Putting together a software development team? Make sure it doesn’t fall apart (along with your project) by securing all of these crucial roles.
Question: what are the professionals that make up a software development team?
For most, the answer is simple: software developers.
And this isn’t incorrect, but it is incomplete.
While software developers do make up the “meat” of a software development team, these teams are made up of more than just developers. In fact, there are a number of crucial roles apart from developers that must be in every software development team in order to ensure a successful outcome and a superior end product.
These roles shouldn’t be brushed aside, and it shouldn’t be assumed that developers can take on these roles alongside their current one. Each of these roles plays a crucial part in the development process, and stacking them on to just one person would be detrimental to the success of a project.
Why These Different Roles?
If you are like many first-timers to the software development industry, you’re probably thinking, “Why do I need this many people in my project?”, or “isn’t it possible to just have one person for this one project?”
The answer to that last one by the way is yes, you can, but your project will either not last very long, become an endless cycle of missed deadlines, and/or produce a low quality product. This is because software development is not only difficult, it is vast. There are currently a plethora of different programming technologies, tools, and languages being used for a variety of purposes. Even the seemingly simplest of software products involves numerous complex processes, from designing to storing data to maintaining security. And the entire process from start to finish can be plagued with bugs and errors. It would be impossible for just one person to take on such a burden.
This is why it is necessary to have an interdisciplinary software development team structure, with a number of specialists and even sub-teams covering different aspects of the development process.
So What Are These Crucial Roles?
Whether you’re building a tech startup, planning to hire an offshore development team, or already have a team in place, knowing these essential roles can help you build a better team and consequently, better software. You can be sure that all your bases are covered before you even begin your project, know exactly who is responsible for what at all times, and overall, achieve better chances of success.
So without further ado, here are the 6 roles that software development teams must have:
- Business Analyst
Building software is a business. As such, it is important that you not only have people on your team who know how to build software, but also ones who are experts in the business side of things. This is where a business analyst comes in. A business analyst ensures that you invest your time and money building the right software product, and that your product is built in a way that delivers maximum business value.
A business analyst analyzes numbers and data to determine the best strategies, improve processes, and generate reports. Their analyses are always backed by data, and their input is incredibly valuable. Research shows that if as little as 8% of resources is spent on business analysis, the chances for project success grow exponentially. Given that even the most revolutionary of software products can sometimes fall short of expectations once released, a business analyst’s role is crucial. They will make sure that product requirements are fully in line with customer and stakeholder needs, and that you are on the right track throughout the development of your product.
A business analyst’s responsibilities include:
- Translating business needs into requirements
- Formulating business goals
- Clarifying product features and ensuring that these meet customer needs
- Resolving queries between the technical and business areas and ensuring that developers aren’t disrupted by business issues
- Assisting the dev team in establishing the best strategies based on what the stakeholders need
- Project Manager
The project manager oversees the entire project, with one foot in software development and the other in the business side of the project. Project managers are responsible for a number of things: making sure the entire team is focused, motivated, and working efficiently; identifying and monitoring risks; making sure that the project is completed on time and within budget, among many others.
Project managers have to think about everything that could potentially go wrong in the project, and make sure that none of these actually happen. Should the unexpected happen however, such as a team member falling sick or an application failing to work, the project manager makes sure that the problem is resolved quickly. If possible, they will also find ways to prevent it from happening again. They take the lead in setting the development and communication standards that should be met, and make sure that these are followed throughout the project duration.
Apart from those already stated, a project manager’s responsibilities include:
- Scheduling, hosting, and documenting relevant team meetings
- Keeping the team on track in terms of direction, requirements, and of course, deadlines
- Constantly reviewing and investigating the entire development process to look for areas of improvement
- Securing the resources needed by the dev team to deliver the project
- Monitoring the performance of the dev team and making helpful suggestions
- Technical Lead
A technical lead is basically in charge of the technical direction of the project, serving as the key point of contact to the dev team for the project manager and business analyst.
