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4 Steps To Create A Successful Software Development Team

Did you know that only 30% of IT projects are evaluated as successful, completed on time, and within the estimated cost? Statistics show that of the failed projects, up to 60% of the reasons come from the ineffective cooperation of members of the software development team. Establishing a successful software development team determines the success or failure of your business.

If you are lost in the path of forming a software development team, then rest assured, we are here to help you. We’ll explore the principles of building an effective software development team and the essential factors you must consider.

Let’s start with no hesitation!

Table of contents

What does a software development team do

What does a software development team do

A software development team plays a crucial role in designing, creating, and maintaining software applications. The team’s responsibilities can vary depending on the project’s scope, complexity, and specific requirements, but here are the typical tasks and functions performed by a software development team:

  • Requirements Analysis: The team begins by understanding the client’s or organization’s needs and objectives. They work closely with stakeholders to gather and analyze requirements, ensuring a clear understanding of what the software should achieve.
  • Design: Once the requirements are established, the team creates a software design. This includes defining the architecture, database structure, user interface, and overall system structure. Design decisions are made to meet performance, scalability, and usability goals.
  • Development: Developers write the actual code for the software. They use programming languages and frameworks to implement the features and functionality outlined in the design phase. Development tasks are often divided among team members based on their expertise.
  • Testing: Quality assurance engineers and testers are responsible for testing the software. They create test cases, perform manual and automated testing, and identify and report bugs and issues. Testing ensures that the software functions correctly and meets quality standards.
  • Deployment: Once the software is thoroughly tested and deemed ready for release, the team deploys it to production environments. This involves setting up servers, databases, and other infrastructure components necessary for the software to run in a live environment.
  • Maintenance and Updates: After deployment, the software development team continues to support the application. They address bug fixes, security vulnerabilities, and performance issues. They also release updates and new features in response to user feedback and changing requirements.

8 indispensable roles in an effective software development team

Product Owner

  • Assumes accountability for shaping the product’s vision and its ongoing development
  • Ensures that the end product aligns with customer needs and expectations

The Product Owner is responsible for defining and prioritizing the product backlog, representing the customer or stakeholder’s interests, and making decisions regarding the product’s features, functionality, and overall direction. They work closely with stakeholders to gather requirements and ensure that the development team is aligned with the product vision.

Business Analyst

Business Analyst
  • Comprehends the business procedures of the customer
  • Converts the business requirements of the customer into specific project requirements

A Business Analyst works closely with the Product Owner and stakeholders to analyze business requirements, elicit user needs, and translate them into actionable user stories or functional specifications. They help bridge the gap between the business and technical aspects of the project, ensuring that the software meets the desired business goals.

Project Manager

  • Ensures timely and budget-compliant delivery of a product or its components
  • Oversees and inspires the software development team

The Project Manager oversees the planning, coordination, and execution of software development projects. They are responsible for managing resources, timelines, budgets, and ensuring that project goals are met. Project Managers facilitate communication and collaboration within the team and with stakeholders to ensure successful project delivery.

UI/UX Designer

UI/UX Designer
  • Converts a product’s vision into user-friendly design concepts
  • Develops user journeys to optimize user experience and maximize conversion rates

The UI/UX Designer focuses on creating user-centered designs and interfaces that provide a seamless and enjoyable user experience. They collaborate with stakeholders, developers, and other team members to gather requirements, conduct user research, create wireframes and prototypes, and ultimately design intuitive and visually appealing user interfaces.

Read more: What is User Interface (UI)? The Difference Between UX And UI

Software Architect

  • Architects a comprehensive software framework
  • Chooses suitable tools and platforms for realizing the product vision
  • Establishes coding quality benchmarks and conducts code evaluations

The Software Architect is responsible for designing the overall structure and system architecture of the software solution. They make high-level design decisions, define the software’s components, modules, and interfaces, and ensure that the system meets performance, scalability, and maintainability requirements.

Software Developer

  • Engineers and stabilizes the product
  • Solves any technical problems emerging during the development lifecycle

Software Developers, or programmers, are responsible for writing code and implementing the software solution based on the requirements and designs provided by the team. They use programming languages, frameworks, and tools to develop software applications, modules, and components.

Software Tester/QA

Software Tester/QA
  • Makes sure an application performs according to requirements
  • Spots functional and non-functional defects

Software Testers or Quality Assurance (QA) professionals are responsible for ensuring the quality and reliability of the software. They design and execute test plans, identify and report bugs or issues, and work closely with developers to resolve them. Testers verify that the software meets the specified requirements. 

