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How to Create an Effective Software Development Team for Your Project

An effective software development team is among the core factors that will drive success in your next project. 

Common goals, the right team structure, optimum size, clear responsibilities, smooth communication, and robust work processes are key ingredients of such a team. Take care of these areas, and you’ll enjoy a seamless experience as your project sails from the planning phase to the end-product.

This 10 min read will help you better understand the people behind an agile software development team.

What are the different kinds of teams in software development?

different kinds of teams in software development | Laneways.Agency

There are three common structures that you can follow when creating your development teams: generalists, specialists, and hybrid. When settling for one, make sure you’ve considered your project’s budget, time, and complexity.

Generalist

This development team structure is suitable for end-to-end projects with tight schedules but moderate complexity. It favors projects that use purely agile methodologies (Kanban, Extreme Programming, and Scrum).

Pros

• Quick delivery since it doesn’t limit each member’s responsibilities to one area

• Concentrate on improving the project as a whole

Cons

• Lack of in-depth knowledge may slow things down

• May need to outsource a part of the project mid-way, or on-board a new member with necessary skills

Specialist

Are you handling a complex project in a military, medical, or similar setups? You may need to create specialist teams where each member has deep technical expertise in a specific area.

Pros

• High-quality modules

• Members produce quicker results at narrow tasks

Cons

• High probability of communication gaps

• Risk of developing components that aren’t compatible with the final product

Hybrid

Your complex agile project may reap the best of both worlds; with the generalists’ flexibility for quick delivery, you can inject the specialists’ expertise to take care of a challenging section with an in-house project.

Pros

• Rewards you with both specialists who build separate components and generalists who help integrate the whole system

• The maximally effective development process

Cons

• Difficult to establish work processes and coordinate team members

• Time-consuming

• Expensive

Who are the members of the software development team?

members of the software development team | Laneways.Agency

While teams differ when it comes to their unique work ecosystem, responsibilities, and style, there are some common software development team roles and responsibilities that you can establish.

Product Owner

For outsourced projects, a project owner is a client business bearing the vision of the product, its end-users, and its performance. The product owner is the person responsible for:

• Initiating the software development project

• Providing product strategy and vision

• Signing off key milestones

Project Manager

Product or project managers lead and manage the whole team, plan, and execute the project. These people are responsible for:

• Overseeing the processes

• Building relationships among stakeholders and with the client business

• Delegating tasks among team players

• Making sure every member stays on track

Software Architect

This person is a skilled software developer whose key role is to think through all the project’s aspects to:

• make high-level product design choices, and

• select appropriate technical standards, such as deciding on the technology stack for the project.

Front-End and Back-End Developers

The task of actual coding falls on the hands of these people. A front-end developer is responsible for taking care of those elements that face the product’s users. In contrast, the back-end developer works on its functionality and features that are not visible to the end-user.

A developer:

• Develops the features of a product

• Implements change requirements and suggestions

UX Designer

User Experience (UX) designers establish the way end-users will be interacting with the software. These concentrate on the usability and functionality of the product.

• Design user interface and other features that fulfill business goals

• Make sure the features solve the problems of the end-user

• Support developers

Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer

This person tests the product at intermediate stages and at the end. They are the editors who pay keen attention to finer details.

• Ensure the software performs well

• Ensure it meets the client requirements and quality standards

• Detect bugs and errors early on and alert the developers to fix

• Advise any possible future errors

Business Analyst

A business analyst is a person tasked with determining how the team can improve the product. How do they do this?

• Interact with the client to uncover their needs and problems

• Document and analyze problems

• Find the best solution and present it to the project manager and other stakeholders team

Determining the Size of Your Software Development Team

building an effective software development team | Laneways.Agency

When it comes to the size of your dream project team, there isn’t a magical number. While it’s easier to manage agile and smaller development teams, you can’t afford to lose any developers or any member as each of them plays a crucial role in achieving the overall objectives. On the other hand, bigger teams come with communication breakdowns and hindrances.

So, the main things a scrum master or manager should consider when assembling a team include:

• The set timeline

• The available resources

• Your project scope and complexity

• Project costs

It’s common to find one team with 7 members to be a perfect fit. A range of between 3 and 9 members for one project team is still okay.

If your development project demands a bigger team, make sure you’ve established smooth management and proper business communications.

Key Characteristics of an Effective Software Development Team

From our discussion so far, we can deduce what exactly constitutes an effective team:

Excellent communication

Regardless of the industry, communication plays a massive role in determining the success of any team. If your team is large, employ the necessary processes and tools for regular and seamless communication among members.

Common goals

Set clear goals and create an environment where each member perceives the team’s success as their own. You’ll most likely achieve more when you encourage a shared mission rather than a strict top-down structure.

• Clearly defined roles

As a manager who fosters a shared mission and common goals, ensure each team member knows their exact roles and responsibilities. They should be responsible and accountable to each other so that the whole project becomes a big success.

Strong culture

A team whose members enjoy spending time together can deal with any task at hand seamlessly. To create such a team, develop a culture of professional bonds where members respect and support each other, regardless of job positions.

• Less supervision and control

Top-down management, together with its bureaucracy, is paving the way for scrum and agile teams with a shared vision and common goals in most industries. Members should not wait for orders from the manager to get to work. Less control by the manager reduces time wastage and encourages innovativeness.

How can you create work processes that enhance productivity?

How can you create work processes that enhance productivity? | Effective Software Development Team | Laneways.Agency

Professional management, documentation, interaction, and conflict resolution practices will save you a lot of headaches when you finally get down to work.

Project management software

A suitable project management software automates repetitive processes and routine tasks, allowing you to set pre-determined actions for quick completion of these tasks.

Also, with the software, every team member can see how their roles are related to each other and the end-goals. Therefore, it fosters a sense of ownership and adherence to the development process.

Some of the great tools you can use include Monday, Backlog, Nintex, Wrike, and Teamwork Projects.

Updated documentation

Keep your development team on the right track by documenting current and relevant activities of the on-going project. Record the set standards and what you discuss in meetings to ensure consistency of work.

You can boost real-time collaboration, document storage, and filtering using knowledge management software. The software also ensures any member added midway could track the progress and get down to work quickly.

Zoho WorkDrive, Templafy, SharePoint, and Atlassian Confluence are some of the tools that can make your documentation a breeze.

Communication apps

You don’t want sluggish emails and work comments to slow down the process. So in these channels’ mix, throw in a variety of collaborative and instant messaging apps.

Also, encourage frequent offline interactions among team members to increase your development team’s efficiency and establish a culture that’s based on trust. Fill up communication gaps by conducting project briefings and open discussions.

Fleep, Zoho Cliq, Rocket. Chat, Slack, and Flock are some of the tools that will allow your team members to share their concerns and ideas on the fly.

Conflict resolution policy

No development team can ever be perfect, as conflicts tend to arise at the least expected time. However, with the proper instructions on how to solve them, you can easily prevent them from escalating and derailing the project.

Create a conflict resolution guidebook that should document the contact process, escalation priority levels, communication channels, and the resolution time frames.

Conclusion

When creating your agile software development team, choose a team structure and size that will fit your specific project well. Establish your software development team roles, common goals, reliable work processes, and encourage a shared mission that boosts effective communication and trust.

With the best team and the right tools, you can bring your business at a competitive edge. If you need solution to custom software development, consider Laneways.Agency Software Development Company. 

We build custom software with modern solutions in mind for any business and sizes!