How To Build the Optimal Software Development Team Structure Post
Finding the optimal software development team structure will help you more than you know.
With new technology popping up every day, it’s easy to adopt the mindset of a consumer. You start thinking about life in terms of products rather than people.
In business especially, it’s only natural to pay attention to the numbers instead of who’s producing the numbers.
But in software development, your team will ultimately determine the success of your business.
And to make sure you and your team are on the right track, you must find the ideal software development team structure for business growth.
Follow along to learn more about how you can build the optimal software development team structure. Keep reading!
Identify Key Factors in Building a Software Development Team
There are several key factors you should identify before building a software development team. This will all play a part in how your software development team structure will look in the end.
Complexity of Project
First and foremost, you must determine the complexity of your project. A notes app, for example, has a simple function.
Sure, you could fill it to the brim with a bunch of neat features. But at its base level, an app of this kind would not require a full-fledged software development team.
In fact, you’d probably only need one software developer to work on the project or no more than four dedicated developers.
On the other hand, if you’re building something more complex, there are much more resources that you’ll want to account for.
A complex app might have multiple third-party integrations and require lots of business logic and data manipulation.
For instance, a project management system or a mobile game, is a complex enough product to require several specialists, from front-end developers to security engineers.
Scope of Project
You also want to understand what stage of development your project is in because this will affect your overall software development team structure.
In general, there are three major stages of development: proof of concept, MVP development, and product development.
▶ Proof of Concept
The proof of concept stage, also known as the discovery stage, consists of documentation and evidence to demonstrate the feasibility of an idea.
In the software development industry, this often looks like gathering market research to see just how well similar products have performed compared to what you have in mind.
In addition to marketability, market readiness depends on your potential product’s:
- Target demographic, or how likely intended users are to adopt your software
- Necessity, or ability to address pain points
- Functionality, or your team’s capacity to make the product function as intended
- Tech stack, or what technologies the team will use in development
The minimum viable product (MVP) is a test of your product’s viability in the live market.
It describes a specific development technique where you introduce the product to the market with only its most basic features.
Once the product starts getting attention from consumers, you can collect feedback and assess for future changes.
▶ Product Development
The product development stage will be your most time-consuming.
Now, your developers are punching code into machines and awaiting the results of their efforts.
Depending on the complexity of your project, you could be pouring blood, sweat, and tears into this project for months at a time.
No doubt budget will affect each and every factor in optimizing a software development team structure.
Many software development technologies are free and open-source. But software developers with great talent do not come cheap.
Some companies choose to hire remote software developers to offset the cost of physical infrastructure.
As a bonus, remote developers would mean greater access to global talent. And global talent has much to offer.
India is a popular country for outsourcing software development. Eastern Europan countries like Ukraine have free reign in the industry too.
For all that, offshore software development knows no boundaries. Brazil, for example, is leading the educational sector for software development and information technology.
Yet, outsourcing costs in the Latin American region remain low due to economic differences.
In short, financially savvy businesses can still make ends meet while hiring qualified software engineers.
Meeting deadlines is a point of contention itself within the software development industry.
Software development teams certainly don’t lie about their capacity to build a product.
That said, delays and bottlenecks tend to materialize in thin air; and no one ever sees them coming.
Project management encompasses the role of overseeing a team and seeing to it that the project is finished on time and on budget.
While you can quantify cost and time, the performance of a team — though visible in metrics — is rarely cut and dry.
For instance, software developers do their best work when they share the same motivations as the businesses they work with.
Ergo, keeping software developers motivated should be a priority. In spite of deadlines, keeping things flexible and setting realistic goals is crucial to motivating software developers.
Creating an open line of communication is similarly essential. Even if a developer isn’t able to reach a deadline, they probably have a good reason.
Being able to talk to supervisors about a problem without hesitation is indicative of a positive work environment.
To add, many software development team structures involve remote work. And managing a remote team is bound to get difficult.
Use a variety of tools to get everyone on the same page and hold regular check-in meetings.
Altogether, ensure that communication and empathy are key values within your software development team to guarantee success.
The resources you need for software development can range from office space to having insider knowledge.
Still, there are three vital elements that every software project needs:
▶ Human Resources
Once again, people over products. Finding the optimal software development team structure begins and ends with people.
Analyze the skill sets and specialties of applicants during the hiring process and assign them to the roles that fit best.
Building a successful software development team means not only zeroing in on the technical skills of a job candidate but evaluating and cultivating soft skills as well.
▶ Reusable Components
Reusability is an integral concept in software engineering which stresses the importance of using existing assets during the software development process.
Code reuse has been an efficient practice to transcend the test of time. Without question, this tried-and-true technique has sped up the software development lifecycle for ages.
Besides code, you should always look to reuse the assets you already have to better manage your budget.
Whether it’s documentation, technology, or templates — all are great candidates for reuse.
▶ Hardware & Software Tools
These are the material resources you need for your project.
You should plan out what hardware and software tools you’ll be using before starting development. Otherwise, you’re sure to run into issues.
Hardware provides a platform of support for the software tools your team will inevitably be using.
Make sure that your software development team structure accounts for what hardware and software each team member needs and when they need it.
