Blog / What is the Structure of the Development Team? 6 Key Roles Explained

What is the Development Team Structure? 6 Key Roles Explained

March 28, 2023 → 9 min read
Whether it's Fellowship of the Ring, Jack Sparrow's crew, or Ocean's Eleven, a good team is always key to success. You probably know that great things in business are done neither by great leaders nor by technology, but by good teamwork.

The IT industry is no exception. Behind every successful product development is a strong software development team.

In this article, we will tell you what are the key roles and responsibilities of a software development team and how to choose the right specialists for your current project.

Why is structuring your development team important?

A focused software development team can help your product grow and improve its bottom line, while also creating a productive and positive working environment. Skilled and eager to share their knowledge and ideas, they can boost your project and even take it to the next level:

Increase project efficiency

Well-structured teams with project-fit professionals work more productively and significantly increase the efficiency of outputting projects. They can complete tasks faster because they understand all the information that goes into a project and have a clear distribution of roles and responsibilities. A professional development team doesn't need additional control or micromanaging to stay on track and be efficient.
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Build a strong community

Openness and transparency are the strengths of a great team. If team communication is not done right, misunderstandings can lead to crucial issues and omissions.

Facilitating a good communication system and hiring a cultural match should be at the top of your to-do list. Find specialists who will be a good fit based on how your company works. It will be the main pillar of a positive work environment and good communication between people who share the same values. This is where a team transforms into a strong community of like-minded enthusiasts.

Have access to diverse expertise and skill set

The product development process involves taking a product from the initial concept to the final market launch. This is where solid knowledge and backgrounds in varied industries matter. One or two individuals don't have enough experience or can't handle everything all at once. That's why your team is your superpower.

Well-built teams bring a unique perspective to identifying opportunities and managing risks. They help businesses adapt to changes smoothly. So, you'll have the advantage of tackling the challenges that business growth or market changes create together with professionals. You'll never walk alone. And that is a great benefit.

What are the roles in software development?

Each task within a software development project is assigned to a specific specialist, making everyone's responsibilities clear. Properly defined roles for every team member maximize output from the entire team and help it work towards goals much more efficiently.

Let's look at the typical software development team structure and its roles. With the right skills and expertise, these magnificent six can get your project off the ground and bring a lot to the table.
  • Business analyst
    A business analyst is the first communication bridge between the client and the development team. Processing clients' requests or discovering missing software requirements, the BA has to interpret and integrate them correctly. This specialist is responsible for a clear understanding of the system functionality and business logic of the entire team.

    • Managing clients' requests
    • Software requirements elicitation
    • Gathering, reviewing, and approving detailed/missing requirements
    • Defining functional and user requirements
    • Estimation of needed functionality and feature list together with the dev team
    • Development of lo-fi UX prototypes to outline a product's flow and expected functionality
    • Software requirements documentation and keeping it up-to-date
  • Project manager
    Project managers are those superheroes who help stay on track with a project plan that works. They ensure the client is presented with all the relevant information needed to make a decision.

    There is no such bottleneck that can be missed by the PM — it will be timely detected, analyzed, and solved by this specialist. As a result, the client's costs are saved, and the team's nerves and time are saved as well.

    • Keeping project processes transparent for all stakeholders
    • Effective communication between the client and the project team
    • Creating a foolproof project plan
    • Features prioritization and tasks descriptions
    • Tracking project progress and hours logged by the team
    • Collecting metrics and running reports
    • Unblocking possible project management bottlenecks
    • Managing project artifacts and keeping them up-to-date (logs, meeting notes, and more)
  • UI/UX designer
    Designers are responsible for making a product convenient and easy to use for end-users and ensuring it looks great across different devices and platforms. They create wireframes and prototypes and help design the look and feel of the future product. Such specialists need to have a good understanding of how users interact with apps and how to help them do it even more effectively.

    • Creating UI/UX design that meets platform-specific and device-specific requirements
    • Developing and maintaining the UI kit
    • Conducting competitive analysis of other products that operate in the same space
    • Developing mockups for the development team
    • Communicating with the client if required
  • Software developer
    A good software developer is a nutshell of the software development team's structure. This professional implements system requirements previously documented by the Business Analyst and creates the best possible engineering solutions following them.

    • Implementation of features that are required for the software
    • Creation of business logic and ensuring the product can tackle the problems it was created to solve
    • Setup of infrastructure and system environments
    • Writing quality and clear code that can be easily read and enhanced by other developers
  • Quality assurance engineer
    This specialist checks whether the results of the developers' work match the initial requirements. QA engineers are always aware of the most up-to-date product functionality and know better than anyone how apps should work. Thus, QAs are best assistants for business analysts and other team members who participate in decision-making processes.


    • Compliance control of current functionality with initial requirements
    • Step-by-step testing, searching for bugs, and troubleshooting
    • Test planning and test strategy implementation
    • Documentation of testing processes
    • Bug logging
  • DevOps engineer
    DevOps engineers work on ways to ensure fast-paced development and release processes by implementing new technologies, enhancing infrastructure management, and reducing the occurrence of errors.

    They work with CI/CD pipelines, lightweight architecture, security, on-demand workload management, automated testing techniques, and disaster recovery.

    • Infrastructure setup, management, and auditing
    • Designing cloud architecture
    • Ensuring that systems are secure against data threats
    • Containerization and container deployment
    • Code refactoring
    • Monitoring and alert configuration
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How to build a development team from scratch?

