any glitches. 

Software development team members

  • UX/UI Designer

Designers’ task is to come up with the way end-users will interact with your product. These specialists build user journeys for flawless UX and create such elements as navigation buttons.

A UX designer enables your end-users to interact with your solution consistently and intuitively. With user behavior in mind, this person creates prototypes for your product, conducts usability testing, and collaborates with a team of developers to build a feature-rich and profitable product. 

A UI designer creates an easy-to-navigate interface for your product. Whether it’s a color scheme and logo of your solution or navigational elements like a search field and icons, this specialist makes your product’s interface straightforward and efficient. 

  • Quality Assurance Engineer (QA)

This person detects any bugs before they get to end-users and ensures your product works without any issues. From performance and functionality to usability and security, QA engineers use numerous test environments to look for errors. Then, they report them to a team of developers so they can fix them as fast as possible.

Roles in software development

Essential Tips on Keeping a Software Development Team Effective

  •  Define the team size

Depending on your budget, business goals, and deadlines, the size of your team affects most aspects of the entire development lifecycle. The optimal Agile team size is between four and nine specialists. If you need to opt for a traditional approach, you can collaborate with bigger teams. 

Remember that smaller software teams are more flexible and can work independently. If you want to build a bigger team and keep it effective, split it into smaller groups to avoid management problems. You can divide your team into groups by development stages, roles, and specializations.

  • Make roles and responsibilities clear

When your software team has a common goal and every specialist is aware of their responsibilities, it’s much easier to stay productive and deliver meaningful results. Define areas of responsibility from the start to ensure all tasks are completed according to the agreed timeframes and budget. 

  • Make your workplace friendly

A positive working environment is vital to keep specialists motivated and boost overall productivity. Make sure all issues are addressed and everybody can speak up and share their ideas with colleagues. If you have a strong hierarchical structure, reduce the power distance and allow specialists to take ownership in the workplace. 

  • Ensure your team members can communicate efficiently

You can’t build a top-notch product without a stress-free communication model. Don’t forget to provide your team with all the essential tools for transparent communication. You can use such business messaging apps as Chanty, Slack, and Zoho Cliq

Video conferencing software like Zoom and Webex Meetings will help your team stay on track to meet crucial goals and enhance communication quality. 

  • Avoid micromanaging your software team

Micromanagement annoys specialists, damages their trust, and can cause burnout. You can start by talking to your tech talents to establish trust and prioritizing the tasks that are vital for you to stay involved in. 

Project management tools can be a fantastic way to provide your team members with the space they need and delegate tasks properly. Tools like Airtable, Trello, and ClickUp will help you manage tasks, create custom reports, and collaborate in real-time. 

Find a Perfect Software Team for Your Project With LITSLINK 

Using the Agile methodology, our software development agency provides clients worldwide with valuable results. Whether you need a group of experienced specialists or a team of flexible generalists, LITSLINK is here to help! 

With a vast pool of seasoned engineers, designers, QA specialists, and project managers, we are ready to skyrocket your business!

Scale Your Business With LITSLINK!

Reach out to us for high-quality software development services, and our software experts will help you outpace you develop a relevant solution to outpace your competitors.

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