How do you build an effective software development team and choose the right team members?
To assemble a software development team, you need the right group of dedicated members. Members who will successfully realize your project. Here we will go through the structure of a typical team and the roles of each of the team members, focusing on teams working within the Agile framework.
First off, software development teams come in three basic forms:
- hybrid teams
Generalist teams are usually made up of members with wide-ranging skillsets. Generalist teams perform most development tasks, but may need additional resources to complete more advanced undertakings. Many outsourced software development teams are generalist teams.
Specialist teams are made up of members who are experts in their areas. Specialists teams can handle more difficult projects but may require more help with coordinating and communicating with other members of the team. Specialist teams may also need more assistance from their scrum master to maintain the right workflow.
Hybrid teams contain both generalists and specialists. Hybrid teams are often best, but can be more costly and take longer to finish a project.
Software development team roles and responsibilities
In an Agile development team, the product owner acts on behalf of the client. The product owner make sure the project meets requirements, coordinating with the clients and the development team. Product owners deeply understand the end user and requirements for the project.
The project manager coordinates between the product owner and the development team The project manager ensures that the project runs smoothly and communication flows well between the stakeholders. The project manager also maintains the schedule and budget of the project.
The technical lead understands the business requirements. The technical lead creates a technical framework for the development team. This team member guides developers to construct solutions for the project. The technical lead communicates with the project manager, especially issues that might slow the project or increase the budget.
The scrum master is not a project manager, but rather a facilitator and process owner. The scrum master helps the team deliver their project. The scrum master manages the workflow of the project and ensures that the project runs on time avoiding bottlenecks. A good scrum master will divide the project into phases, sometimes referred to as sprints. Typically, a scrum master will meet with the product owner regularly to discuss the project.
Software Developers communicate the status of their work to the Technical Lead.
Software testers check the software to ensure that it meets the business requirements. Software testers also look for errors and bugs, confirming the software works as designed. Software testers are the meticulous proof-readers of the project, ensuring the product functions properly.
Read about Software Testing Life Cycle here.
User acceptance testers
User acceptance testers act as the final Quality Assurance (QA) step before the project launch. User Acceptance Testing (UAT) requires enough resources to ensure on-time, flaw-free release of the product.
The team size should fit the project’s timeframe, budget and complexity. The team size must be small enough to ensure easy communication between the project team members. Scrum-driven teams should operate with seven members or less.
Agile for speed and flexibility
An Agile software development team works faster and more nimbly than a team in a traditional top-down “waterfall” organization. The Agile team doesn’t require constant control. Team members know their roles, the process is transparent, and the members share a common goal. Teams work well together because they want to, not because they are forced. The Agile method guides the project manager to function more as a coach and a facilitator, rather than a traditional “boss.”
The Agile method is different from traditional team organization. Where a tradition team may have several projects at once, an Agile team focuses on one project at a time. They are able to give all their attention to a single goal. Agile team members do not necessarily have rigid job roles and titles. Instead, the team members are valued for their skills and contributions to the project.
To really understand Agile and why it works so well, it helps to know the Agile Manifesto.
Manifesto for Agile software development
We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
Using Agile methods allows teams to adapt and react to challenges in an organic and realistic manner. Why make the team servants to process and protocol? What’s the point of exhaustive documentation if the product doesn’t function as designed? Why should the development team and the customer be anything but collaborative? Shouldn’t a team function nimbly when faced with change?
Agile works because it encourages collaboration, transparency and communication. Team members and stakeholders share a mission and values, so everyone is aiming for the same goal. Agile enables teams to work without traditional hierarchy. The team shares the same vision and objectives. The people are important, not the process.
As you can see, Agile methods enable teams to work together in a harmonious and transparent fashion. Agile teams deliver better and faster results.
At Blocshop we believe that agile methods help us to deliver the best outcomes for our clients. If you are looking for team extension or extra development resources for your project, get in touch.