DevOps Engineer

  • Promotes collaboration between development and operations units
  • Establishes Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipelines to expedite product delivery

DevOps Engineers focus on the integration of development and operations processes to enable efficient and continuous software delivery. They automate build, deployment, and release processes, manage infrastructure, and ensure smooth operations of the software throughout its lifecycle. DevOps Engineers also play a crucial role in implementing continuous integration and maintaining the overall development environment.

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5 Factors that Determine the Success of a Software Development Team

Factors that Determine the Success of a Software Development Team

Evenness of skills

Evenness of skills in a software development team ensures a balanced distribution of expertise, reducing knowledge gaps and bottlenecks. When team members possess comparable skills, they can collaborate effectively, share responsibilities, and deliver high-quality work. It promotes better decision-making, minimizes dependencies, and improves overall project efficiency and success.

Continuous innovation and development

Continuous innovation and development contribute to the success of a software development team by fostering a culture of improvement and staying ahead of the curve.

It enables the team to adapt to changing technologies, trends, and user needs, resulting in innovative solutions, enhanced competitiveness, and customer satisfaction. Regular innovation drives growth encourages creativity, and ensures long-term success in the dynamic software development landscape.

Open and proactive communication

Open and proactive communication fosters collaboration, enables effective knowledge sharing, and builds trust among team members. Clear and transparent communication reduces misunderstandings, resolves issues promptly, and promotes a positive team dynamic. It enhances coordination, minimizes errors, and ultimately leads to better project outcomes and client satisfaction.

Risk management

Risk management plays a crucial role in the success of a software development team. By identifying and assessing potential risks, the team can proactively mitigate them, ensuring smooth project progress.

Effective risk management minimizes the likelihood of project delays, budget overruns, and quality issues, leading to increased project success rates and client satisfaction.

Prioritize work performance

Prioritizing work performance is key to the success of a software development team. By focusing on delivering high-quality work within defined timelines, the team ensures efficient project execution.

Emphasizing work performance leads to increased productivity, better task management, and timely delivery of software solutions, ultimately enhancing client satisfaction and project success.

Who Leads a Software Development Team?

A software development team is typically led by a role known as the “Team Lead” or “Development Team Leader”. The team lead is responsible for guiding the team, ensuring the successful execution of the project, and facilitating effective communication between team members and stakeholders. The specific title and responsibilities of the team lead may vary depending on the organization and the project’s structure, including:

  • Technical Leadership: The team lead often has significant technical expertise and serves as the technical authority within the team. They provide guidance on architecture decisions, coding standards, and best practices.
  • Project Management: The team lead may take on project management responsibilities, including task assignment, tracking progress, and ensuring that the project stays on schedule. They work to align the team’s efforts with the project’s goals.
  • Mentoring and Coaching: Team leads mentor junior team members, helping them grow their skills and make meaningful contributions to the project. They provide guidance, answer questions, and promote a culture of continuous learning.

What Aspects Do You Need to Consider When Forming a Software Development Team?

Software Type And Specification

Software type is one of the factors to consider when determining the size and structure of a software development team. 

  • Custom Software: Developing custom software tailored to specific requirements often requires a larger team with diverse skill sets. The size of the team depends on the complexity and scope of the custom software being developed.
  • Pre-Packaged Software: Require a smaller team since most of the development work is already completed. However, a team may still be needed for customization, integration, and maintenance tasks.

Project Size And Complexity

The size and structure of the team are heavily influenced by the size and complexity of the software project. Larger projects with intricate functionalities, extensive codebase, and integrations typically require a larger team to handle the workload effectively.

More complex specifications often require a larger team with specialized expertise. For example, if the software involves complex algorithms, artificial intelligence, or intricate business logic, it may necessitate the involvement of experts in those domains.

On the other hand, non-functional requirements such as performance, scalability, security, and usability also impact the team size. These requirements may require specialists in areas like performance optimization, security analysis, and user experience design, resulting in a larger and more diverse team.

If the software needs to integrate with other systems or requires complex interfaces, it may require additional team members with expertise in integration technologies and protocols.

Project Duration

project duration

The duration of a software development project can also impact the team’s specifications.

