A Detailed Guide on Software Development Team Structure

Have a unique software development idea? Want to convert it into reality?

You need a software development team to build a scalable software solution.

If you are a non-technical product owner kickstarting the first IT project, it is likely to get confused about:

  • The right software development team structure
  • How to assemble the team
  • Designations, roles, and responsibilities
  • Organize development team’s workflow

Whether you want to build an in-house team of developers or develop scalable software or a cloud service, you need an efficient software development team to bring your idea to life.

Being one of the leading tailored software development agencies, we know the importance of a software development team and how they help to build futuristic software solutions. Based on industry standards and knowledge, we have compiled a detailed guide to help you find the right software development team hierarchy for your ingenious software ideas.

Before understanding the team structure for software development, let’s first understand why right software development team is necessary for your business.

Importance of the Right Software Development Teams

Software development team is one of the important factors for your project’s success. But, what makes a right software development team?

Here are some of the pointers that you need to know:

  • A skilled, responsible and experienced team lays the foundation for the product’s success.
  • A team strives hard to deliver the project on-time and helps you reach your business goals sooner.
  • The team coordinator and team lead utilize the users’ feedback to optimize and further develop the app.
  • A well-structured software development team can provide continuous support to the software even after it is released to the public. Roles in the software development team play a crucial role in achieving our goals. The team includes various roles such as software developers, project managers, designers, testers and many more.
  • Team members dedicate their time, effort, and knowledge and works on the improvements and the fixes.

You now know the importance of the right software development team, let’s now understand the different types of software development team structure.

Looking for the Right Software Development Team?

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Standard Software Development Team Structure

There are various designations in a team and all of them are responsible for different aspects of software development. Being a leading software development agency in Canada, we even have below mentioned teams who are experienced in using different technology stacks for various industries.

Business Analyst (BA)A business analyst understands the customer’s wants and aligns them with the stakeholder’s demands. Using their deep expertise, they convert abstract notions into achievable goals.

They are integral to any software development process as they always try to maximize the value of the software they are creating. Business analysts also bridge the gap between the customers and the software developers.

  • Translate customers’ needs into requirements by understanding their workflows.
  • Prepare project briefs with tangible targets for the software development team.
DevOps EngineerDevOps engineers play an integral role in connecting the development and operations teams. Their goal is to unify and automate the delivery process. This, in turn, enables the agile software the development team deploys changes and updates quickly.

A DevOps engineer works along with administrators, operational staff, software developers, and management. They enable faster delivery of code by creating CI/CD pipelines.

  • Facilitates synergy between multiple technical and non-technical teams across the company.
  • Creates CI/CD pipelines to ensure efficient delivery of codes to the engineers.
Project ManagerThe role of project managers is often overlooked in the agile team structure as the members rely more on transparency, self-management, and clear communication. But, if your company is working with multiple agile teams, then a project manager is vital for keeping all the teams on the same page and the project management progress intact.

For the traditional team, the project manager is responsible for project planning, outlining and distributing tasks across team members, updating project status, planning other project activities, and also managing the software development team.

  • In charge of keeping the project under budget constraints and within deadlines.
  • Responsible for motivating and managing the software development team.
Software ArchitectA software architect is a specialist engineer who is responsible for making all the executive decisions for the software development team. Software architects are essential for companies that is creating complex programs with highly technical requirements. Similarly, software architects are crucial for companies that want to rework their legacy enterprise systems.

A software architect is responsible for making all the software design-related decisions. Furthermore, they decide how the coding databases should communicate with each other, and ensure the security and stability of the product they are developing.

  • In charge of selecting the necessary tools for implementing the vision of the project managers and business analysts.
  • Performs code reviews and sets quality standards for these codes.
  • Responsible for designing complex and high-level software architecture.
Software DeveloperThe software developers are the ones responsible for writing the codes and developing the features of the app or software. There are multiple software developers that are responsible for different aspects of the software building process.

For example, the front-end developers are responsible for developing the user-facing side of the software. They create user interfaces that are smooth and bug-free regardless of the platform, device, or operational system. Get detailed information about responsibilities from our blog about what a software developer does.

In the same way, backend developers create algorithms and business logic for the app to function well. Sometimes, they may play the role of software architects.

Lastly, full-stack developers can handle both the front-end and the back-end.

  • Developing and optimizing the code used for the product.
  • Responsible for solving technical challenges during the development process.
Software Testing EngineerAs the name indicates, software testing engineers are responsible for checking both the functional and the non-functional application requirements. The functional requirements include what the application should do, while the non-functional requirements entail the functions used to perform the said task.