A technical lead should not only be a master at programming, but also good at managing people. Above all, they should be responsible and proactive. They must provide technical support and know the project’s requirements from the beginning, right through to release, development, and enhancements.
The technical lead’s responsibilities include:
- Dictating and implementing the coding standards, tools, and procedures that will work best
- Detailing the structure of the project, avoiding too much complexity and focusing on clarity
- Reviewing code
- Meeting requirements
Of course, every development team must have developers. They are the ones who are primarily building the product. And often, you will need more than just one. Why, you ask? As we’ve previously mentioned, there are various programming languages, platforms, tools, and technologies, and no one developer can know them all. They don’t need to, but it would be wise to have a number of different developers with different yet interconnected specializations so you can come up with more well-rounded solutions.
There are also frontend developers and backend developers, senior developers and junior developers. Ideally you’ll want a good mix of different developers in your team. Doing so will ensure that there’s a specialist for every development aspect, as well as a good mix of ideas and skills in your team.
Developers are responsible for the following:
- Developing and deploying features
- Planning and developing the entire application architecture
- Solving technical problems
- Estimating the time needed to deliver each task
- Consulting and deciding on various technical aspects (e.g. which services and databases should communicate together, how the API and external integrations should work, how to keep the product stable and secure, etc.)
- Creating project reports to update the technical lead and project manager
- Quality Assurance
Some project owners skip quality assurance, believing that: 1. Their existing team can take care of the quality of the product themselves; 2. This will save them time and money; and 3. Quality assurance is just a “bonus”, not a standard process.
These are all false.
While everyone in a dev team should be responsible for the quality of the end product, quality assurance engineers or testers are tasked specifically to ensure quality not just with the end product, but in all stages of development. They must determine and moderate the quality of processes, practices, standards, and specifications throughout development. They also constantly test your application, focusing on performance, security, usability, and more.
Software development is very complex and riddled with errors, making quality assurance absolutely necessary. They can spot bugs and problems early so these don’t become even bigger problems later on. Their role is absolutely crucial for the delivery of a high-quality product that not only meets project requirements, but also offers a seamless and desired user experience.
Quality assurance engineers are responsible for:
- Verifying whether a developed solution meets requirements
- Actively engaging with developers to guide them through the QA process
- Planning, creating, and coordinating detailed, well-structured tests and test cases
- Designing documents to provide well-timed and useful feedback
- UI/UX Designer
UI/UX designers can transform your product with user-friendly designs and optimised user journeys to achieve the best user experience and conversion rates. UI or user interface designers are focused on the graphic design or layout of the product, whereas UX or user experience designers focus on the behavior of the software product and how people will interact with it. UI designers anticipate what users will expect to see and do with the product, ensuring that every element is clear, accessible, and understandable through great graphic and branding design. UX designers focus on the usability and functionality of the product, making sure to achieve user satisfaction and business goals at the same time.
If you want users to fall in love with your product (and really, who doesn’t?) and most importantly, convert them into paying customers, having these designers in your team is a must.
The UI/UX designers’ responsibilities include:
- Conducting research and user studies to find out exactly what users want and expect from the product
- Designing the look and feel of the product, as well as how users will interact with it, making sure to create a viable user experience that meets requirements
- Fixing user problems alongside the developer
- Analyzing, evaluating, and enhancing user experiences over time
So Where Can I Get These Specialists?
Now that you know what roles you need in your software development team, you’re probably thinking, “where on earth am I going to get all of these professionals without breaking the bank or my project schedule?” And the answer is simple: CoDev.
CoDev is an established software development outsourcing company that’s helped hundreds of companies get the specialists they need to complete their teams. We can help you hire an offshore development team or specific dev specialists for your existing team, quickly, easily, and within your budget. Learn more about CoDev here or get in touch with us to talk about your staffing needs today!