Size of Team
The size of your team is extremely variable, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
For product development, the Scrum methodology insists that the perfect team size is seven members and under.
The creator of Scrum Jeff Sutherland found through investigative research that teams with six members took nearly a year to get the job done.
Adversely, teams with 10 members delayed the project another six months.
However, the most productive teams split into subgroups of seven members or less.
Of course, the type of project you’re working on plays a large role in team size too.
For proof of concept, you may not even need actual software engineers. But you will need up to five specialists.
This team would include the product owner, project manager, business analysts, software architect, and a UI/UX designer.
When it comes to developing your MVP, you’d need at least six specialists, with the addition of software engineers and test engineers.
In product development, agile methodologies enforce having no more than 10 people per team.
And you can choose to bring in DevOps engineers, security engineers, test automation engineers, and performance engineers, at this point.
More important than team size, is building cross-functional, self-managing agile software development teams that are nimble and collaborative.
Define Your Software Development Team Structure
There are three common ways to structure a software development team.
The structures in question are designed to be elastic and accommodate an Agile approach to development.
Generalist teams include developers who are keen on multi-tasking and can generally do anything.
They wear several hats, not focusing on any one software (like PHP or Go).
Generalists can also be full stack developers who are capable of working on both the back-end and front-end of a software project.
The drawback is that if a certain project requires a high level of specialization, a team of generalists might not have the skill set required.
Specialists stick to one technology for the majority of their professional careers.
The clear advantage of being a specialist software engineer is that over time specialists become experts in the platform, framework, or language that they specialize in.
On the other hand, the major con of having specialists on your team is that they do not have much of an understanding of other team roles.
This makes communication between other team members cumbersome.
You won’t be shocked to hear that hybrid teams combine the best of both worlds.
In a hybrid team, specialists work on functional parts, and generalists focus on communication and collaboration within the team.
The only downfall here is that it is harder to acquire a team of this kind. You need more time and money to make it happen, which isn’t always readily available.
Establish Software Development Team Roles
It’s a common misconception that a software development team only includes software developers.
In reality, there are numerous roles on a software development team. Take a look below.
The product owner represents the needs of stakeholders and communicates the product goal.
As a result, they should have the answers to the grand majority of questions the team has.
Product owners manage and optimize the product backlog by internalizing the clearest vision of the final product.
The account manager fosters communication between the client and your business.
They tend to be versatile in their role. For example, they might wish a client “Happy Birthday” or give them an update about the project.
Client satisfaction is the chief key performance indicator for account managers.
Known as the scrum master on some teams, the project manager (PM) mediates the software development process.
Project managers act as a liaison between the team and the product owner, serving the best interests of the official project deadline.
They eye the workflow like a hawk, keeping everyone on task. And prevent further disruptions in the workflow when they do occur.
This title goes under many names, including but not limited to, information architects, user-pleasers, product designers, and experience designers.
But user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) appropriately describe the relationship UI/UX designers have with the product.
Essentially, they curate the look and feel of your application so that users can thoroughly enjoy using your product.
In doing this, they collect market research and user interviews to develop a product with end-users in mind.
Software architects are software development experts who make high-level design choices and set the technical standards for the entire project.
They may be developers themselves, but the role they occupy carries more responsibility than the typical developer.
It should come as no surprise that developers are a quintessential component in building the optimal software development team structure.
Sometimes called product engineers, these team members apply their software engineering skills to product development, programming the application based on project requirements.
Developers can be front-end, back-end, or full stack.
DevOps engineers tackle all the logistical issues you may experience after releasing your application.
Your application needs to perform for users 24/7. To maintain its accessibility, the product must be able to respond well to sudden spikes in user activity or upcoming upgrades.
DevOps specialists also account for how much it will cost to maintain your app, given all these considerations.
Software quality assurance (SQA) is critical to your product’s success.
Testing is an SQA fundamental that insures the product works in the first place.
But quality assurance also relies on a set of standards like functionality and maintainability.
QA engineers test the product and manage its quality prior to release.
The job of the business analyst is to tell you what more you can do to create a great product.
They consult with stakeholders and listen to their concerns. Then, business analysts document and analyze common pain points to come up with a solution.
Security engineers keep your security systems up and running. As the first line of defense against unauthorized access to private data, their job is mostly pinpointing potential threats.
They will test and screen security software and implement new security features when possible to protect you from vulnerabilities.
Build a Great Software Development Team
Building a great software development team starts with hacking your software development team structure.
There are much more puzzle pieces to software development than most people care to know. But for you and your business, it’s imperative that you get things right.
Looking to hire some specialists for your software development team? Look no further.
Trio has a full team of highly skilled software developers that can build your software product without you having to lift a finger.
We’re also equipped with the administrative and managerial human resources required to complement and balance your ideal software development team structure.
Contact Trio now to learn more about how we can help!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re looking for some information, but can’t find it here, please contact us.Go to FAQ
A software development team structure is a means or organizing the team members for a software project.
Key factors in building a software development team include the budget, deadlines, resources, team size, and the complexity and scope of the project.
You can start building a software development team structure by deciding if you want a specialist, generalist, or hybrid team of specialists..