The software testing engineers are responsible for running multiple tests to generate results and report on the product’s quality.

They verify the usability, functionality, performance, and security of the software. The testing engineer prepares a quality assurance document that contains an extensive checklist for all the important functions to notice during the tests.

  • Responsible for spotting bugs, errors, and defects in the software.
  • Ensure that the software is working as per the requirements.

So far you know what the team structure of a software development team looks like. We at Space-O have a similar team structure that has developed solutions like meat processing solutions, aviation maintenance software, and event management websites.

What are the Qualities of a Skilled Software Development Team?

First and foremost, a skilled software development team is data-driven. They need to rely on facts, findings, reports, and results to make informed decisions about the projects. The software development teams are increasingly adopting this approach to create a more personalized experience for their customers. While looking at the skills, you may get confused with the software developer or software engineer. If yes, check out the complete guide on software developer vs software engineer.

Communication skills matter and channels are a must for any functional software development team. The team members should have excellent communication skills and an understanding of the business lingo.

In the case of specialists, the team needs to rely on the communication skills of the project managers to link the two teams. And for all this to happen efficiently, the team requires a safe, secure, and moderated communication channel.

Flexibility and creativity should also be expected from a skilled software development team. The team should be dynamic and should constantly be updating the software and their skill sets.

The quick-learners in the team should keep an eye out for the upcoming technological trends and integrate them into their software.

Let’s further understand how you can find the right team for your business.

How to Find the Right Software Development Team?

Here are the different ways to find the right software development team.

  • Ask your project manager to create a list of eligibility criteria for software development teams with specific job titles.
  • Avoid selecting individuals to handle all the aspects of the software development team. Invest in creating a fully functional modular team to ensure the smooth sailing of the project.
  • Check out the portfolio and client testimonials of the short-listed companies and teams to identify if they fit the client’s expectations.
  • Describe your problems to the development team and check their approach to these ideas.
  • Evaluating communication skills is also essential in searching for the right software development team.
  • Finally, hire the software development team to create a prototype of your project.

Once you hire a software development team, you need to manage your software development team properly for your achieving the expected results. Learn how to manage a software development team efficiently from our blog post. Following this post, you get to know about the core tips that help you with a software development team whether you are a beginner or an experienced entrepreneur.

Want to Hire Experienced Software Developers?

Let’s talk. At Space-O, we have a team of software developers, designers, testers, and project managers to successfully bring your idea to life.

Since you know the software team structure for hiring, let’s even get the gist of different type of software development team structure.

What are the Different Types of Software Development Team Structure?

Name of the teamType of teamProsCons
Generalist software development team structure
  • Generalist teams are professionals that are Jack of all trades and have the required general knowledge of the whole development process. This means they are partially experienced with multiple tools, platforms, and fields while lacking in-depth knowledge about any single field.
  • Generalist teams are known to write, run and debug their software without any external reliance. Owing to the breadth of expertise, generalist teams can offer solutions for product design, business analytics, software logic, and user interface.
  • Such a team structure is most suitable for companies with simple and linear problems. In fact, a generalist team can be made up of a single experienced professional.
  • Needless to say, each generalist team member is good at multitasking and adapting to new tools and technologies.
  • Each team member establishes transparent communication lines to avoid misunderstanding and improve their efficiency.
  • Lastly, all the team members have a good understanding of the project and can make the upgrades, if and when required.
  • Need to consult with an executive before making the important changes. It might slow down the upgrades as the team has to wait for the approvals.
  • Takes more time to finish a task compared to a specialist team.
  • Generalists often struggle to find the most efficient and effective methods to use the tools at their disposal.
Specialist software development team structures
  • As the name suggests everyone in this team is a specialist in their own domain. However, they lack the general technical know-how and may struggle with development problems beyond the scope of their work. These experts are proficient in using the specialized tools effectively to complete the project.
  • A specialist team consists of multiple experts from different domains and backgrounds. The specialist team includes experienced professionals from technical as well as non-technical backgrounds.
  • The specialists are quite knowledgeable in their domains.
  • A team of specialists can swiftly deal with challenging and difficult tasks.
  • They are masters of the finer details in complex projects.
  • There is a high risk of miscommunication amongst the team members.
  • A specialist team needs a good project manager to act as the moderator and ensure smooth operations.
  • While the individual components are quickly done, they might need more time to assemble all the components into one coherent product.
Hybrid team structure
  • When a team consists of both specialists and generalists, they are known as a hybrid team. A hybrid team builds on the strengths of the previous two while limiting their weaknesses.
  • Hybrid teams start as generalists, then bring in specialists as they narrow down the problem. As a result, they can deal with unique projects and parameters. This is one of the reasons why this team structure is prevalent in the start-up environment.
  • The best team structure to achieve maximum efficiency and maneuverability.
  • The software teams are perfectly balanced with highly specialized technical knowledge and a healthy dose of cross-platform skills.
  • Requires a massive amount of planning and coordination to ensure there are no overlaps and delays.
  • Creating and operating a hybrid structure team can be time-consuming and expensive.