You have a software development project at hand and need a team to bring it to life. Where to begin and how to build a win-win team composition? Here are 6 steps to get started.
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  • Define project complexity, budget, and deadlines
    From the very start, analyze business needs carefully. You need to know all project goals, software requirements, budgets, and time frames. Software development projects can last from a few months to several years, so it is crucial to estimate and calculate all basic things from the beginning.
  • Specify what and how many specialists you need
    Sizing a team is a tricky task. Based on the information described in the previous point, you or the business analysts you work with can estimate how many people are needed to achieve your project goals, what software development roles are required, and what tech skills to look for.

    Clearly defined team roles make it easier for everyone to do their job. Create well-defined roles and responsibilities for every specialist you need from the beginning.
  • Thoroughly pick each specialist
    Once you have defined the roles needed to build a stellar team, choose the best-fit talents for each role. Pay attention to both technical and cultural matches. Skills matter, but it is also important to consider whether the individual is aligned with the company's culture.

    Assess how a professional fits into a project. Schedule a team of people with relevant experience, as it will help you advance in your field and gather people with proven expertise.
  • Hire engaged and collaborative people
    Your team members are not just "workers". They are your business partners who will bring your vision to life. Engaged teams have more ownership and proactivity, and a passion to grow with the businesses they work with.
Good teams listen carefully and deeply UNDERSTAND client's needs from the very start. Make sure that the team knows what they are talking about and have enough expertise to implement it. That's exactly what I got from Freshcode.
Victoria Lagodinsky
Freshcode's client, Founder at Client1st Software
  • Excellent team players are consciously responsible for what they do and understand how they can influence other team members' performance. They can accept constructive criticism as well as keep personal boundaries or have the courage to offer new ideas. They talk openly about any concerns or issues occurring and ask for any changes or support if needed. All this forms the basis of a healthy workplace environment.
  • Prepare the work environment and set effective communication
    Work environments and communication approaches vary depending on the team model you choose (in-house, outsourced, hybrid). Whether it is a self-managed team or supported by project/product managers, in-office or fully remote, practicing daily meetings or weekly reports, all can differ depending on the specific circumstances. However, one thing remains constant — you have to ensure that communication and collaboration are clear and transparent across all roles.
  • Stick to a flexible team structure
    Try to approach team structuring and managing flexibly. The core of this approach is organizing team members in the best way to meet business needs. Traditional work structures and the inability to benefit from cross-functionality can have a negative impact on your company in today's world where staying agile and making quick decisions are must-have for any successful business.

Freshcode Best Practices: Building a Team Structure for Business Needs

We've helped companies worldwide to organize their projects with a dedicated development team or particular specialists to solve specific business challenges.

Here is one of our cases when a well-built Freshcode team drives a client's continued success and builds a long-term and trusted partnership.

Vetting and compliance

The client came to us with a request to scale his in-house team with Freshcode's developer, designer, and QA engineer. In turn, we offered the most efficient outsourced team model with a project manager on board.

After estimating all the benefits, the client approved our PM to join the team. Further, the results showed that it was a very good decision.

After completing the vetting and compliance process, we started the implementation of one module with the designer, QA, project manager, and developer.

Spot issues in project management processes

The initial process could have been more efficient as it was managed in Google Docs and Google Sheets. The priority of tasks was collected through numbered lists: the higher position in the list, the higher the priority.

We identified gaps in project management, poorly managed processes, and areas for improvement. It was challenging to convey the necessity of proper project and product management, as the chaotic approach stifled the project from moving forward. We decided to implement changes bit by bit and overcome internal resistance.

Power product development with the right tools

First, it was essential to organize all documentation and provide the team with the relevant tools to achieve effective project management. Relying on our previous successful experience, we brought a proven strategy to improve processes and boost the project.

As a result, we gained:

  • Project data migration from Google Docs to Jira and Confluence
  • Implementation of a comprehensive task description system
  • Implementation of a task prioritization system
  • Improved release forecasting
  • Product release planning strategy
  • Increased team productivity

Implement Freshcode's onboarding system

The previous client's experience with the scaling team was problematic. The team and the development process were stagnating. To deal with this, we provide clients with our onboarding system developed over years of delivering digital products worldwide.
    During this time we have been achieving significant results:
    • average time from request to onboarding is 2 weeks
    • average partnership duration is 1.5 years
    • employee retention rate is around 97%
    Freshcode software development team><meta itemprop=

    Scaling team to expand product functionality

    Thanks to suitable and timely improvements, we were able to seamlessly scale the client's team with our specialists. One year later, continuing our partnership, the client requested another scale-up. Their product was growing, creating a need to develop new features and optimize existing ones.

    Based on the previous successful experience, our client was confident in continuing the product development with more Freshcode specialists involved.

    As a result, there are now 18 Freshcode professionals working on this project, and the client's product is constantly growing and attracting new customers.

      Final thoughts

      Despite ChatGPT's success and the general enthusiasm for AI technology, talented people and great teamwork have never been more important. Especially in unstable economic times, when fast decision-making, flexibility, and the ability to quickly adapt to changes are crucial for the success of any software project.

      The key points to remember are:

      • The team is the most valuable asset of any business
      • Hire talented individuals, not just performers
      • A well-structured multi-talented team lead to boosted profits
      • An individual approach to team structuring is at the core
      If you need help finding your individual approach and scaling your team with the right specialists, we are ready to discuss opportunities or send you information on how we can help.
        Alex Nazarenko
        Business Analyst at Freshcode
        Working in Freshcode since 2019. Started as a lead generation manager, and soon grew into a business analyst.

        As a business analyst, Alex possesses strong skills and expertise to bridge the gap between business needs and technical solutions. Work closely with teams of developers, designers, and QA testers to ensure that software solutions are meeting business requirements and delivering the expected value.

        With experience in data analysis, market research, and project management, Alex helps software products succeed from concept to release and deliver on time and on budget.

        In his free time, he enjoys cycling, exercising, and exploring the breathtaking corners of Ukraine.

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