5 Tips to Establish an Effective Software Development Team
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Each software development team is a complex system that requires a lot of effort and where its members make every endeavor to attain common goals. It’s not easy to develop a comprehensive strategy and conduct a result-oriented development process. And you should never omit the essential for teamwork practices that give a sense of unity and motivate the team members to acquire new knowledge.
Interested in building a tech team for your business from scratch? Well, let us show you the ropes.
Establish team type that meets project needs
There is no room for tedious tasks and inefficient professionals when talking about business in 2022. Building a strong team depends on your budget, timelines, project scale, and you as an employer as well. When tackling a project, it’s crucial to determine your future team type, set all the team roles and responsibilities, choose project management tools and establish all the necessary conditions for proper communication.
3 types of software engineering teams
|combination of different approaches
|cannot dig deeper immediately
|cannot see the big picture
|time- and money-consuming
Let start by distinguishing the main types of dev teams:
- Generalists are professionals who can cope with a wide range of project scope. They don’t have a defined sphere for work distribution, they can see the big picture and come up with workable and lasting solutions. Generalists are a win-win teammate type for Agile projects. However, they lack a profound approach to specific issues and are not able to distinguish the root of the problem if they are required to dig deeper.
- Specialists, on the one hand, are professionals in constricted project scopes. It’s an easy task for such a team to implement a particular strategy in small projects. If you need to stay on budget and deal with basic issues, this kind of team will be a perfect match. On the other hand, they are not able to anticipate unforeseeable problems and see the problem as a whole.
- The Hybrid team blends lots of methodologies and approaches, each specialist has their own outlook on the problem. It requires lots of time and resources to gather such a team and it is suitable for large-scale projects, so just keep that in mind. But if your product is a long-term one, the result is worth it.
Define software development team roles and responsibilities
The team roles must be neatly appointed between the team members. So, if there are some unpredictable changes in scope, the team will be ready to sort all the issues out without any mess. To create a viable product, it’s necessary to be able to predict problems, react quickly, and be involved in the process.
A typical software development team structure
Let’s investigate all the necessary team roles and dive into the software engineering team structure.
Product Owner. Product owners are in charge of defining clear requirements for a future project with a readiness to be engaged in the process. They should be responsive and ready to make give-and-takes with team members. The sprint backlog must be predefined by the PO and later discussed and estimated with a team. The inefficient product owner creates problems while performing the tasks if he/she is not able to transmit a clear vision of the product.
Project Manager. On the whole, management skills are important, but this team role presupposes a person who is skilled at conflict resolution and making decisions, minor or make-or-break ones. First of all, an essential part of project management is the estimation of the tasks, then controlling and reviewing.
Software Architect. A Software Architect is responsible for choosing software tools, storage, and platforms. As a pundit in programming, a software architect considers a high standard solution for good quality and performance. Moreover, such soft skill as leadership is highly recommended for this role.
Team Lead. Team Lead is in charge of distributing work among the development team, delegating minor tasks, and coming up with some new strategies. The main point of their obligations is to troubleshoot the existent issues in the technical part and oversee the development process. They must be a mentor and advisor for all the developers.
Designers. Designers start by doing market research that establishes market needs. They could make a poll among users to understand their needs. Visual cues are among the most vital project requirements as well as eye-catching interfaces.
QA (quality assurance). Testing is a top priority on the way to a successful product. The process is crucial as well as review and retrospectives at the end of the sprint. You may choose between manual testing and automation, but each time take an effort and be sure that all the bugs are fixed before delivering it to a product owner. QA is widely used in the following industries: medicine, aerospace, using contractors or consultants, and software development.
For instance, while working on a project of Europe’s largest airlines, our team helped with legacy modernization, platform development, and renewing ticket buying processes. So, an essential part was testing a website as we worked on a financial part too. As a result, ticket sales increased and business operations became more efficient.
Business Analyst. And the last in our list but not the least important of all is a business analyst. Business analysts must have a profound knowledge of market research to boost business efficiency, make processes more advanced and enhanced. They need to find common ground and cooperate with teammates as well as study all the processes inside out.
Think on a team size
According to Scrum Forum, the optimal agile team size should be between three and nine employees. However, Jeff Sutherland, one of the Scrum creators, claimed that the best team size is below 7 members. Remember that when a team consists of a lot of members, it makes it difficult and ineffective to hold daily Scrum meetings.
Small-sized teams are easier to coordinate and don’t allow for any team member “to sit on the fence”. If it’s impossible to limit the number of your team members, separate their responsibilities and roles. Each small team should have their leader to help them stay on track every step of the way.
