How to Assemble a Software Development Team
It is important for every business that its custom software development project is successful. But in order for it to be like this, first of all, you need to have strong support — a group of reliable programmers. What is the main condition of a brilliant project? How to create a productive software development team so that the product reaches its goal without delays and budget overruns? Andersen knows five ways to do this.
There are no identical project teams. They differ in ecosystem and style of work. Andersen takes into account the business goals of the customer when he applies for product development services (PDS). And gathers a team of specialists on a turnkey basis so that it implements the project from start to finish. I’ll tell you how we do it.
Decide on the Type of Developers
Depending on which application the customer wants to develop, we choose narrow specialists (Front-end, Back-end, Mobile), universal Full-stack developers, or build hybrid teams.
Jack of all trades — this is how you can briefly describe Full-stack developers. They are versed in Front-end and Back-end technologies. Universal specialists are able to work with complex solutions, and look at problems more broadly, but more superficially than narrow specialists. There are few such experts. Full-stack developers are past narrow Front-end and Back-end specialists.
Such a team is an ideal combination of universal and narrow specialists. Some focus on solving complex deep problems. Others take on complex work and communication within the team. Usually, a hybrid team is chosen less often. Mainly for large and complex projects, where, for example, a web application and its mobile versions are created.
A company providing product development services usually offers several team options, describing its advantages and development cost. The customer compares all the offers and decides whether he/she needs certain specialists or a hybrid team.
Set the Size of the Project Team
When a customer applies for product development services, he/she either knows how many developers need to be hired or clarifies this point with an IT partner.
There is no magic number that a company providing product development services focuses on by gathering programmers. Small teams are convenient to manage, but if one specialist “fails”, the project may suffer. In large teams, it is easier to organize a “safety net”, but it is more difficult to communicate in such groups.
When the custom software development company Andersen gathers a team for customers, it takes into account the following basic factors:
- project features (different technological stack implies different team selection);
- the amount of money that the client allocates for software development;
- when a customer needs a finished product.
According to Scrum rules, a suitable team size is 3-9 people. Seven developers are the best option. But this does not mean that more specialists cannot be attracted. If the project is complex, time-consuming, and needs to be implemented as quickly as possible, you will have to connect the maximum number of experts. And this does not mean that they will be difficult to manage. An experienced scrum master will create several teams of 5-7 people within the framework of one project.
Introduce clear project roles.
In product development services, the project team includes not only developers but also other specialists:
- Product owner. This is a representative from the customer’s side who knows how the product should work and who its target audience is. He/she collaborates with a Scrum master and programmers and owns the product on behalf of the organization. The owner obeys the management but personally decides which functions to include in the product backlog. The task of this manager is to create high—quality working software that will bring the company a stable income.
- Project manager. A specialist who manages the software development team. In the presale phase, the PM communicates with the client to find out the goal, potential audience, and requirements for the project. This supervisor oversees the planning, execution, and completion of the development. He/she makes sure that the goals are achieved, and the budget and deadlines are met. The manager monitors the productivity of the team and helps it solve arising problems. PM knows how to organize the work of engineers so that they lead the product to the final goal.
- IT-architect. This specialist is involved in the project when you need to choose the right set of technologies. He/she is responsible for the structure of the product from a technical point of view. What programming languages and tools should one use to make the product work, scale, and integrate with providers without problems. The architect studies functional and non-functional requirements. Prescribes together with the BA the attributes of the system quality. Marks the key dates of the project and determines how many specialists and with what skills to include in the project. Explains to developers how to build the application architecture. Monitors the work of the team so that it does not deviate from the set course.
- Software developers. Technical “wizards” who turn requirements into real working products. They study the project documentation and participate in the prioritization of functions or user stories. They write and test the written code, as well as correct errors found by testers.
- Designers. Creative specialists who are responsible for making it easy and convenient for customers to use the product. They conduct UX/UI research and communicate with users. They study analytics and think about the connections between interface elements and their location. They create prototypes on the basis of which programmers develop an application.
- QA specialists. They make sure that the product works correctly and enters the market without errors. The QA engineer studies the software specification, on the basis of which he/she creates test cases to test the product. The specialist tests the application fixes errors in the Bug reports and prepares reports on the results of work. Having a tester on the project ensures that the product works correctly.
- Business analyst. The link between the project team and the business. Communicates with the customer to define and document the requirements for the product. Explores the market and the target audience. Offers options for improving the product so that it is in demand and brings income to the owner. Advises other project participants on the operation of the product.
The team can be strengthened by DevOps engineers, data specialists, cloud developers, cybersecurity specialists, and other engineering minds.
Andersen discusses the composition and size of the team with customers in the Discovery phase.
Choose a software development methodology.
PDS is a flexible model of cooperation between the development team and the customer. Therefore, the Andersen team usually chooses flexible Agile methodologies (Scrum, Kanban) to create a product from scratch. These models allow you to quickly respond to project changes and adapt to changing market and customer requirements.
Kanban is aimed at open communication and transparent teamwork. All work on the project is visualized on the Kanban board. Cards with tasks are glued to a special table. Tasks are performed continuously. Changes to scheduled tasks from the backlog can occur at any time, and the team will adjust to them.
Scrum divides tasks into small time intervals (sprints). They last from one to four weeks. One sprint includes a certain amount of tasks that need to be closed for release. During the sprint, changes are undesirable, they are transferred to the next sprint. At the end of each stage, a retrospective on the work done is held.
But this does not mean that your project should follow the Agile philosophy. Some static products with clearly defined requirements are better suited to classical development models. This point is also consistent in the Discovery phase. A representative from Andersen suggests the optimal development format, describing in detail the benefits of the project.
Monitor communication and transparency.
Communication is a connecting part of the software development team, without which it will not be effective. If specialists cannot communicate problems clearly and quickly to each other and solve problems together, the workflow is delayed.
Communication is no less useful than writing code. Developers need to communicate with project managers, designers, testers, and other employees to explain the technical concepts of the product. It is important that the software is created and developed correctly.
Communication skills are one of the main soft skills for any developer and IT specialist. Usually, the engineers of the custom software development company Andersen have no problems with this. We conduct motivational training with employees, team-building, support, and develop communication and mutual assistance within the team. We understand that cooperation is vital for success.
How Do We Choose Developers
When managers turn to Andersen for product development services, we are guaranteed to find the best experts in our field. Before including specialists in the project, we evaluate how well they fit the customer’s business requirements. We pay attention to three things:
- The experience of an employee in a certain field: financial services, e-commerce, logistics, healthcare, and so on. If an engineer has already worked with ERP for a medical clinic, then his/her knowledge will be needed on a similar project.
- The stack of technologies that the specialist owns. An Android developer is unlikely to take up a mobile project for iOS.
- Developer’s communication skills. Especially for those projects where you need to regularly communicate with representatives from the customer.
Thus, our specialists meet the requirements of the project as much as possible and successfully lead it to completion.
The success of a custom software development project begins with choosing the right and effective team. In companies that are engaged in product development services, this issue is jointly solved by a project manager, an IT architect, a delivery manager, and a product owner. They choose the composition and size of the team and determine the roles and methodology of development. They establish communication and maintain an effective work style.
If you need a strong software development team, contact the Andersen specialists. Our experts work closely with the customer to create a relevant and valuable product.