A Complete Guide to Building a Strong Software Development Team
Are you looking for an effective way to manage your business? A reliable software development team is the perfect solution for any startup founder.
The demand for qualified software developers increases every day. Thus, according to ‘Statista,’ by 2024, the number of developers is expected to rise from 23.9 to 28.7 million people. To make the right decisions, you need to know everything about the software development team’s roles and responsibilities.
This guide will help you to understand the crucial aspects of software development management. Read on to get answers to the following questions:
- What is the difference between in-house, remote, and dedicated software development teams?
- What is the ideal size of a software development team?
- How to delegate effectively within a team?
- How to build an efficient software development team?
- Which tricks are necessary to use in order to boost the team members' engagement?
Read this guidebook to discover how to build a successful team and define the right goals for your software development team.
In-House vs Remote vs Dedicated Team
The Coronavirus situation has immensely influenced the global market. Since 2019, more and more companies have started to conduct work remotely. This "new reality" has also resulted in the rapid growth of IT outsourcing, which is expected to reach $413.7 billion by the end of 2021. Moreover, around 60% of businesses worldwide will increase their outsourcing efforts soon.
Want to build an effective software development team that will comply with your business goals? Compare various software outsourcing business models, taking into account their pros and cons. These details will help you identify an outsourcing business model that will meet your expectations.
What Is an ‘In-House Team?’
An in-house software development team model is popular among big companies. Apple, Amazon, eBay, PayPal, HP, and other IT giants opt for it, which indicates its relevance. The main idea of the in-house team is to use an internal team for managing and working on the project. Using this approach requires significant trust within the company and a seamless team structure, which is crucial for any business.
Many projects opt for an in-house software development team model. But today, it's more cost-effective to prefer outsourcing software development. This allows you to optimise your business processes and cut your costs.
‘In-House Team’ is a great option for:
- IT companies with many resources and extensive tasks.
- Businesses with an unlimited budget for software development.
- Creating robust and long-term company strategy and culture.
- Product(s) that require regular updates and optimisation.
- Companies with a dedicated budget to the local workforce, office rent, etc.
- Strong company culture.
- High cybersecurity level.
- High standards of employees’ expertise.
- High costs on employees’ salaries, office rents, software licenses, etc.
- The possibility of high staff turnover.
- The lack of versatility.
- Increased chances of workflow interruption due to abrupt sick leaves and vacations.
What Is a ‘Remote Team?’
A remote outsourcing software development model encourages hiring distant experts, locally or worldwide. The remote development team is perfect for projects with a clear scope and deadlines. This model is used by many large companies, such as: Automattic, Google, Slack, Toddl, and others. Yet, you ought to consider that you'll need specific knowledge and experience to manage remote workers.
‘Remote Teams’ is a great option for:
- IT companies with specific, short-term priority tasks.
- Companies that don’t deal with software development.
- Projects with fixed requirements and deadlines.
- Gaining significant experience and expertise.
- Implementing new ideas and innovations.
- No necessity to manage the team.
- Opportunity to find more talented experts.
- Increased productivity and speed.
- Higher security risks.
- Limitations and inflexibility.
- The lack of control above employees.
What Is a ‘Dedicated Team?’
The third type of software outsourcing is a dedicated development team. This software development model combines the traits of the in-house and remote units. It allows for hiring experts, using a provider's help, making it perfect for achieving long-term goals. The dedicated software development team is used by large projects with a critical focus on lasting growth.
‘Dedicated Team’ is a great option for:
- All types of companies, whether they have experience in software development or not.
- A project with flexible scope, deadlines, and budget.
- Rapid team scaling and expanding.
- Engaging very specialised experts.
- Great focus on a project's processes.
- High level of positive company culture and cohesion.
- Good progress visibility and clarity.
- Possible issues with security management.
- Not compatible for short-term projects.
- Professional skills stagnation.
Main Roles and Responsibilities
Building a reliable software development team might be pretty challenging, and if you don't know what to focus your attention on, you might need some help.
It's not enough to hire IT experts and delegate the project's responsibilities. You have to make a proper analysis, and learn many details before creating a cohesive team. But first, take a look at the project team roles and responsibilities within software development.
Start with gathering information about the potential leader of the group. The team lead roles and responsibilities in software development should include:
- Become an excellent example for other experts in the company.
- Motivate and encourage the team members to improve their skills and expertise.
- Encourage the professional development of the team.
- Always be in touch and give honest feedback to people in the unit.
- Build excellent relationships with clients.
