Software team development structure is an important factor in your project’s long term success. What makes a good developer team? Well, it requires more than just finding experienced developers.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to the ideal software development team structure. In most cases a single developer is not enough to get your project across the finish line.
You might need a large team with specialists in a diverse range of programming languages, or perhaps a more lean software development structure with generalists.
Either way the size of your team dictates how much time and effort you have to devote to keeping the line of communication open. It all depends on the specific needs of your project.
Define Your Project’s Complexity And Needs
There are several important factors to consider when building your dream team, most importantly:
- Complexity of your project. Whether you plan on updating legacy code or launching a product from scratch will have a major impact on the size of your team and its members.
- Delivery Schedule. Smaller projects usually have a tighter deadline because there are less tasks involved. For a large project with many team members performing complex tasks, you need to plan ahead - and plan accordingly.
- Budget. The size of your budget dictates the size of your team. Some projects only require 1-2 developers, and for a simple project, a less-experienced developer - yet one with lots of motivation - can save you money.
If all of this seems overwhelming, don’t worry. We’re here to walk you through the organizational structure of a software development team so that you can make the most informed decision.
Choose a Team Development Type as a Base
Each member of your development team plays a crucial role and serves a purpose - making your project a reality. Understanding the type of team you need is the foundation upon which success is built.
- Hybrid Team
If your project does not require a deep level of technical knowledge and needs to be completed in a relatively short period of time, then you’re better suited hiring a team of generalists. They possess a broad range of knowledge that gives them greater flexibility and usually work on small to mid-sized projects.
Specialists have a high level of knowledge and experience in narrow fields. No issue is too complicated for them! If you have a product that requires a lot of time and effort, then a team of specialists might be right for you - however, it comes with a larger price tag.
Hiring a team of generalists and specialists is an ideal solution for those who possess the right resources. A hybrid team can work faster together and is ideal for complex, large-scale projects.
Proper Software Development Team Size
The size of your team usually depends on the scope of your project. If there are more than 10 people on your team, then you might have to start dividing everyone into sub-teams to properly manage the workflow.
A large software development team structure means that project management tools like Jira, Trello, Asana, Redmine, etc. are all the more necessary.
Jira is one of the most popular project management tools in the world. According to Atlassian, the platform’s creators, Jira is used in over 190 countries to effectively delegate tasks among team members and track time.
Mandatory Team Roles to Have
There are mandatory roles on every project team, regardless of your team’s size. Software developers are only a piece of the puzzle - project managers, designers, and QA testers also play important roles in making your project a reality.
+ Project Manager
+ UX Designer
+ UI Designer
+ Software Developer
+ QA Tester
A project manager oversees the everyday workflow. They are often in direct communication with the client, keeping them up to date on the team’s progress. It is the project manager’s responsibility to remind designers, developers, and testers to stick to the anticipated timeframe of the project.
Designers conduct research on how to make the product as appealing as possible to users. They think of everything from the user’s perspective: does the functionality of the website or app make it easy to use? Is it pleasant and reliable?
Designers create the user interface: appealing-looking icons and buttons, typography and color schemes, spacing, imagery, and so on. They are the mastermind behind the overall aesthetic of the product.
Software developers write the source code of your project. There are many programming languages - Java, Python, PHP, Swift, Ruby, and C# are just a few examples of the most popular programming languages today - so the kind of developer you need varies by project.
A backend developer builds the server and the database where all user information is stored for websites and apps. They use server-side programming languages such as PHP, Ruby, Python, Java, and .Net.
A full stack developer can develop both client- and server-side software, making them a versatile addition to your team.
Larger teams usually have a mix of junior, middle, and senior developers working together on delegated tasks.
The QA (quality assurance) tester’s job is to find all of the bugs in the software developer’s code during the development process. They do this by using the website or app, reporting any glitches or any other hiccups in the user interface they encounter. Due to the nature of their work, QA testers work in close communication with software developers.
A DevOps engineer supports software developers during the development process by providing new additions to the team access to the server and any other resources they may need. After a launch, their job is to maintain the product life cycle, providing any necessary technical support.
Software Development Team Methodology
You might be wondering how to manage a team with so many roles. Don’t worry, there are several proven frameworks that can help your team work efficiently.
Which one you choose depends on the size of your team and how you want to manage expectations with your software development team.
The Agile Manifesto is a philosophy for software developers to become more flexible, hardworking, and prioritize the needs of the client. It states: “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.” This is achieved by following a variety of frameworks, or sometimes even mix and matching from a few to suit your workflow efficiency. Two of the most popular frameworks for managing a software development team are Kanban and Scrum.
Scrum methodology compels team members to set their goals to a time frame (known as “sprints”) of 1-2 weeks and complete them. The time frame can be longer, but usually no longer than 1 month. Progress is assessed during the daily scrum meeting, which is usually 15 minutes long. At the end of a sprint team members conduct a ‘sprint review’ with the client (such as presenting a demo). Following the ‘sprint review’ is a ‘sprint retrospective’ among team members that assess their performance and how they can improve during future sprints.
The key factor to understanding the Scrum framework is that your team’s goals should constantly change and develop. This goes in line with the reality of a customer’s ever-changing needs, empowering your team to be ready for anything.
Scrum methodology works best for a team of no more than 10 people who have to work on a lot of complex tasks. If you have a large project that requires a lot of planning and marking progress, this is the framework for you.
Kanban is a framework that allows you to be transparent about every step in a team member’s workflow.
A Kanban board - which can be physical or digital - allows team members to visualize each step that must be taken to complete a task. The amount of steps depends on the specificities of your project, but the three most basic ones are 1) to-do 2) in progress and 3) done. Visualizing tasks not only allows for greater transparency among team members but creates a work environment that allows you to multitask, ultimately making you more productive.
Unlike the Scrum methodology, Kanban does not break tasks down into “sprints”. It is less focused on time frames and more on visualizing tasks. This framework is more useful for smaller, easily-managed projects.
Waterfall framework structures tasks into 5-7 linear sequential phases: documentation, design, implementation, verification, and maintenance. You can only move onto the next phase when the previous one is reviewed and completed.
Unlike Scrum and Kanban, this framework limits customer involvement. They usually have two meetings with the client, one at the beginning and one at the end of the project. Naturally, this can lead to problems with customer satisfaction later on. You might want to consider using the waterfall framework only if you have a small, easily-managed project.
Build Your Perfect Team With Grid Dynamics
Grid Dynamics is a digital-native technology services provider that accelerates growth and bolsters competitive advantage for Fortune 1000 companies. The company has 15+ years of experience in digital transformation and software innovation, most notably open source cloud-native programs.
Our clients have the option of choosing the engagement model which best suits their requirements, including team extension, dedicated teams, pod teams, and remote development centers. Grid Dynamics has offices throughout Eastern Europe and Central Europe and Latin America, meaning that we have the resources to cater to the needs of companies of any size, no matter where they are located.
Whether you need a large or small software development team, we can help you find the best candidates that will make your project a reality. Contact us today and learn more!