RST Software
Editorial Team
Magdalena Jackiewicz
Reviewed by a tech expert

Agile software development team structure: types, roles, best practices

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Imagine a sophisticated workshop where skilled technologists and business leaders come together. Business analysts guide the way, creating detailed project plans. Developers build the necessary infrastructure, while testers work diligently to ensure the product meets the highest quality standards.

This combination of technical expertise and commercial insight constitutes an Agile software development team that goes beyond traditional programming units. They work together as one, focused on delivering solutions that not only meet technical requirements but also achieve success in the market. In this article, we will explore the agile team framework, highlighting the different roles and established practices that make up this innovative group.

Key factors that impact software development team structure

Navigating a software engineering team structure can be complex, but understanding its key aspects is crucial. In this article, we'll take a practical look at the main factors that affect the makeup and effectiveness of agile development   teams. We'll explore project management, the impact of project deadlines, and the importance of budget constraints. Let's dive into what really makes a software development team work.

Type and complexity of your project

Project type and complexity significantly influence the structure of an agile team, impacting how the team is organized, the skills required, and the methods used. Product discovery will typically require a small team of up to 5 members, while MVP development and post-MVP Product development, such as SaaS development, will typically require larger software dev teams. Here’s a model breakdown:

Project phase Suggest team size Suggested team composition
Product discovery Up to 5 members. Product Owner (usually on the client's side), Project Manager, Business Analyst, Software Architect, UI/UX Designer.
MVP development 6+ members Product Owner (usually on the client's side), Project Manager, 2-4 x Software Developers, Software Testing Engineer, UI/UX Designer.
Optional: Software Architect, DevOps Engineer.
Post-MVP Product development Max. 9 members per single Agile team.
For large-scale projects, numerous Agile teams can cooperate.
Product Owner (usually on the client's side), Project Manager, Software Developers, Software Testing Engineers, UI/UX Designer.
Optional: Business Analyst, Software Architect, Test Automation Engineer, DevOps Engineer.


Once the deadline is set, the clock starts ticking louder with each passing day. Strategic workforce structuring becomes a necessity from the get-go. Tight timelines call for a dedicated and focused Agile software engineering team, often with overlapping roles to expedite decision-making. Longer-term projects may afford the luxury of a more comprehensive and specialized assembly that can be strategically structured, allowing for in-depth planning and execution.

The pressure of tight deadlines can feel overwhelming but it has a unique antidote. Leveraging outsourcing services provides a dynamic solution to the time crunch. Companies offering staff augmentation services can swiftly assemble teams with the required skill set, ensuring a rapid response to project demands.

This flexibility allows for the enhancement of in-house teams or the formation of dedicated outsourced teams focused on meeting specific deadlines. The ability to tap into a pool of skilled professionals on-demand accelerates project timelines and enhances overall deliverability, ensuring that software development projects are not just completed on time but with a high level of quality and efficiency too.

Available budget

Budget constraints shape the Agile software engineering team structure significantly, so optimal resource allocation is vital. Balancing the need for specialized roles with the realities of financial constraints ensures a cost-effective and efficient development process without compromising on quality.

In the context of agile software development, augmenting with third-party services emerges as a strategic maneuver. Companies offering developers for hire provide a scalable solution to budgetary challenges. By taking advantage of outsourcing services, businesses can access specialized expertise without the need for a permanent, in-house commitment.

This on-demand model allows for a flexible allocation of resources, enabling companies to scale their agile development teams up or down, based on project requirements and financial considerations. The result is a blend of cost-effectiveness and quality, ensuring that budget constraints do not hinder the pursuit of excellence.

Software development team members and their roles

Team members are the ones who actually make progress possible. The overall effectiveness depends on the individuals who contribute their unique skills and perspectives to the collective pursuit of innovation. In this section, we break down the diverse ensemble of talents that form the backbone of agile development teams to help you understand who needs to come on board in order for the project to safely arrive at its destination.

Product Owner

In the outsourcing scenario, the Product Owner takes on a transformative role as the de facto customer representative. Tasked with translating client expectations into actionable directives, they bridge the gap between external clients and the development team. Their key role ensures that the project aligns seamlessly with the client's vision and objectives.

Business Analyst

Critical to the success of outsourced projects, a Business Analyst serves as the interpreter of client needs. Conducting thorough analyses, they extract actionable insights to guide the development process. In the outsourcing context, their role becomes even more essential, acting as the conduit for effective communication between stakeholders and the development team.

Project Manager / Scrum Master

This role emerges as the agile orchestrator. Responsible for the overall project direction, they navigate the complexities of timelines, resources, and team coordination. Whether steering the ship in a traditional or agile framework, their role is instrumental in delivering successful and client-satisfying outcomes.

Product Delivery Manager

A pillar in project execution, a Product Delivery Manager ensures the smooth flow of objectives. Tasked with overseeing the delivery pipeline, they navigate timelines, allocate resources efficiently, and serve as the protector of project milestones. Their strategic oversight ensures that client expectations are not only met but exceeded.

UX/UI Designer

The UX/UI Designer is the artist shaping user experiences. With a brushstroke of creativity and a keen understanding of user behavior, they craft intuitive interfaces that make the user journey a breeze. Their role is pivotal in translating client aspirations into visually compelling and user-friendly digital landscapes.