You may ask how to know when it’s time to expand or split your team. But the final decision often depends on your budget. However, keep in mind that all teams must be equally managed and prioritized. Do not forget about a leader who will boost the team morale and be always there to help. Although, both small and large teams can work cross-functionally and it can influence their productivity for the best.
There is an interesting way to determine an optimal team size with a pizza rule created and leveraged by Jeff Bezos, a founder of Amazon. The point is that a team needs to consist of such many members that they can eat only two pizzas during lunchtime. Jeff claims it is the foundation of Amazon’s success.
Choose Agile for managing workflow of a software development teams
If you aim at ramping up the efficiency of your business processes, you should definitely choose Agile. Choose either Scrum or Kanban or any other Agile frameworks to make your teamwork smooth and coordinated. An Agile team is flexible, they use reviews and retrospectives to prevent issues and have access to most of the data, and can reach agreement on rather controversial issues easily.
The Scrum framework presupposes working during each sprint which lasts about two weeks. Each chunk of work is pre-distinguished for each new sprint, that’s why the team estimates their workload in advance and clearly understands their roles and responsibilities. When each team member is aware of their assignments, they collaborate freely and conveniently. Applying Agile methodology can also help you stay on budget.
According to Knowledgehut, Scrum takes up 58% among Agile methodologies, the second place goes to ScrumBan (Scrum+Kanban) with 10%.
You should also consider leveraging some project management tools used by programmers and developers like ClickUp, Jira, YouTrack, Project.co to streamline the management process.
Think on communication as a first concern
Before hiring an employee, each interviewer checks communication and negotiation skills regarding it as a top priority. Then go problem-solving skills, flexibility, team working abilities and so on. So, be ready to establish good and efficient communication with the help of some tools. The team must be sure that they are on the same page and can ask for help anytime.
To enhance the remote team working, you may use:
- Slack (Standard plan – $6.67, Plus plan – $12.50)
- Infinity (start from $149)
- Dropbox (Plus plan – $ 11.99 per month, or $ 9.99 annually)
- Monday.com (Basic Plan – $49 a month for five users)
- Flock (Pro plan – $4.50 per month per user, Enterprise plan $8 per month per user).
Just a quick note: team communication is of two types – verbal and written. Verbal communication includes daily team meetings, conversation in an informal atmosphere, written communication consists of text messages, emails, documents, requirements, and tasks in the backlog.
Accessible files and documents
Do not miss out on the information about data storage. You must provide your team with the possibility to do real-time reviews, find consistent solutions, and have data accessible anytime. You may check out such cloud computing services as AWS, Azure, or GCP. The team must be up to date and keep up with all the necessary changes and additions.
For example, the Euristiq team provided our client from the Fintech industry with cloud storage services. We created a system that allows us to generate documents automatically and store them in the cloud. Such a solution saves our client £400K per year.
The top three most popular tools used by software developers in 2019 are GitHub, GitLab for source code modifications (80%); Standalone IDE: Eclipse, Intellij IDEA (75%); and desktop editors: Sublime Text, Visual Studio Code (71%).
Let’s figure out your game plan
Here is a checklist to keep up with all the necessary processes before setting up a software engineering team. So, put a tick if you are already done with the items below.
I have already:
- chosen a type of my future team
- set up a detailed budget
- agreed on the team size
- distinguished all the team roles
- taken credit for assigning team leaders
- decided on Agile framework for project management
- chosen a cloud computing service provider to store my documents online
- added all communication tools channels for a team
- adopted tools for software developers to do code reviews
So, who is in charge of software application development teams? When you choose to build an Agile team – everybody is. Each member is a clue to establishing efficient teamwork and producing a successful software product. We have provided you with all the necessary tips that will help you on your way to creating a successful team. It’s necessary to stress that before forming your team, you need to thoroughly understand your software development team structure, team roles, and responsibilities and choose team leaders with a clear understanding of the process inside out.
As an employer, it’s a good practice to stimulate out-of-the-box thinking and don’t rush when hiring people. When you interview a person, trust your gut feeling as well. Firing is an essential process too, though not easy to perform sometimes. Pay attention to the ability of your team to be versatile and make effort to train them to adapt to different work conditions. During unstable times the team must feel your support and interest in them as professionals.
To sum it up, the most vital factor is the assessment of your financial capacity, expectations from your team, the scope of work that you aim at. And all these ideas will form your vision of the best suitable software development team. If you need consultancy or are looking for a professional software development team, we will help your business accelerate with proper experts moving it.