What roles and skill-sets make a successful software development team?
If you don't have much expertise with software development, but want to start your first project (such as a mobile app or custom-made software), you may have assumed that hiring one or two developers would be enough to make your concept a reality.
Since there are multiple languages, programming tools, and technologies available, as well as numerous methods for accomplishing tasks, software companies often recruit numerous developers with varying talents, specialties, and positions as part of the team. From the visual aspects of the application to usability and functionality.
In this article, we will dive into some of the most essential functions within a software development team, and what roles they play in turning an idea into the end product.
1. Project Manager
This is one of the most crucial positions in a software development team. Project managers serve as your primary point of contact in the team, connecting you with software engineers. They will listen to your needs and requirements, keep you updated on the project's progress, and notify you if there are any modifications, setbacks, or delays.
While they will not be working directly on the product, project managers will be familiar with all the answers to the "who", "what", "where", "when", and "why" questions about the project and how to make it run smoothly. The primary responsibility of a project manager is to supervise all phases of the project (including testing and delivery) until it is successfully completed, and the client approves the result.
Their main responsibilities include planning the schedule and deadlines, identifying potential risks and how to avoid them impeding the project's completion, regularly communicating with and gathering feedback from the client, recruiting team members, keeping an eye on the budget, and looking for ways to improve the software development process.
2. Team and Tech Lead
The names may sound similar, but their tasks are slightly different. The team leader oversees the work of all other developers in the team and ensures that the product is delivered on time. Among their numerous responsibilities include assigning roles to each developer based on their talents and abilities, determining the sequence in which work should be accomplished, and resolving team issues.
They are also in charge of establishing the optimal working environment for team members, such as ensuring that the team has all the required tools, resources, and information to perform their jobs on time and inspiring them to do their best. If any difficulties or obstacles develop throughout the project, it is the team leaders' responsibility to either solve them or report them to the project manager.
Furthermore, the tech lead is the team's technical specialist and is in charge of overseeing all technical elements of software development. From planning, designing, and predicting the time required for technical parts of the project, to recommending enhancements and troubleshooting hardware or integration issues, to assisting developers with code as needed.
3. Front - End Developer
Front-end developers are responsible for making the product seem visually appealing while being both speedy and intuitive to use. A front-end developer's major focus is on how the product appears and feels, as well as how users interact with it, because they primarily work with visual aspects.
After a UX/UI designer creates the user flow and aesthetics, and a copywriter prepares the product's content, the front-end developer assembles all of those elements to create an intuitive user interface. This comprises, in addition to text and images, links, buttons, navigation bars, animations, and any other features with which the user may interact.
Another of their roles is to ensure that every single user, regardless of device, browser, or operating system, has an equally fantastic experience when using the product. This includes customizing the product for mobile devices and multiple operating systems, as well as ensuring that each version has the highest possible speed and performance.
4. Back - End Developer
While front-end developers are in charge of how a website or app looks, back-end developers are in charge of handling the server-side and writing clean, well-documented code. They operate "behind the scenes" to guarantee that everything functions smoothly and that any features introduced by front-end developers function properly.
Back-end developers plan and construct the product's architecture after understanding the client's major needs, write code for interactions between the server, product, and external integration, and select which services and databases should operate together.
However, this is only a subset of their primary responsibilities. Back-end developers are frequently responsible for creating and managing databases, as well as working on product safety and security settings to avoid data breaches or hacking attempts.
5. Full - Stack Developer
Front-end and back-end work may be assigned to a full-stack developer for some projects. Because a full-stack developer understands both the front-end and back-end of software development, they may work on databases, algorithms, and visual appearance. Furthermore, full-stack engineers are frequently knowledgeable on databases, servers, APIs, and user experience, thus their name.
However, this does not imply that full-stack engineers are experts in all aspects of software development. Most of them are experts in one or two areas and spend the most of their time working as front-end or back-end developers.
However, they are knowledgeable enough about other areas of software development and have a diverse set of abilities that, if necessary, they can transition from being front-end developers to back-end developers.
6. Software Testers
Releasing a product without first testing it for faults or errors is a recipe for disaster, which is why software testing is an essential task in a software development team. Software testers are in charge of detecting faults, mistakes, and vulnerabilities in software, assuring its quality.
A tester's main responsibility is to plan, devise, and perform numerous manual or automated checks after studying and reviewing the client's software requirements and investigating any flaws. Testing the product's primary features and functionalities, as well as its performance, speed, usability, security, and how the app or program behaves under severe demand.
If the tests reveal flaws with the product, it is the software tester's responsibility to resolve them, record them, and then correct them (or notify the developers of what needs to be addressed), preventing a detrimental impact on the product's user experience or functioning.
7. QA Lead
While software testers inspect and test products from a developer's point of view, the primary responsibility of a quality assurance lead is to oversee the creation and testing of a product to guarantee that all industry and organizational standards are followed. But that's not all; quality assurance professionals examine the entire product in the same way that an end user would.
Aside from testing the product from the perspective of future users by paying attention to the design, performance, security, and usability of the software, as well as notifying the developers about any bugs or usability issues they find, their job also includes writing proper product documentation and testing whether the implemented features meet the client's requirements.
8. UX Designer
Because the titles are so similar, UX (User Experience) designers are sometimes mistaken with UI (User Interface) designers (and similarly to team and tech lead, it can be one person that combines both roles, as the UX and UI areas are deeply intertwined).
A UI designer is concerned with how the product appears, but a UX designer is concerned with creating the greatest possible experience for app or software users. A UX designer evaluates how comparable, rival goods perform and comes up with suggestions for improving the user experience even more, in addition to researching user behavior and forecasting what would be crucial for them. A UX designer's goals also include gathering and evaluating user input to improve their experience.
9. UI Designer
The primary responsibility of a UI designer is to create a useful, convenient, and appealing user interface for the product, which includes the content, style, navigation elements, menus, icons, colors, and so on. When their designs are complete, they are given to front-end developers, who translate the design into "tech speak" and incorporate it into the app or program.
A UI designer's additional responsibilities include optimizing the UI design for multiple platforms, such as creating a mobile and desktop version of the product.
A DevOps engineer is not the same as the previously stated IT professionals. They do not deal with the project's code directly, but rather link and manage the software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops) teams. By integrating and working across those two divisions, a business can work on its products and provide updates much more quickly and consistently than in a traditional approach.
DevOps engineers' daily activities include determining how reliable the system is, determining which processes may be automated to minimize the workload of the software development team, and determining how release cycles can be better scheduled. All of this is done to help the software team function more efficiently.
Nowadays, software development is more than simply creating code. A software development team needs multiple employees with varied jobs to meet all of the client's objectives and specifications. One team member will be in charge of the product's appearance and feel, another of assuring the app's stability and dependability, and yet another of giving the greatest user experience possible to end customers.
But do you really need all of the mentioned experts to transform your concept into a profitable product? Inquiring with software businesses like us is your greatest bet. After all, there is no such thing as an "ideal team composition" - what works well for one project may not work well for another.
At Angry Nerds, we always recommend a team structure depending on the nature of your project, and we're flexible if anything changes over time. If you'd like a consultation on your next project, please send us a note!