Software Architect

As the cornerstone of technical excellence, the Software Architect envisions and designs the project's structural framework. Their role extends beyond coding, encompassing strategic decision-making to ensure scalability, efficiency, and adherence to industry best practices. They lay the foundation for a robust and future-proof solution.

Software Developer

At the core of coding, Software Developers are bringing concepts to their digital life, utilizing their programming prowess to translate ideas into lines of language computers can understand and act on. Their role is key in creating the functional foundation of software solutions, ensuring they meet client specifications and industry standards.

Software Testing Engineer

A Software Testing Engineer takes center stage in the process of assuring product quality. Getting into the nooks and crannies of a newly developed software, they establish the integrity and functionality of the output. Their role is not just to find bugs, but to enhance the overall user experience by guaranteeing a seamless, reliable, and high-quality end product.

Test Automation Engineer

Automating repetitive tasks, a Test Automation Engineer enhances the speed and accuracy of the testing process. Their role is instrumental in maintaining the balance between rapid development cycles and robust, error-free software, contributing to the overall efficiency of the development pipeline.

DevOps Engineer

At the intersection of development and operations, a DevOps Engineer's role is to manage collaboration. Bridging the gap between coding and deployment, they streamline processes, automate workflows, and ensure the smooth integration of new features. In software development teams, their role is essential in fostering a culture of continuous integration and delivery, enhancing the agility and reliability of the development pipeline.

Best practices for building a great software development team

The essence of an excellent digital product lies both in individual expertise and the collective synergy of a well-crafted team. This section lifts the veil on the secrets of forging a formidable software development team. From pursuing a culture of innovation to navigating the delicate balance of autonomy and collaboration, let’s explore dynamic principles that breathe life into high-performing software development teams.

Step 1. Analyze your project and determine the required team size

Before the coding begins, a critical first step is the meticulous analysis of your project's scope and intricacies. Understand the unique demands of your endeavor – its complexity, anticipated workload, and timeline. This analysis forms the basis for determining the optimal team size. 

Consider the balance between specialization and collaboration, ensuring that the team is neither understaffed nor overburdened. By aligning the team size with the project's details, you set the stage for a dynamic and efficient development process, laying the foundation for success from the project's inception.

Step 2. Decide on a team structure that fits your project size and complexity

Once the project vision is clear, the next crucial step is crafting a team structure fitting its unique demands. Consider the size and complexity of your project as guiding factors in this decision-making process. For smaller, more straightforward projects, a compact and agile team may suffice, promoting quick decision-making and flexibility. 

In contrast, larger, complex endeavors may warrant a more comprehensive structure with specialized roles to ensure in-depth planning and execution. Striking the right balance in team structure is key, aligning with the intricacies of your project for optimal efficiency and seamless collaboration.

Step 3. Find a full-cycle development partner that can provide a complete team

Consider the strategic advantage of partnering with a full-cycle development provider when assembling your team. Outsourcing, when done thoughtfully, brings a wealth of benefits. By collaborating with a skilled external team, you gain access to a diverse talent pool, ensuring that your project is equipped with the right expertise at every stage. This approach optimizes the team-building process and offers welcome flexibility in scaling resources based on project needs. Additionally, outsourcing provides cost efficiencies and allows your in-house team to focus on core business functions.

Step 4. Consider whether you need a specific domain expertise

Get into the nuances of your undertaking by evaluating the need for domain-specific expertise. Depending on your project's nature, we are capable of sharing specialized knowledge in areas like location-based services, video streaming services that cater to diverse formats and bandwidths, or real-time chat app development, which may prove essential.

Opting for a partner with a strong track record in these domains adds a strategic edge to your team. This consideration ensures not just technical proficiency, but a nuanced understanding of industry intricacies, elevating your project to new heights. It's a deliberate move towards assembling an Agile software engineering team with the right expertise fitting the unique demands of your software development journey.

Step 5. Monitor critical project KPIs

Stay vigilant and monitor key metrics like development velocity, bug resolution time, and user feedback, which offer invaluable insights into the project's trajectory. One powerful tool that facilitates this level of precision is Budget Hero – a comprehensive Budget & Progress Control system based on Jira.

With its comprehensive view feature, it provides real-time insights into the entire project, offering detailed budget control at various levels, from the overall project to individual functional groups and specific technologies. Visual progress tracking allows for a quick assessment of completed tasks, spent and remaining time, and predictions for project completion. It's a robust solution to ensure your projects stay on course, providing a Backlog Quality Factor that empowers you to create accurate reports for seamless communication with your team and clients.

How RST Software can be your trusted software development partner

Finding the right partner that not only understands the intricacies of your project but is also able to bring in a wealth of expertise can prove vital to your success. Today's journey through the nuances of building stellar software development teams has hopefully offered you interesting insights into the subtle relations between roles, structures, and best practices.

At RST Software, we bring together a large team of seasoned experts encompassing a spectrum of skills to build an optimal software development team structure for every project. In particular, we specialize in crafting solutions for a range of domains, from location-based services, to chat apps, to video streaming development, ensuring not just technical proficiency but a holistic approach to project management.

Come explore the possibilities with us and take the first project steps with confidence. Whether you have any questions or would like to consult the vision you have taking shape, just contact us and we'll be happy to assist.

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