Thinking about starting your project but don’t know how to structure your software development team? If you’re new to software development, you may not be aware of the role each team member plays when building custom software. We’re here to help you understand software development team roles and responsibilities. Read on!

Who will be working on my project? Breaking down software development roles

The number of people who will work on your software project may vary depending on your technical partner. Most likely, your project will include some or all of the following software development roles:

  • Business analyst
  • Project manager
  • UX designer 
  • UI designer
  • Developers
  • Quality assurance specialist
  • DevOps engineer

Now let’s find out who’s who and who’s responsible for what.

Software Development Team Structure
Source: dribbble.com by Darya Semenova

Business analyst (BA)

Some people think business analysts are just about making money for the company. But that isn’t true in most business scenarios today. A skilled BA plays a big role in moving a business toward productivity, efficiency, and profitability. BAs help businesses analyze their existing processes; define steps and tasks to improve those processes; design new features, products, or services; and evaluate the impact of new implementations. 

In the software development domain, BAs serve as a liaison between a business model and the product being developed. They analyze business requirements and translate them into understandable development tasks. 

Do you need a BA for your project? Our advice is to hire a BA if you have a project idea or business problem to solve but don’t have structured details and product requirements.

What do business analysts do?

  • Identify market opportunities
  • Discover, analyze, and report on user trends
  • Find potential adoption problems and offer solutions to them
  • Work closely with designers to deliver a great product experience
  • Help clients create a strong product vision
  • Gather, prepare, plan, document, and prioritize functional and technical requirements
  • Test the product and create documentation and user manuals if needed

Project manager

Your chances for success are much higher when all stakeholders are involved in the project. There’s a huge flow of information throughout the development process. It’s therefore crucial for team communication to be clear, timely, and  effective. A team full of great developers may not bring the expected outcomes if there’s poor communication. A project manager leads and manages the whole team, ensuring everyone’s on the same page.

 

Read also: Effective Collaboration Is the Secret to Your Software Development Project Success

What do project managers do?

  • Involve all stakeholders in the project 
  • Make sure everyone’s on the same page
  • Plan and monitor projects to prevent budget overruns
  • Identify, assess, and minimize potential risks
  • Organize and motivate the software development team to reach their full potential
  • Set realistic deadlines and keep track of them
  • Report to clients on progress and performance

UI/UX designers

The first thing you need to know about UI/UX designers is that user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design are two different yet interrelated things. The UI is the visual part of the product, while the UX defines how users interact with the product. Look at how Ken Norton, a partner at Google Ventures, describes the difference between UI and UX:

UX is focused on the user’s journey to solve a problem, UI is focused on how a product’s surfaces look and function. 

Read also: The Design Development Process In 6 Steps

 

What do UX designers do?

  • Define target users and their problems, identify a business’s core goals, and see how user problems and business goals align
  • Research what target users want and don’t want in the UX design
  • Analyze research data and present it visually through user personas and/or user journey maps
  • Build out the design through visuals like site maps, user flows, mockups, and wireframes
  • Collaborate with the development team to turn the design into a real working product

 

Read also: Wireframe vs Mockup vs Prototype for the Best Design Flow

What do UI designers do?

  • Gather, research, and assess user requirements
  • Build user interface elements (layouts, menus, scroll bars, buttons, navigation components, etc.) using design best practices
  • Conceptualize designs and communicate them to the client and developers
  • Support the development and QA teams to make sure design features are implemented as planned

Developers

The developer role seems the easiest to understand. Developers are responsible for actually developing the product. But their job typically involves more than just coding. 

What do backend developers do?

  • Collaborate with the client to understand their project goals, needs, and requirements and come up with efficient technical solutions 
  • Collaborate with the development team (especially with frontend developers) to design functional code
  • Organize the app’s logic
  • Build and maintain the app’s behind-the-scenes functionality
  • Optimize the app for maximum speed
  • Implement strong data security mechanisms
  • Design and create data storage solutions
  • Test and debug the back end

What do frontend developers do?

  • Create the app architecture 
  • Build user-facing functionality
  • Design mobile-friendly web apps
  • Optimize web pages to achieve maximum speed
  • Translate the UI/UX design into code

What do mobile developers do?

  • Work with frontend and backend developers
  • Develop APIs to support functionality
  • Write UI and unit tests 
  • Create and test apps for mobile devices
  • Ensure apps meet App Store and Google Play guidelines
  • Check if the back end and front end are correctly linked

Quality assurance (QA) specialists

A QA specialist is a crucial member of the development team. A QA is responsible for ensuring quality standards are consistently met before the final version of the product reaches the target user. 

But why would you need a separate person to do quality testing? Having a QA offers businesses a lot of benefits like increased productivity, reduced costs (since you can detect and fix issues early), improved app security, and measured progress.

 

Read also: Is a QA Necessary During Development?

What do QA specialists do?

  • Find bugs and development issues before users do
  • Pay close attention to usability, performance, portability, and security
  • Make sure the product meets the client’s requirements and is ready to use
  • Review technical design documents, quality specifications, and requirements
  • Oversee debugging
  • Suggest solutions to identified issues

DevOps engineers

DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development and IT operations. Put simply, DevOps allows businesses to break down the barrier between development and operations so a project runs smoothly. 

Having a DevOps engineer on your team allows you to automate processes, speed up project delivery and make it more reliable, and implement changes on time and effectively.

What do DevOps engineers do?

  • Set up the work environment
  • Set up staging and development servers
  • Deploy applications
  • Troubleshoot

How we structure teams at Steelkiwi

Building an effective project team is a delicate process. Each project is different and requires a tailored approach. Here’s how we approach structuring a team at Steelkiwi.

Step #1 — Discovery, research, and prototyping. A project manager, business analyst, and UX designer are the first to deal with a project. They interact a lot with the client to transform the client’s ideas into functional requirements and wireframes. Sometimes, we involve the lead backend or mobile developer during this stage to research technical aspects of the project and advise the designer and business analyst.

Step #2 — Coding, testing, and deployment. Once the requirements are ready, we form a development team that usually consists of a UI designer, backend engineer, client developer (frontend, iOS, Android, or Flutter developer), and a QA specialist. Together, they estimate the time required for the project. 

Another player who’s involved in a project from the beginning of development is a DevOps engineer. They’re responsible for setting up the work environment, development server, and staging server.

Important! Since our specialists are spread across two offices, we try to build local teams that can work together closely. Also, we regularly do surveys to find out if team members are satisfied with each other’s work. If there are winning duos, we bring them together for future projects.

Modern software development team structure 

You should now have a better understanding of what a typical development team structure looks like and what responsibilities software team members have. You’re welcome to message us if you have any questions on IT team roles and responsibilities or want to start a project with us.

Meanwhile, we suggest you read the following guides to get a more complete picture of software development outsourcing: