Why Software Development is a Team Sport
For many businesses that don’t offer software development services or aren’t familiar with building software, the complexities of the process are not always obvious. However, all of the work and challenges you’ll experience with creating quality custom software development solutions from scratch means you’ll need a special kind of team to meet your technology goals.
When starting from scratch, there are numerous details to consider throughout the software development life cycle. You’ll need to rely on the skills and knowledge of a group of people to be able to stick to your timeline. A skilled set of individuals that collaborate well together is key to the best software development experience.
Of course, you’ll need software developers with the technical expertise needed to set up the right environments and write the code. But you’ll also need someone to test that code, work with the business to uncover specific needs, and translate those needs to the developers. A winning team will provide a wide array of software development services.
In addition, you’ll need to involve the right business stakeholders to help ensure the applications that your custom software development team builds are in alignment with the company’s vision.
What is a development team?
A development team consists of the individuals that will take your applications from an idea to a reality. Their overall size depends on the project timeline and complexity, as well as the software development services provided.
This team includes anyone that will provide software development services – not only your software developers, solutions engineers, and technical architects. You should also expect to include analysts, team leads, industry experts, and more.
Do you need a software development team?
Like custom software development, building the best software development team is often a complex process. So, before you jump in, take some time to consider if it’s right for you.
Do your research. First, know what you want to achieve with your end product. Will your users primarily be on a laptop or a mobile device? What existing software products will your solution need to access? Do you have an existing cloud ecosystem for your company? Having clear goals in mind will help your team or software development services provider to best advise you, as well as help speed up the process once things get started.
Next, take the time to see what’s on the market. Are there any off-the-shelf applications that will work for what you need? Maybe you can find a partner with existing applications that have those capabilities and join up to get what you need. However, if what you need is unique to your business, you won’t find it already in existence and will want to build the exact software development services that you need.
In this case, consult an expert. If you’re new to building custom software, a company that specializes in it should be able to let you know pretty quickly what your best options will be and the experience that you can expect. Look for a partner able to provide a full suite of custom software development services.
What kinds of teammates do you want on your software development team?
Typically, you’ll need team members with the capabilities to provide the following software development services:
1. Project Management
This is obviously an important skill for a member of a custom software development team. It’s necessary for someone to keep track of what’s happening on a project every step of the way. This person is responsible for keeping the project mobile and alerting the team to potential pitfalls. They will organize and track all areas of the software development services provided by each team member.
2. Client Management
In custom software development, business stakeholders should be very involved in the process to help ensure the quality of the end product. That means that someone on the software development team should have the experience needed to manage the client’s expectations and experience, provide transparency during the course of the project, and guarantee solid and open communication with stakeholder groups.
3. Technical Leadership
This team member is often the one with the most technical experience and expertise. They will be responsible for the architecture of the base solution, the cloud, mobile and desktop applications and the overall code quality. They ensure the code is clean and transition any maintenance as appropriate to the client’s in-house teams. They help drive software development services and solutions that will meet business needs and allow that business to grow and evolve. They also provide support to the other technical members of the development team.
4. Business Analysis
You want to include a team member with experience writing business requirements in software development services similar to yours. Depending on the size and length of your project, you may have multiple people with this capability. These team members will work directly with the subject matter expert from the client company to help the technical members of the software development team understand exactly what to build.
5. Programming Expertise
Once the business stakeholders and analysts have worked together to define what’s needed, the programmers can start to bring it to life. They create the code that delivers the needed functionality and delivers the desired user experience. The approach they take depends on the method your software development team is using to complete the project work. Software development services and builds depend on programmers with solid skills in data, cloud, mobile, and business logic.
6. Solutions Testing
Once the product is built, someone needs to check it for quality. Also called Quality Analysts, the people responsible for testing the final product are looking to make sure that it works, meets the business expectations, and helps meet the company’s overall goals. In some projects, a group of business stakeholders that will use the end product also participate in testing (called User Acceptance Testing). They’re testing the same things, but on a less granular level than the custom software development team is testing them.
7. Business Acumen
This is an advantageous but often overlooked skill to include on your custom software development team. While you will work closely with experts at the business, a team experienced in providing quality software development services will include a business lead with knowledge of the company’s industry. This enhances communication, helps saves time, allows for careful testing, and improves your chances of building quality software that matches the business’ vision and solves their biggest problems.
