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How to Build an Effective Software Development Team: Overview of Crucial Steps and Main Roles 

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Digital transformation gained its momentum in 2022. This year the increasing number of businesses started to invest in custom software development. No wonder, because reliable solutions help to automate a lot of processes, unload employees, improve client service and even increase overall company income. 

But what’s even more important, custom software grants a huge competitive advantage. The pandemic with all its restrictions demonstrated that only the businesses that digitalized on time kept working and making money, while all their competitors struggled and could not adjust to new working rules. 

When it comes to software development, most companies know for sure what digital tools they need. However, they all face one common issue related to finding and building the right software development team. The number of software developers ready to work hard for your project’s success is enormous. Just take a look how fast global developers community grows: 

Image source: Statista

So the main questions are: “How can you find the right software development company in this huge talent pool? And how should you organize the hired team to achieve success?” Well, get yourself comfortable and keep reading this post and we will provide you with all the answers and tips you need to know. 

In this post we will talk about right development team size and composition, main development roles and responsibilities, and share some valuable advice on proper team organization. 

Defining the right kind of team for your project

To begin with, let’s talk about different kinds of software development teams that you can hire. The thing is that depending on your project needs, requirements and many other factors, you may need a specific team. The development team composition and approach of specialists is what differs three main kinds of teams which are hybrid, generalists and specialists. 

We will cover each team type in detail and we will also focus on differences between traditional and Agile teams. So, without further ado, let’s proceed! 

Generalist team

This software development team structure implies that all team members have a broad skill set and huge experience, and they usually offer end-to-end development. Every team member is going to be deeply involved in your project, and they all can work independently from one another. The main goal of generalists is to deliver and improve the project to make it a perfect fit for your company. 

Although this approach seems perfect, it has one major drawback. The specialists may lack certain specific knowledge and with time you will have to hire additional technicians covering the skills and knowledge gap. 

Team of specialists

Speaking about this particular type of software development team, it is necessary to mention that unlike generalists, specialists have knowledge of specific industries and have a more narrow niche-related skill set. So every person from the team will be focused on one particular element of the project, and together they all can build extremely complex projects fast without sacrificing the quality. 

As to the cons of this team type, the main one is that there can be issues with project components. They can lack something to function seamlessly from the very first iteration. Also with specialists teams you need to pay extra attention to constant communication and make sure every technician is on the same page regarding your project development.

Hybrid team

The hybrid team structure can be called a combination of both specialists and generalists who work on the same project together and can narrow down their focus and skills when it is required. 

Hybrid teams are considered the best ones because they offer the most efficient development process. While specialists build project components, generalists are responsible for putting all elements together and integrating the software project into the existing business environment. The only disadvantage and inconvenience of hybrid teams is that it can be hard to coordinate all members, and also the cost of their work can be a bit higher. 

Traditional team vs Agile software development team

If you already performed research regarding software vendors, you probably came across some information about Agile teams. Such teams differ from traditional ones and they offer way more flexibility and self-organization. Just take a look at the infographics below to get a full picture and understand what makes traditional and Agile development teams so different. 

So as you can see, there are many variants to choose from. And your final choice of the team should be based on your project type, its complexity and desired development time. It is always a good idea to outsource software development to an Agile hybrid team like Altamira, since you can be sure that in case of unexpected events all specialists can be replaced by equally experienced colleagues and your project will be built and delivered on time. 

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Must-read

These days many businesses choose to hire a dedicated team because it is more cost-efficient, scalable and has relevant experience gained while building other similar projects. We wrote an article covering specificities of hiring dedicated developers and shared some cooperation tips. Take your time and read that article here

Typical software development team structure: Main roles and responsibilities

Before you make a final decision and get settled with a certain software vendor, you should explore the roles and responsibilities of every team member in the company of your choice. 

As we’ve already mentioned earlier, Agile software development team size usually is up to 9 people. They all are involved in the development process but are responsible for different tasks, and at the same time the entire team works as a holistic unit to deliver a high-quality business project. 

The main development team roles are business analyst, project manager (or scrum master), UI/UX designer, front- and back-end developer, QA specialist, software architect and DevOps engineer. Software vendors like Altamira can also offer services of other team members such as marketing specialists, content writers, advertising specialists, etc. They can help you to prepare landing pages, marketing campaigns or send a bunch of marketing emails informing clients about your new solution. 