The above table describes how to structure software development team in the IT industry. Let’s further understand what the agile software development team looks like and how it is different from the traditional software development team.

What is The Difference Between Agile and Traditional Software Development?

The below table describes the difference between agile and traditional software development. This helps you to know which type of team is suitable for your business. We at Space-O have an agile team structure that follows the software development life cycle to reduce the necessary cost during the development.

Agile Software Development TeamTraditional Software Development Team
The project development is broken down into smaller sprints in the agile team structure. Each sprint requires the entire team to work together and build the project.The software development process has distinct phases. Different team members are assigned to work on these different phases.
The software build takes an incremental approach.This is a sequential design process, where one phase starts once the previous one is complete.
The team is assigned multiple smaller projects simultaneously.The team completes the entire project as a single unit.
Maneuverability is high as the team can easily make radical changes in the software even after the initial plan has been completed and delivered.No such drastic changes can be made once a particular phase has been completed. For any other changes, the team has to start right from the design process.
Testing results and feedback are reviewed after each smaller project is completed and is essential for project success.Teams focus on testing and feedback only during the test phase.
The planning, designing, and prototyping stage appear more than once during the entire development cycle.All the necessary phases are completed only once with thorough testing throughout the process.
The Agile team structure is most suitable for projects where expectations and software development team goals are expected to change as time progresses.Traditional development teams are suitable for projects that have definite plans, guidelines, and timelines. Moreover, no additional changes are expected during the development period.
The team simultaneously tests the software while developing it.The team tests the software once development is completed.
The main goal of the team is customer satisfaction, hence the requirements of the project change themselves with the needs of the customer.The only goal of the team is to complete and deliver the project.
The company stakeholders prepare the brief, goals, and missions regularly along with the agile development team.The business analytics team prepares the brief for the team before the project begins. Once the prepares the SRS of the software, no changes are taken into consideration, unless absolutely necessary.
Agile development teams perform the best when there are no restrictions on finances, time, and other resources.The traditional team reduces the variable price factor and also minimizes any risk associated with the project.
The testing team can initiate and change the requirements for the project according to the evolving needs of the customer.The testing team is only equipped to offer feedback. They cannot initiate any changes.
The entire project is managed by the agile team without any input from the project managers. New team members can be added to the project with ease.The project manager plays an important role, especially when the project moves from one phase to another.

Have doubts regarding the software development team? Check the following FAQ section to clear your doubts.

FAQ about Software Development Team Structure

  1. How do you organize a software development team?

  2. The project manager must organize the software development team. They decide the team size and then define the responsibilities of all the team members. Once they have explained the project details to the team, they need to create a healthy work environment for each team member.

  3. Where to hire a software development team for your project development?

  4. You can search for software development teams through Google searches, B2B portals, and freelance workplaces. You can even hire software development teams through referrals.

  5. How to achieve high team performance with agility?

  6. There is a common misconception that companies might trade performance and project success for agility. However, that is not the case. The more agile your team is, the more work they can complete effectively. The agile software development teams are well-equipped to independently handle different aspects of several projects without relying on other teams.

  7. How to set quality assurance standards for the software development team?

  8. The software testing engineer or quality assurance engineer (QA) must set the quality standards for the projects. The quality assurance engineer can also use other software projects to develop the benchmarks for the current project.

  9. Who is in charge of software application development teams?

  10. A Project Manager is in charge of a software application development team. A PM is responsible for every team member’s responsibilities and completing the entire project development within the deadline. Also, PMs have different viewpoints on the project as they think from two different ways, one from business and the other from the software development team.

Choose the Right Software Development Team for Your Project

As you can see, there are many moving parts when it comes to choosing the right software development team structure. First, you need to find the right fit for your company. Then, you have to select the team size and assign the development team roles and responsibilities. You also have to choose between agile methodology and a traditional software development team structure.

If you are looking to hire a software development team, contact us. We are a leading software development company in Canada. So far, we have developed over 300+ custom mobile and web solutions.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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