Software Development Team: Structure and Roles

Gathering before venturing
When associating with the software development team, several clients learn that quite a few people belong to its structure. Although it's pretty clear how the developer's responsibilities are assigned, BA, PM, and PO responsibilities can be a bit unclear.

What should you do to make sure your remote software development team will be successful? Software development shouldn't be viewed as a one-person endeavor. Since there are multiple players involved in software development, a single person is most often not enough to form an agile development team. In today's world, there are a host of technologies, programming languages, and tools employed for various reasons.
Therefore, software companies build multidisciplinary software development teams with sub-teams that integrate specialists and experts from different disciplines.

Below, we have listed descriptions of the most common software development team members. You will be prepared to start your software project when you read this article and know what you should expect when meeting your first software consultant.

Traditional team vs Agile team
It is how people cooperate makes the difference between a traditional software development team structure and an Agile team structure.
Every project or organization has different needs, meaning that there is no 'one-size-fits-all' methodology. Methodologies must be implemented based on a few factors, such as nature, size, and resources involved in the project.
Software development team: structure and roles
When selecting the right methodology for your project, you should consider the factors below.

  • Analyze the requirements for the project. Do you understand what you must do? An Agile methodology is recommended if project requirements change frequently or are unclear. A traditional methodology fits best when there are clear and well-defined requirements.
  • Take into account the technology involved. Whenever new technology or tools are not involved, it is more appropriate to use the traditional project management methodology because Agile methodology allows more room for experimentation with new technology.
  • Are there any risks or threats associated with the project? The traditional methodology is rigid, so it is not recommended to use it. The agile approach, however, seems to be the better choice when it comes to risk management because risks can be addressed faster.
  • The availability of resources is another important factor. Large, complex teams and projects benefit from the traditional approach. The agile team generally consists of a limited number of experienced members.
  • The type of project management methodology used is determined by the criticality of an end product. In comparison with the agile project management methodology, the traditional method involves more documentation, which makes it more appropriate for critical products.
Traditional team vs Agile software development team
Software Development Team Roles and Responsibilities
Related tools and technologies: Front end languages such as HTML and CSS, JavaScript frameworks such as Angular JS, React and Amber, server-side languages such as Python, Ruby, Java, PHP and .Net, database technology such as MySQL, Oracle and MongoDB.
Developers who specialize in both the front-end and back-end of websites and applications are known as full-stack developers. The software developers have a wide range of knowledge and skills, which allows them to implement solutions at every level of the system (view, business logic, database). All aspects of the assigned project must be handled by full-stack developers, from design to implementation to release. An experienced full-stack developer is indispensable in small and medium projects where cost is a significant factor.
Software development team structure: full-stack developer
Software development team structure: frond-end developer
Related tools and technologies: JavaScript, HTML, CSS, React, Vue, Angular, React Native, PWA, RWD, Web Browsers.
It is the front-end developers who work with the client (user) and the delivered business solution (i.e. the system being implemented). An individual in this position must, on the one hand, ensure that the user receives the application in the best possible way (responsive interface, clear content). Similarly, they have responsibility for communication with the business logic layer.
Related tools and technologies: Node.js, PHP, Databases, SQL, Algorithms, Microservices, Architecture.
Programmers working in this area tend to develop data layers and business logic. The functionality of a system relies on numerous elements, so the quality of the work done by the back-end developer is crucial.

The developer's capabilities of building data queries (such as SQL) and optimizing them are even more important in the case of large and complex systems.
Software development team structure: back-end developer
Software development team structure: QA engineer
Related tools and technologies: JavaScript, Kakunin, Cypress, Puppeteer, Protractor, Artillery, Appium, Web Browserm, Apptester
The individual that responsible for developing tools that automate software quality verification processes. Software testing of this kind allows for the detection of regression errors. It checks if work on new system features did not cause problems in other areas.

A major benefit here is that it reduces staff costs (duplicative testing done by testers) as well as shortens time required for stability verification.
Related tools and technologies: QA Touch, Postman, Test Flight, Confluence, Burp
In the QA process, testers play a vital role. Their main responsibilities are to conduct manual tests, which is system verification analogically, rather than how end-users will operate it. Testing will help to eliminate as many existing errors as possible by offering alternative paths, boundary conditions, and exceptions, in addition to using the most likely standard approach for a particular feature.
Software development team structure: tester
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Software development team structure: UI designer
Related tools and technologies: Adobe Photoshop, Sketch, InVision, Adobe Illustrator, Figma, Zeplin, Balsamiq, After Effect
The main focus of user interaction (UI) designers is how the user interacts with the digital product.  In other words, it is about aligning content, design, and graphics with the customer journey and with business requirements. Prototyping tools make it possible for someone to create a template for a user interface for the application.
With the assistance of a good UX designer and a front-end developer, this person will provide a solution based on what is expected and what is required.
Related tools and technologies: HTML / CSS, Axure, FramerJS, Sketch, InVision, Balsamiq, Adobe CC, Story Map.
During the UX design process - where UX stands for User Experience - the UX designer must ensure that end-users will have an enjoyable experience. Users are studied, understood, and a journey is designed that allows users to accomplish their desired tasks quickly and easily.
UX designers collect feedback from users through a minimum viable product (MVP), create wireframes for users, and identify key user groups daily.
Software development team structure: UX designer
Software development team structure: project manager
Related tools and technologies: Product Roadmap, Burndown Chart, Release Plan, Jira, Risk Register, Budget Tracker, Project Charter.
Business problems and IT jargon interact through project management. Since a PM works as a consultant and has a foot in the development team, they have a unique perspective on the product and process. Responsible for managing budgets, risks, schedules, and contracts at a higher level of abstraction. Their primary focus is on project control using a variety of methodologies. The PM ensures that no changes will be made that are not compatible with the specifications.
Related tools and technologies: Rational Requisite Pro, Balsamiq, Microsoft Visio, Storymap, Product Backlog, Business Model Canvas, Value Proposition, Jira, Confluence, Trello.
Someone in this role is accountable for forming goals, analyzing and documenting key processes and systems as well as ensuring that the technology model and the business model are in alignment. Business process, product, and service improvement are the focus of their work. Using data to generate insights to inform business decisions and technological solutions to business problems, they evaluate what works and what doesn't.
Software development team structure: business analyst
Software development team structure: product owner
This person is similar to an analyst, concentrating on the features of a product. To define what features will be included in a product release, the Product Owner represents the business or user.  Due to their use of agile methodologies, they are focused on constant change.
The term 'architect' used to be used instead of the term 'tech lead'. 
Generally, they supervise software development teams and troubleshoot technical problems that relate to software development, engineering, and product releases. The tech lead can solve problems other than those connected with the development process, such as those involving communication with external providers or problems related to hardware. 
Software development team structure: tech lead
Software development team structure: team lead
Senior developers, usually team leads, assist you in managing your developers and ensuring that your team functions smoothly. It is the team lead's responsibility to understand the product goals, its business logic, and the technical aspects of the product. Communication between the remote development team and the client must be maintained by this person through leadership skills. The team leads are responsible for ensuring the team maintains a certain level of performance and for conflict prevention and resolution.
Bottom line
We all want our software development projects to be successful when we start them. It takes a strong team - your software development team - to become a true leader. Every one of us expects our team to consist of highly qualified and experienced individuals.

While you don't have to know everyone in the team inside out, a good software development agency will analyze your requirements and propose to meet your goals and budget limitations, but you should enjoy a basic understanding of what they mean. It is our specialty at Oriented Soft to put together dedicated teams for our clients. More details can be found in our case studies.
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