To better understand software development team structure and what a right team member does, we offer you to delve into a more detailed description of every role. 

Business Analyst

Business analyst is a crucial team member who helps business owners to identify real market needs, explore solutions of competitors, formulate project requirements and write all necessary documentation for further project development. It is not a secret that many projects fail, and they do it not because they are not good enough, but because they are not suitable for a certain market. 

Business analyst is a specialist who will help you shape your software product ideas, build the right business strategy, and create realistic and accurate project scope. Here at Altamira our BAs do the following for our clients: 

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If you already have a project in mind and need expert opinion, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our specialists will be happy to provide you with pro advice.

Project Manager

Project manager also known as Scrum master is a team member responsible for your software projects success. The PM supervises the work of software engineers, makes sure that team delivers the project on time and within budget, and helps to motivate all the involved specialists. 

It’s necessary to mention that the project manager has many responsibilities and tasks. This person plans the sprints and development activities, provides the client with all necessary reports and progress updates, fosters transparent and frequent communication, and also suggests the improvements of further development flow. 

If you are looking for a reliable self-managed team, there definitely should be a PM in it. The PM is like a captain on a ship who does not let any chaos happen on board. Thanks to the hard work of project managers everything will be scheduled and thoroughly planned. As to the soft and hard skills, these specialists always possess the following:

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Good to know

To find out more information about project management, specifics of PM work and reasons why you should hire this specialist to run your team, check out our blog post. It also explains why Agile approach is the best for building business projects. 

UI/UX Designers

Before the development process starts, UI/UX designers begin working on project wireframes and mockups. The main goal of designers is to turn your vision into a set of user-friendly interfaces and wrap them up into a visually appealing design highlighting your brand identity. 

Designers take care not only about every user interface, but also about all visually pleasing and functional aspects such as buttons, loaders, icons, color palette, etc. They also are involved in research of target audience, development of user personas, prototyping, and more. 

Since the design is no less important than software functionality, it is crucial to select highly experienced UI/UX specialists who know all the latest trends and can apply the best design practices. 

Software engineers

Software developers write code, perform all necessary integrations with APIs and third-party services, implement all technologies and features and solve all tech-related issues that emerge during SDLC. For all solutions you need several kinds of software engineers – frontend and backend developer, technical lead, and sometimes even software architect. 

Software architect is responsible for designing solution architecture, selecting necessary tools and platforms, setting up all standards and requirements for code. 

To build a feature-rich and functional solution you do not need to hire only expensive senior engineers, since middle ones can do the job perfectly. Software development companies have developers of different seniority and experience, so they will suggest specialists who will be a perfect fit for your project. 

Both backend and frontend developers work on one project to ensure its usability, functionality and performance. The frontend team usually works with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React, Vue and Angular. As to the backend team, they are skilled at using PHP, Node.js, different databases, APIs, microservices and specific algorithms. 

Quality Assurance engineer

Quality assurance means a lot, especially if you create a solution for business. And quality assurance engineers help to ensure that the app has no bugs, no security holes, no tech and performance issues. Usually QAs perform manual and automated testing to detect all kinds of issues at early stages and fix them fast. 

Testing specialists create various cases, protocols and scenarios, check if features meet all functional and non-functional requirements specified in documentation, and they also contribute to improving the development practices. There are many types of testing that QA engineers perform and among them you can see unit testing, integration testing, system testing, etc. 

Top 4 tips on how to build an effective team

By now you may be wondering if there are any secrets of organization and creation of your software development team. Well, we’d say there are no secrets but there is a set of recommendations that will definitely be of use to you. We have decided to share top 4 tips of our company and how we build effective teams for client’s projects. 

#1 Define software development team structure

Before organizing the whole team or hiring any specialists you need to define your business goals, project needs and then choose a team accordingly. Another decision making factors would be your budget, desired deadlines, and preferred development methodology. We highly recommend choosing Agile team structure since it will offer you more flexibility and scalability in the future. 

Once you’ve selected your team structure, it is necessary to define all roles and expected outcomes. You should be aware not only about the number of team members, but also about their responsibilities, deadlines, and qualifications. The team will provide you with all necessary documentation and reports to keep you updated during the whole development process. 

#2 Set clear business goals and realistic deadlines

Your project success depends not only on the good work of the software development team but also on your requirements and deadlines. They both should be realistic, and your business goals should be clear for all team members. 

