How do you build a strong software product development team and manage it effectively, while taking the most advantage of everyone’s skills? How do you compose it in such a way as to ensure the optimal efficiency of each member? How do you manage your software development team to achieve optimal performance and avoid bottlenecks? Today, we are sharing our experience on how to build a software development team and how to manage it efficiently. 

How to build a strong software development team? 

So, you’ve decided to hire a dedicated development team and partnered with an outsourcing software development company. How do you assemble that team and make it work? 

Find the optimal team composition

Building a team starts with choosing the right number of people that have the needed experience and seniority. You need to understand the scope of your project, the time it would take to finish it, and the resources you would need. A bigger software development team does not always equal a better and faster team. You need just the right number of experts so that everybody has enough workload to deliver tangible progress throughout each sprint. 

If you choose to partner with a software development company that provides IT staff augmentation services, they will also help you conduct an analysis of your project needs and consult you on what number of people your project would need and how to build a software development team. They will also help you with the following steps.

Establish clear roles and goals

All teams are different in their composition and work style but there also are some roles that are common for most types of teams. Building a successful software development team does not mean you just have to copy whatever team composition worked for other projects. Every project is unique and may require involvement of various experts.

A common team structure, though, goes as follows:

A typical team structure

  • Project manager knows how to manage a team of software developers and how to optimize its functioning. A project manager is responsible for daily functioning of the team, meeting the client’s requirements and deadlines, and keeping the needs of a team in sight. 
  • Developers and software engineers are programming experts who leverage their knowledge of relevant programming languages and frameworks.
  • Quality assurance experts test the product for any flaws or bugs to make sure it is ready for market launch and  use.
  • Business analysts are responsible for discovering, synthesizing, and analyzing the information pertaining to the project. They align strategic vision and business needs with the technical details and delivery of the software. 

Additional roles

  • Product owner is a person responsible for project outcome. Product owner translates the vision of what the end product should look like into the project backlog. This role includes streamlining the execution of project’s priorities and maintaining technical and conceptual integrity of the product.
  • Software architect is a highly-skilled and experienced developer who makes high-level decisions, mostly throughout the discovery phase. Software architect determines an optimal tech stack, the right tools, and coding standards for the project.
  • UI/UX designers make sure the product is appealing to the eye and is easy to use. They conduct market research and collect the users’ feedback to make the product as user-friendly as possible.

There are many other roles and specialists that can be involved during different stages of the software development life cycle. You may need to engage DevOps, DBA, data analyst, or any other expert.

Select the right people for the job

Once you have the composition of the team figured out, you need to hire the right people to fill these roles. If you work with a software development company that offers you a selection of candidates, the best idea is to interview the candidates and assess their skills. That way you will know whether the recommended people suit your team and are up to the task.

When it comes to the large projects that involve dozens of developers, most clients would not interview all of them. In such cases, you may choose to participate in choosing the core members of the team - just a couple of solid experts who would be the driving force for the project. The rest of the hiring can be handled by your partner. 

How to manage a software development team

Now that we know how to build a software development team, it is important to understand how to manage a team of software developers. You can have the best software development teams in the world consisting of the most experienced engineers, designers, and testers, but they would not perform right if there’s no management. 

So, how do you manage a software development team to make sure you get the desired results at the right time? 

Voice your expectations clearly

You have to be clear with your vision for the end product and your expectations for the team. The product owner has to define the end goals of the project, set the milestones, and approve the deliverables. Your project manager will help take care of scheduling and meeting the project milestones as planned. 

Having clear requirements and committing to them throughout the duration of the project is vital for managing software development teams. You can still scale your project up if needed, but having a defined vision will ensure a neat software development life cycle without any last-moment twitches or fixes.

Set up proper communication channels

When building and managing a development team, you need to make sure everyone is on the same page. Knowledge sharing and timely communication are essential parts of the process, and you need to convey all the information to the team. Even if you work with a remote team, there are many communication and collaboration tools that help in managing a development team.

Frequently used communication tools

Each of these tools can offer numerous perks for managing software development teams, but it is also vital to keep the communication efficient, concise, and on the point. Stay in touch with the team, share your thoughts and ideas, encourage developers to share theirs, voice your concerns in a timely manner. The efficiency of communication and cooperation within the team is one of the defining factors of the project’s success. 

Monitor updates 

The key to knowing how to manage a software development team is knowing what is going on within the team. Even if you are a hundred percent sure your team is going to do a good job, you should never detach yourself from the project completely. Stay on top of the project, monitor the updates, check on the deliverables, participate in presentations and demonstrations. If you have any concerns, make them clear to the team, and if you want any additional information or reports, be sure to request them.

Let developers do their job

On the opposite side of common mistakes people make when making decisions on how to manage a team of software developers, is not giving the team enough air to breathe. If you’ve already done a great job in building a successful software development team, then you should not be having too much trouble managing it. Good developers know what they are supposed to do, so you do not have to spend too much of your time and effort trying to control every aspect of team management in software development. 

Excessive micromanagement is a counterproductive practice for managing software development teams, especially when we talk about highly-skilled experts. If you work with a reliable team of experts, you may trust their knowledge on how to manage a team of software developers.

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Reasons to hire a reliable software development team at N-iX

Knowing how to build a software development team and how to manage it for optimal performance is vital for seeing your project completed the way you need. At the same time, finding the right people for the job might be a challenge of its own. N-iX can help with that: 

  • We build dedicated development teams and help you manage them throughout the development process for optimal performance; 
  • N-iX also offers expertise in Cloud, DevOps, embedded systems development, Data Analytics, and more;
  • We have 20 years of experience in the global IT market providing such services as Extended teams, Managed teams, and Custom software development;
  • N-iX builds long-term strategic partnerships with industry leaders and Fortune 500 companies from across the globe;
  • We work across many business domains and deliver custom solutions to clients in industries like finance, logistics and supply chain, healthcare, telecom, and more.

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