The structure of a software development team – JAXenter

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Introduction

When working with a team of software developers, many clients find that its structure includes quite a lot of people. And while the responsibilities of developers are quite clear, things can get complicated with business managers, product managers, and other team members.

In this article, we will explain how software development teams structure their work, what the roles and responsibilities of each team member are, and how to find out if your team is working well with your product.

SEE ALSO: Three Reasons to Include Agile in Your Software Engineering Strategy

Approaches to team structure:

There are several ways to organize a flexible development team – universal, specialized, and hybrid.

Universal:

A team consisting of people with a wide range of skills and experience is called universal. Such teams are usually responsible for the complex development of the entire project or a separate function. This is the most common project team structure for outsourcing companies.

Pros of the universal approach:

  • Each team member is well-versed in the product, so they can focus on improving it as a whole.
  • Everyone is competent enough to do their job without being dependent on others, but still can be involved in the development of many project elements.

Cons of the universal approach:

  • Since no one’s knowledge is very specific, it is sometimes necessary to attract a new team member in the middle of the project.

Specialized:

A specialized team consists of specialists with specific skills to solve narrow problems. Each professional has a niche and therefore takes full responsibility for their project element. This is also quite common for software development teams.

Pros of the specialized approach:

  • The specific member is involved in a specific project element without crossing other modules.
  • The team can build complex high-quality systems very quickly.

Cons of the specialized approach:

  • Since everyone works individually, there is a possibility that various components will conflict with each other.
  • There may be gaps in communication due to a lack of common knowledge.

Hybrid:

The hybrid structure of the project team is essentially a combination of universals and specialists. Such teams work on the project as a whole but can narrow down their tasks if necessary. A hybrid approach is the best of both worlds.

Pros of the hybrid approach:

  • There are both specialists who create individual components and universals who supervise system integration.
  • The development process is as efficient as possible.

Cons of the hybrid approach:

  • It can be difficult to coordinate people with different approaches to the work process.
  • Creating a hybrid team is time-consuming and expensive.

Traditional vs Agile team

Traditional team:

  • Project management is top-down. The project manager is responsible for the execution of the work;
  • Teams can work on several projects simultaneously;
  • The organization measures individual productivity;
  • Clear roles and positions;
  • No team size limit;
  • Employees are called human resources.

Agile team:

  • A self-organized and self-governing team. The role of a project manager is to train the team, remove obstacles, and avoid distractions;
  • Teams focus on one project at a time;
  • The organization evaluates team performance;
  • Cross-functional teams, skills trump ranks;
  • Three to nine people on the team;
  • Employees are called talents.

Roles in a traditional development team

Business Analyst (BA)

It is a person that connects the development and client side in the development process. BA communicates with the client, reveals all the details, problems, a vision of the solution, formalizes considerations in the form of a document and transfers the result to the developers.

Project Manager (PM)

The main task of a PM is to manage all processes for the development of a new product. This includes ensuring technical implementation, managing technical teams, generating detailed reporting for further analysis and improvement of business processes, and monitoring the deliverables to be ready on time.

UX/UI Designer

A UX/UI designer is a specialist who is primarily concerned with how a user interacts with a product and visualises the system interface. UX/UI designers explore different approaches to solving a specific user problem. Their main task is to make sure that the product flows logically from one step to the other.

Developers (Front-end/ Back-end, Mobile)

No software project is possible without developers. Depending on the end software platform and the future product stack, there’s a variety of different types of developers, including web developers (front-end, back-end) and mobile developers (iOS, Android). Frontend developers work with the client side of the future program and create the future software interface. Backend developers work with the server side and build the product functionality that the user doesn’t see. In turn, mobile developers create future applications for various mobile devices.

Quality Assurance Engineer (QA)

The job of a Quality Assurance engineer is to control the correctness of all stages of development and the correct work of the final product. They are engaged not only in checking the work of the application but also in monitoring compliance with standards in software development, interacting with developers, designers, customers, preventing the appearance of bugs and errors in the software.

What’s an Agile team?

An Agile team is a cross-functional and self-organized team that is responsible for delivering a new end-to-end product (from start to finish). And a team like this has the resources to do it.

You need an Agile team to deliver the product to the market faster, reduce the amount of micromanagement, and better fit the client’s needs.

The cross-functional and self-organized nature of an Agile team means that the result is a common responsibility. Therefore, the team members work not only within their respective competencies but also make sure to help each other.

You need an Agile team when there is a complex product with a high degree of uncertainty and risk. The Agile team delivers the product more frequently and receives feedback from the customer much earlier. As a result, the solution emerges as a more valuable and viable product that generates profits.

Working for an Agile team

The development of complex products requires a flexible approach to work. The process is therefore characterized by regular situations that call for competence in several areas simultaneously. That’s when different team members have to cooperate to solve a problem. Also, an Agile team is characterised by the fact that new pressing tasks emerge quite often, and sometimes they require attention more than the previous ones. In situations like that, the team adjusts to the new realities, implementing the basic principle: Readiness for change is more important than following the original plan. Of course, teams try to avoid that. To do this, for example, Scrum introduced sprint work, and no new tasks could be assigned to the team during the sprint. Since a sprint only lasts a short time, usually two weeks, the next sprint will allow the team to take on a new task, and thus bring more business value at a brisker pace.

SEE ALSO: Why agile teams drive digital transformation

Roles in an Agile Team

Product owner

The product owner is the person who manages the product on behalf of the company. This person is responsible for ensuring that the product creates value for customers and users, as well as for the company that provides access to it. To fulfil their responsibilities, the product owner must maintain contact with users, collaborate with the development team, and understand how the company works.

Scrum master

Scrum is a technique that helps teams work together. As a sports team prepares for a deciding game, the team must learn from experience, self-organize as they work to solve a problem and analyze their successes and failures to continually improve.

The Scrum Master maintains the scrum culture in the team and ensures that its principles are adhered to. This person follows the values of this methodology in everything while being flexible and always ready to use new opportunities for the benefit of the team’s work process.

Development team

The development team consists of such people as project managers, business analysts, UX/UI designers, frontend and backend developers, QA engineers and other necessary people. As you…

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