  • Shor-term Projects: Shorter projects with strict deadlines might require a larger team to expedite development and meet the timeline.
  • Long-term Projects: longer-term projects may have more flexibility in terms of team size and can afford to allocate resources for research, innovation, and continuous improvement.


The available budget for a software development project can significantly influence the team’s size and structure. A larger budget can accommodate a larger team with more resources and specialized roles, enabling the project to be completed more quickly or with additional features.

On the other hand, limited budgets may require a smaller team with more generalized roles, careful resource allocation, and potentially longer development timelines. The budget also affects the level of expertise and experience that can be hired for the team, as more senior developers and specialists typically demand higher compensation.

4 Steps To Build A Successful Software Development Team

Analyze requirements and determine team size

Evaluate your business goals, specific project requirements, complexity, available budget, and project deadlines to come up with a specific team-building plan. Based on that, estimate the group size. Depending on the approach you choose, you can estimate the number of members in your team. The common structure for a software development team are Agile and Waterfall approaches.

Criteria Agile Team Waterfall Team
Development Process Iterative and incremental Sequential and linear
Project Flexibility Highly adaptable to change Limited flexibility
Requirements Evolving and can change Defined upfront and fixed
Delivery Time Potentially shorter due to iterative cycles Longer due to sequential phases
Cost Control Easier to control due to frequent reviews Challenging to control due to fixed scope
Quality Control Ongoing quality assurance and improvement Quality control mainly at the end
Common Team Size Small to medium-sized teams Large teams

For example, if you choose Agile, your team may consist of 5 to 10 members. On the other hand, the team can be up to 15 members with the Waterfall approach. Managing multiple members at the same time can bring difficulties and complications in the administration process. You can divide members into small groups, and assign managers to each group.

Choose the right team structure

There are three types of team structures to consider: expert, general, and mixed.

Aspect Expert Team Composite Team Hybrid Team
Team Composition Members with specialized skills in a specific field. Members with a variety of skills for flexibility. A mix of specialists and generalists.
Focus Narrow range of responsibilities, focused on expertise. Flexible application of knowledge across positions. Clearly distributed roles.
Quality vs. Quantity Ensures the highest quality of work. High degree of product homogeneity. Balances expertise with versatility.
Communication Potential communication conflicts due to narrow focus. Excellent ability to support each other. Requires coordination between specialists.
Project Quality High quality but may lack versatility. High product homogeneity but may lack expertise. Balances quality and versatility.
Management Challenges Integration of specialized work can be challenging. Managing expertise across various areas. Coordinating between different types of experts.

Completing roles in the team

After deciding on the team structure, evaluate the vacancies and their professional requirements to select the most suitable candidate. Refer to the process of hiring expert developers at Mageplaza.

Create an effective working environment

To ensure project speed and transparency, set up a suitable project management software. You can use popular project management tools like Trello, ClickUp, Jira, and a few others. For effective team communication, consider messaging apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams.

Regular meetings also help members grasp the development status of the project and the work being carried out and help members understand each other and improve communication efficiency.

In-house or Outsourcing Software Development Team

In-house or Outsourcing Software Development Team

Building an in-house development team can be a rewarding endeavor, but it also comes with several challenges. 

  • Recruitment Costs: Costly process of finding and hiring skilled developers.
  • Salaries and Benefits: Ongoing expenses for competitive compensation.
  • Training and Onboarding: Time and resources needed for new hires to become productive.
  • Employee Retention: Risk of losing talent to other companies.
  • Management Overhead: Time and effort required for team oversight and project coordination.

At this point, you might consider outsourcing a unit that can give you a software development team in no time. You can rest easy knowing that the developers of the outsourcing company you choose to work for have years of experience. Many companies have quite high requirements to select their most capable developers. You will also not have to worry about the costs of recruiting, training or training new employees if you choose to outsource developers.

Hiring developers through an outside source makes the whole process less risky for you. Instead, outsourcing companies will be held responsible for possible errors. Most importantly, let the outsourcing company take care of the time-consuming problems around making sure your project and product are always improved and completed on time, and spend time on the more important tasks.


Before You Leave

Till now, I hope you all understand the essential roles within a software development team and highlighted factors that contribute to success, such as evenness of skills, continuous innovation, open communication, risk management, and work performance. Please feel free to contact us if you have any concerns about building a software development team. We will always be pleased to help!

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Marketing Manager of Mageplaza. Summer is attracted by new things. She loves writing, travelling and photography. Perceives herself as a part-time gymmer and a full-time dream chaser.
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