- Be mindful of the emotional climate within a group.
To be a good leader, you should understand the following things:
- Company goals.
- Technical aspects of product development.
- Ways of supporting and uplifting the team's spirit.
While creating a mobile app or launching a startup project, the team lead faces many issues. But it's crucial to keep the company functioning smoothly, no matter what.
The talents in the software development team include the following:
- Product Owner — has a clear understanding of business and product insights. This person can make your ideas look more technical.
- Software Development Manager (Project Manager) — deals with planning the project and its implementation. The Project Manager is also responsible for monitoring the workflow within a team.
- Tech Lead — performs one of the most critical SDLC roles and responsibilities. This expert handles the technical part of the workflow.
- Scrum Master — a person who helps you to manage various business processes properly.
- Software Architect — a development expert who enforces technical software standards. He also decides on the internal arrangement and external interface.
- Front-end/Back-end/Full-stack Developers — these are team members whose application developer roles and responsibilities lie in building and designing software.
- UI/UX Designer — this is another talent you will need while creating a startup or digital project. This person handles designing interfaces that provide the best user experience.
- Business Analyst — this is another member of the software development team. He makes a detailed analysis of a client’s needs to devise solutions for improving the quality of digital products.
- Quality Assurance Engineer — deals with software quality verification to fix the existing bugs.
Thus, all developmental team members have different software developer roles and responsibilities. However, the most critical role belongs to the team lead. Whether you have an in-house, dedicated, or remote team, there is one way to gain success in your niche — you should prioritise the team lead’s responsibilities in software development.
Software Development Team Structure
The success of your product development depends on your software development team members. If you intend to build a strong startup, you should properly design your development team structure. This will help you to achieve the best results. This guide will show you the crucial things you must consider when looking for experts. This is how you can hire the most responsive, talented, and professional members a software development team could have.
What Is an Optimal Team Size?
The size of the team is usually defined by the project’s scope, budget, and available resources. But, consider that smaller teams can focus on specific project needs. So, they are more likely to bring expected results faster.
When you manage a large company, it can be challenging to chat with all of the members in a meaningful way. But there is a way to ease the management of the software product development team structure. Separate the group into smaller autonomous teams with cross-functional connections.
According to the ‘Scrum Guide,’ the most efficient and productive teams consist of 3–9 members. Such groups can perform tasks separately and are easy to restructure. As well as that, they don't face workflow issues, making them perfect for IT companies.
Define the Kind of Development Team Type That Fits for Your Project
After you review the optimal team size, it's time to define the kind of software development team required for your company. Here are the details of each product development team type. Dive into them before picking the most appropriate option.
Generalists are experts who have knowledge and expertise in different IT areas. Such development teams can deal with all project aspects, thus providing end-to-end solutions to every issue. Generalists boast many advantages. But at the same time, if you have a project with specific requirements, you might need more narrowly specialised experts.
This product development team structure consists of experts with expertise in a particular area. A specialists' team has many advantages, including the fast solving of various issues. But there is also one weakness in such a structure: poor communication within a team. The experts in your group may not find common ground on some matters. In this case, you can expect less efficient decisions.
Does your project need versatile and narrowly specialized experts? Then this product development team structure is exactly what you need. The hybrid team involves both specialists and generalists. The first focuses on functional aspects of the project, while the second handles cooperation within a group. This type of software development team is considered the most effective, but it is costly. It requires a lot of time and effort to find and gather the best fit experts.
What Team Structure Could Be?
A good product development organisational structure is not only made up of a group of excellent talents. To effectively develop your products or services, you should also ensure an efficient workflow. Thus, each team member will understand their own duties and area of responsibility. Check the following product development organisational models to pick the most appropriate option.
One Team For Everything
A one-team model is perfect for small companies and projects. Such teams have relatively clear intentions and differ only in terms of having a clear structure. Another advantage is that they are easy to control. The one-team model works for both ‘Agile’ and ‘Waterfall SDLC’ approaches. It allows you to make small and big product releases at any given time.
If you need to solve an issue, you don't have to request help from a particular specialist or department. This model doesn't require splitting the team, and you can bring all the members together. Thus, you'll be able to ensure the smooth operation of all the specialists within a project.
As for its weaknesses, the one-team software development model won't be adequate for big companies. It allows you to assign only one group per task, which might be intolerable. Thus, if you plan to create a large team, it will be hard to manage all the experts at once using this model.
Check out how a ‘One Team Software Development Structure’ may look like:
This type of software product development team structure can be helpful for large companies that are unable to manage one big team. The goal-focused squads also enable you to work on several smaller projects at once. Thus, you don't have to suspend the workflow to solve concrete issues. Each group of your team will be familiar with the project details that belong to their own field of responsibilities. This will ease the whole software development process.
Consider that every department may perform at its own working pace. This may influence the work of the remaining groups, so you should control and coordinate all the processes within a company accordingly. Yet, this will help you stick to the general deadlines and product requirements.
You should also take into consideration that this model is suitable for the ‘Agile’ approach. Thus, your team can become more purposeful and effective.
Here's how a ‘Goal-Focused Squads Software Development Team’ may look like:
What Is an Agile Team?
Want your project to be adaptable and flexible to unforeseen changes? Follow the Agile methodology. This formula of building software allows you to avoid common mistakes and speeds up the workflow. But, before you decide on the agile software development team, you need to analyse its two types:
- Scrum methodology.
- Kanban methodology.
Scrum team structure implies splitting a large project into smaller sprints. Usually, such working sections last from a few weeks to months. Such structure will help your team improve work speed and efficiency — but only if you include a Scrum master in your software development team. Such experts will observe the team and ensure it sticks to the planned actions.
Kanban methodology implies full work transparency. This means you can observe and manage all the working processes in real-time. This framework is based on visualisation. Thus, the team will always have an idea of the project's current status. Moreover, Kanban showcases different blocks and bugs that slow down product development. Plus, it suggests the best possible solutions.
Who Should Be in Your Team?
Before you start hiring for your project, ask yourself a question: "Who is in charge of software application development teams?" If you are a product owner, it's your responsibility to find an expert project manager to develop your digital product or service. But having an appropriate software development manager is not enough. To build a strong team, you also have to find specialists with great communication skills.
Start with hiring a project manager, the key position for every project. Then proceed with choosing other specialists, including:
- UI/UX designer;
- One or two front-end developers;
- Several back-end developers;
- A QA expert.
The complete software development team hierarchy was previously described within this guide. Check out the detailed description of each talent to define whether you need a particular expert or not. Pay attention to their roles within a company. If you plan to create several software development squads, appoint the head of each subteam (team leads). Thus, you can control the whole group more effectively.
How to Build a Software Development Team
You can't build a successful project without a strong team, a well-designed workflow, and great communication. If you follow all these conditions, you can expect an excellent result and a good profit. But there is one thing you should do before you start organising the work process. Learn how to build a software development team and proceed with solving other essential points regarding your project. Follow the tips mentioned in this guide to stand out among competitors. This will help you launch a project that will draw potential customers' attention.
Step-by-Step Guide on Selecting Expert Team Members
Do you have no idea how to establish an effective developmental team from scratch? The overall procedure is similar to the regular recruitment process. However, there are still some differences. Use the following step-by-step guide to discover all the nuances before hiring experts.
Before you hire people for your project, you should perform a proper company analysis. Ensure they provide you with reliable details about their specialists' expertise. Browse the Internet to find the top ten companies you want to cooperate with.
Send Out Your Requests to the Chosen Companies
After you pick the most appropriate companies, it's time to proceed with collaboration. Send out your requests to them with all the requirements. This will help them get familiar with your project goals.
Discuss and Agree on the Selection Process
Every company has its own hiring requirements. Discuss them with the account manager to define a way to find the best developers for your project. Convey your thoughts very clearly so that the recruiting specialist can find the right candidates for you.
Schedule and Conduct the Interviews
After you select the potential employees, it's time to schedule the interviews. Prepare the questions and technical tasks to check the skills of the candidates. Don't plan too many interviews in one day. Focus on each expert for 30 minutes in order to make a final decision about his or her candidacy.
Evaluate the Results
Take notes after each interview to compare opinions about each candidate. Look through the technical tasks to get an understanding of the applicants' expertise. If you are still hesitant about certain candidates, feel free to ask for another interview or technical task to be assessed.
Choose an Expert
To launch a popular, innovative product or service, you have to gather motivated and resourceful specialists. Think of your employees as valuable assets when considering how best to manage developers. Choose among the selected candidates in person during the interview.
There are several qualities you should pay attention to when picking potential specialists, such as:
- Excellent organisational skills.
- The ability to be a team player.
Launching a project can be followed by risks, setbacks, and other problems. To build a strong company, you should find specialists who will be committed to the workforce. Then you will be able to trust your team members and rely on their devotion to the project.