Whether you are building an MVP or modernizing your existing BI solutions, your team should know who is your end user, what problem your solution solves and in what way, and what success metrics you expect to see after the release. Otherwise there can be some misunderstandings and unexpected results. 

#3 Establish effective communication

Communication plays a crucial role in software development. After all, the software development team should work in concert and all team members should receive timely feedback and suggestions. In teams like ours there is one particular specialist who is responsible for efficient communication, it is project manager or scrum master. 

Project manager not only gets in touch with you as a client, but also communicates with developers and other technicians to find out what their needs, progress, and demands are. PM also provides clients with all required reports and schedules meetings or video calls on a regular basis. 

To establish effective communication it is always better to use some reliable solutions and tools like Jira, Google Meets, Zoom, Slack. Open and timely negotiations can help prevent numerous issues, preserve desired development timeline and keep your team motivated. 

#4 Use all necessary tools

Digital tools help not only businesses but also every software development team to stay productive and control all ongoing processes. So when you gather and organize your team, it is important to introduce and actively use project management software, communication tools, performance review software and more. 

We already have our own list for effective work management and it includes the following solutions for:

Key reasons to choose Altamira as your technical partner

With such a wide variety of software development teams on the market, you may be wondering why exactly you should choose our development company. And that’s an absolutely normal interest that we are ready to satisfy. 

To begin with, Altamira has a cohesive in-house team of developers and more than 10 years of experience in performing digital business transformation. We have delivered complex projects for healthcare, insurance, retail, real estate, manufacturing, finance, automotive and logistics industries. 

By choosing Altamira, you choose an Agile software development team that guarantees usage of best development practices. We follow all industrial standards and compliances, focus on all security measures and your particular business goals. Our services include but are not limited to: 

Altamira offers a full-cycle software development process that is performed by the leading tech specialists. You can benefit from services of  project manager, business analyst, software developers, QA engineers, award-winning designers and highly qualified DevOps engineers. 

Whatever project you build, your product team structure will be perfect for it. We select specialists of necessary seniority and domain expertise. All software development team roles and responsibilities will be clearly defined, and we take most of the development risks on us. Apart from that, we guarantee deep involvement into your project and: 

FAQ

Where to look for software development teams?

To find the right team with relevant experience, you will need to explore specific platforms like GoodFirms and Clutch. There you will find a lot of companies offering development services. Also you can discover their rates, industry expertise, main focus and then visit their website. Pay special attention to company portfolio and client reviews, since this will help you to understand if the team is capable of building a project for your specific business niche. 

What services do development companies offer?

Apart from high quality coding and building industry-specific solutions, an experienced software development team also offers a bunch of other services. They are holistic market research and business analysis that will help you to build a right and competitive solution, define main business objectives and how software can help you pursue them.  Most teams also offer fast MVP development to test your idea and get users feedback. 

Also with a development team like Altamira you can perform software modernization, code review, application redesign and more. We can turn any business solution to a whole new level and enrich it with advanced technologies and new features. 

And last but not least, if you already have your team but still lack some specific skills and knowledge, you can make use of the team augmentation option offered by most software vendors. 

How to organize the work of a software development team?

The main tip we can give you is to ensure great project management and proper distribution of development team roles and responsibilities. All team members should be integrated into the ongoing development process and have all necessary tools for communication, tasks management, performance tracking, etc. 

If you outsource your software development, then the office and all equipment will be provided to team members by your vendor. But if you have an in-house team, make sure you provide them with all the essentials, so that they can concentrate on their job instead of minor organizational moments. Also don’t forget about the meeting and calls with your team since this helps to keep them motivated and lets you find out all details regarding project progress. 

Wrapping up

Software development is a serious venture that will require a solid budget and a lot of time. But this venture does not necessarily need to be complicated. If you choose the right technical partner, you can avoid numerous pitfalls and challenges. And the first and foremost advantage you’ll get is perfect team composition with thoroughly selected software development team roles. When you have only relevant specialists who do their job perfectly, you can be sure that you’ll get an impeccable product. 

In case you are still looking for an Agile software development partner, Altamira can be the best choice for you. We offer a personalized approach to each client and every project. And we will help you with everything starting with team selection and organization, and ending with project maintenance and future improvements. Together with our agency you can build solutions of any complexity that will last you for years and bring so much value to your business.

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