8. User Experience & Design Insight
To help create the best solutions, you’ll also want someone on your team with user experience, user interface, and design experience. This person will help design your applications with the end user in mind. They help ensure that your applications meet design requirements, look attractive, match your brand, are easy to use, and offer users a positive experience. From the first meeting as you shop for a partner to provide you with software development services focus on how they demonstrate user experience skills. If your users had your software, your return on investment will suffer.
What is a development team in Agile?
A team that provides Agile software development services won’t be too different from the description above. Agile is a methodology that software development teams use to approach the work required for a custom software development project. This methodology consists of 12 guiding principles that drive the team.
An Agile solutions build will often include individuals with the same skillsets outlined above. How the team members use that expertise can differ depending on the practices the team follows. Ultimately, agile projects focus on being more flexible with team members with a mobile mindset able to shift quickly to respond to changes throughout the project. The titles they have can also vary. However, each software development services team is set on accomplishing the same goals – Agile is a specific way to achieve them.
How to Form and Organize a Successful Software Development Team
Once you’re ready to build your own software solutions, you’ll need to assemble the right team to provide the software development services that fit your organization. How do you form the best team to build the software you need? You want to examine the technology needed, the business industry, and your timeline and budget.
You want to be sure you have a team with the right expertise – for instance, if you’re building a cloud-based platform, a development team with experience designing and building successful cloud products is ideal. Mobile applications behave differently, so if your users will need your software on-the-go, you want a software development services provider that knows how to design for mobile and deploy the product to the app stores.
You want to be aware of the industry – if you’re building a cloud-based solution for insurance, it’s great to bring someone on board that provides software development services showcasing expertise in how insurance companies work, their biggest challenges, and the hottest industry technologies. Mobile applications can provide a wealth of advantages, but if your insurance brokers will only work on your software in the office, it might not be a necessary expense. You want a custom software development services partner who will tell you the truth and help you to manage your scope and success.
The size of your team depends on your business’ budget and timeline. More people on your software development team could allow you to deliver faster, but only if they are in the right roles. For instance, adding more developers sounds like a way to speed up your project, but too many developers will outpace your business analyst and end up sitting around with nothing to do. An experienced software development services provider will take your timeline under consideration when building your development team. A smaller team working for a month or two longer can often be great for a small budget.
3 Ways to Build a Software Development Team
You might think that a software development team is only for trendy tech companies out of Silicon Valley, but that’s not the case. There are many ways for companies of all sizes to bring a quality custom software development team on board.
The first option is perhaps the most obvious – you could hire your own full-time team and keep your software development service in house. This is a great option if you have a larger business with steady software development work needs that vary. If this is the route you’ll take, it’s essential that you plan ahead of time what you can afford and what specific types of people you’re looking for.
Finding a software development services partner who can supplement your current team is the best option for your business if your needs fluctuate throughout the year or if you need a specific expertise for a short period of time. Often, companies keep some roles full time and supplement for others when they are needed. This lets you tap into extra resources being flexible and mobile throughout the year and handle things in-house when you have capacity and the expertise. The right partner can easily blend with your staff.
If your company has no interest in learning how to provide custom software development services, but wants to reap the rewards, outsourcing is for you. Find a partner experienced in providing custom software development services. This partner can provide the whole team and guide you through the process, which is crucial to staying on-time and on-budget if you’ve never developed custom software before.
Need help figuring out the best choice for you? Contact us for a free chat!
You’ve Got a Great Software Development Team – Now What?
Regardless of your method, even if you pull together the best possible custom software development team, there’s one way you can be sure that team will fail – if you don’t define success.
We’ve talked about the importance of a shared language to enhance communication among all members on a software development team. One of those things you want to discuss is what success looks like.
Defining Success on Your Software Development Team
It’s great to have an overall idea of what success means to your software solutions development team. At Geneca, we define our success by the success of our clients. That means we always keep in mind our client’s main goals and how each feature can impact those. We provide quality software development services partnering with you to ensure your project will be delivered on time, on budget, and on expectation.
As you prepare for your project, be sure to provide your team with more than just the big picture. Think carefully about each of the software development services that your team will need to provide and be able to articulate standards and deadlines.
Be explicit about the steps development team members can take that contribute to the success of the overall project. For instance, if success means delivering a new product on time, what can your development team do to help make sure that happens? Perhaps they are encouraged to ask questions as soon as they arise, use forecasting tools, drive quick decision making with the business stakeholders, and speak up if they feel something might cause problems before launch.
Whether your custom software development team is in-house or outsourced, once everyone is on the same page about success, you can move forward with your project. The key to forming a successful software development team lies in the people – once you align them, you can sit back and start bringing to your innovations to life.