Respond to All the Other Companies
Once you find the appropriate specialists, you need to inform other companies. Send out emails to maintain a good reputation in case you will work with these companies again in the future. Try to give feedback to the candidates within a week.
Tips for Building a Successful Software Development Team
If you managed to gather a team of prominent IT experts, you also can't do without an experienced manager. Technical background is a great advantage, but excellent managing skills are a necessity. This is not the only point to consider when building a software development team. Check out our top 13 viable tips on creating an efficient structure with less effort and costs.
Find an Experienced Project Manager or Become the One
The first step in assembling a project team is to find a professional Project Manager who can create effective cooperation within a team. To select a suitable candidate, you can ask a person the following questions:
- Can he or she lead by example?
- Is he or she a patient and compassionate leader who knows how to guide a team to success?
- Does he or she have all the skills and knowledge necessary to deliver the expected results?
If you think that no one will manage the team better than you, you should consider leading your project. Do everything possible to become the best example for all the group members. Thus, you can create the most efficient software development team.
Guide the Whole Team on Joint Projects
Do you want to know what the first thing is that you should do when creating a product development team? Set strong emphasis on coordination and effective communication within a group. To enforce this goal, you should get to know all team members. Thereafter, establish daily or weekly meetings for managing the workflow. Thus, you can influence the group's work and track the general and individual progress made.
Focus on the Candidates' Skills and Knowledge
Some experts may provide you with certifications to prove their working experience. But if you want to hire real specialists, you should focus on the person's knowledge and expertise, not certificates. Otherwise, you risk adding inexperienced members to your team.
Look for Professionals with Excellent Communication Skills
Good management is not the only thing the team needs. Every product development team requires specialists with excellent communication skills. Ensure you hire experts who can listen and follow your requirements to get a good result. Professional team members should always be available. This will allow you to reach them at any time.
Set Clear Goals to All Members of Your Software Team
To get the expected results, you should set clear goals for all team members. Inform your specialists of all the crucial details relating to software development. Consider if your company may hire new experts during the project, in which case the goals must be public knowledge within the team.
Get an Idea About the Skills of Your Team
Effective software development management is not just setting precise current and long-term objectives. A professional manager should get to know the particular skills of every team member. This is the only way to divide the responsibilities of project tasks effectively. There is no need to be an expert in everything your specialists perform. Gain an overview of the skills required for your project, and entrust duties to specialists according to their skillsets.
Allow Your Team to Make Their Own Decisions
The more autonomous your team members are, the more efficient your workflow will be. Allow your managers to take responsibility for their decisions relating to the project. Encourage your specialists to take more initiative. This will showcase their interest in your products or services. Leave yourself more time to deal with other critical business issues.
Set an Excellent Example for Your Developers
If you expect your team members to stick to deadlines and meet all the project requirements, you must become an excellent example for them. Come to meetings on time, no matter whether they are held online or in the office. Plan your workflow and discuss the software development details with your team to integrate what is necessary. Thus, you can build trust within your team and create a strong positive company culture.
Be Consistent in Your Software Development Management
Predictability is a good trait for an excellent software team manager. Try to be consistent about all the operational issues. This also enables your team members to understand how to discuss a specific problem with you. The workflow sequence is also a significant advantage. It helps to develop trust between you and the hired experts.
Explain Your Project Decisions
Showcase to your team that their opinion is crucial to you by explaining your decisions. Consider the questions experts may have, and answer them in detail. Therefore, even if most of your team disagrees with you, experts will listen to your recommendations more willingly.
Be Accessible and Interact with Your Team and Clients
Leading a software development team is not as easy as some people might think. It requires daily communication within a group to ensure a successful workflow. Provide an opportunity for anyone who cares to interact with you to discuss issues relating to product development. Launch a public channel for the whole team and make it easy for your experts to contact you during working hours.
Adapt the Product Information to Different Departments
Your software development team will consist of different subteams with specific goals and responsibilities. To ensure efficient cooperation within the company, you should adapt the project details to various departments. This enables each team member to have a clear understanding of his or her responsibilities, thus eliminating misunderstandings relating to product development.
Provide All the Necessary Context
When setting goals and assigning responsibilities to experts in your team, you should provide as much context as possible. These details can make the workflow more effective and productive. Moreover, it saves specialists a lot of time. As a result, your software development team members will understand what they need to do more fully.
Building a software development team can be challenging if it's new to you. Still, it doesn't mean you can't gather experts who share the same goals and are on the same page as you. Follow the tips mentioned in this guide to find the most reliable and responsive specialists with good experience in your niche.