Once you decide to build a software product, you need to find professionals who will turn your startup idea into a viable product that meets your users’ needs and operates flawlessly.
While some people might think that it’s software engineers who work on a product from the beginning to the end, it’s not the case. The truth is that to build a high-quality product, you need a whole software development team that consists of several different specialists. In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to software development team members you need to have in your team if you want to build a successful software product.
Software development team structure
No matter how you’re going to look for specialists to work on your project ‒ hire them as a part of your in-house team, collaborate with freelancers, or order outsourcing services ‒ you need to know software development team roles that are crucial for your product’s success.
You as a business owner should understand who you hire, what responsibilities your team members have, and what you pay for. Let’s have a look at the traditional team roles that make a software development team.
Not every team includes a business analyst (BA) but with this specialist, the chances to create a viable product that will be in demand and will be able to stand out from the competition double or even triple. As a rule, BAs specialize in one or several industries and can provide you with insights that will bring value to your product.
One of the primary goals of a BA is to carry out software requirements elicitation to find out what kind of product stakeholders want to get. Once a business analyst knows the requirements, (s)he should communicate them to the software development team.
Other routine tasks of business analysts include carrying out business analysis, identifying strengths and weaknesses of a product, and looking for ways to solve business problems with IT solutions.
A project manager, or simply PM, is responsible for managing the process of software development. PM allocates tasks among team members, makes sure that the team meets deadlines, and represents the results to a stakeholder.
It’s important for project managers to have such soft skills as effective communication, conflict resolution, and quick decision-making. Thanks to these skills, a PM will be able to provide the most effective work on a project.
This person is the first technical specialist who gets acquainted with a product’s idea, software requirement specification, and works on the first steps of product development. The duties of a software architect are to decide on a technology stack for development, define the product’s architecture, and perform code reviews to ensure the highest quality of development.
No need to mention that without an attractive and intuitive design, you’ll hardly have a lot of users. That’s why you need UI/UX designers in your team. Their task is to create a design that will be unique, will reflect your brand’s values, and will increase user engagement. Besides, UX designers do their best to make your app or website as user-friendly as possible.
Back-end software engineers build the “inside” of an application. They work with servers, databases, and third-party integrations to provide a software product with all necessary features.
It’s impossible to get bug-free software without the help of QA engineers. Working closely with developers, quality assurance engineers inform them about the slightest fault in code or app operation once they detect it. Thanks to the simultaneity of these development life cycle stages, the final QA check doesn’t take up much time so clients can cut down some development-related expenses.
A product owner isn’t a part of a team in its traditional sense. A product owner is a stakeholder who orders software development or his/her representative. It’s someone on the client’s side who knows everything about a product and can share product vision with other team members. While a product owner might have a complete idea of how the product should be developed, (s)he should also be flexible and open to changes for the sake of the best end result.
The team roles described above can vary from project to project. Some team members can perform several roles at the same time. It can be that instead of front-end and back-end developers, there’s one full-stack developer. Or, a project manager can be responsible for the tasks of a business analyst. No matter who is responsible for this or that role, your team members should perform all of them to achieve the best results for your business.
In the next section, we have a detailed look at the team roles that are essential at different stages of software development.
Software development team: when do you need each of these specialists?
The product development process can vary depending on the needs of your business. You might need to build an app from scratch, complement the ready back-end with an attractive and intuitive front-end, or design your app when all the code is written. Let’s have a look at possible variations of team composition during custom software development from scratch.
If you have only an idea of an app, you’ll have to go through several development stages that are ideation, design and prototype creation, MVP development, and product maintenance. So, what team members are expected to work during each of these phases? Let’s see.
At this stage, you come to your team with an idea of an app you want to build. More often than not, at this moment, you have only a general understanding of what you want to bring to life but lack facts and statistics that can give you valuable information about the state of the market. So, at this stage, you need:
- a business analyst who will gather relevant information about the market you want to penetrate and will offer you the best solutions to outrun your competitors
- a software architect will create an app’s architecture to find ways to implement your idea from a technical standpoint
- a project manager will head the team members who will work on the following stages of software development
Design and prototype
Once the team has decided on the main concept of your software product, it’s time to design it. To achieve this goal, you’ll need:
- a UI/UX designer who will create a simple mockup or a clickable prototype so that you make up your mind about how you want your app to look
- a project manager who will communicate customers’ requirements to a designer and will then present the results to the customer
MVP development requires the participation of numerous team members as this stage is the most effort-intensive. Here are the people who contribute to the development process:
- a project manager who coordinates the work of a whole team and their communication with a customer at each stage of software development
- a front-end developer whose task is to ensure smooth interaction between an app and end-users
- a back-end developer (or developers) who work on the invisible side of your app that includes databases, servers, third-party integrations, etc.
- a QA engineer who looks for bugs in an application and informs developers about every found bug to ensure fast fix and as a result, top performance of software
Work on a software product doesn’t stop after its release. If you want your product to be successful, you’ll have to enhance it all the time. Team composition for software maintenance will depend on your current goals, and you might need from one to four-five people during this stage:
- a project manager who still coordinates the whole communication process between a stakeholder and a team
- a designer who can perform a UX audit and offer improvements to make your application more user-friendly
- front-end and back-end developers who will implement new features on your demand
- a QA engineer who will constantly be on guard of the quality of your software
It’s worth mentioning that a product owner is a permanent team member who participates in all stages of software development as (s)he communicates the values that need to be reflected in a software product. While (s)he doesn’t necessarily take part in all meetings and discussions, (s)he is responsible for major decisions that determine the app’s fortune.
Whatever service from the software development sphere you order, be it a design, development, or product update, you will always cooperate with a team. Make sure to have all professionals responsible for different roles in order not to miss a thing when working on your software.