Building a high-performing Development Team: A detailed primer

Assembling a world-class development team isn’t an overnight activity. Today’s fast-evolving business ecosystem needs development teams that are flexible, efficient, and interactive. Professionalism as a trait isn’t the only one gaining the spotlight. With organizations relying a lot on teams for project delivery and satisfaction, it’s become imperative for such groups to deliver their best without messing up. So, what makes a good development team? What’s the best structure for such a team? From an organization’s perspective, is assembling an in-house team the most reliable option, or is outsourcing the best bet? Let’s take a look at the answers to these questions in this end-to-end article.

A Development Team – What is it?

A development team consists of seasoned professionals who deliver high-quality projects in a structured and streamlined manner to empower the organization and satisfy the client/end-user. These teams are potentially self-organizing, cross-functional, and highly reliable.

Characteristics of the Team

Before we dig deeper into the topic, understanding a development team’s characteristics can come in handy. Let’s take a brief look at their functionalities here:

Self-organizing: For a team to function efficiently, it has to be self-organizing. Micromanaging a team can have a disastrous impact on its efficiency. When it comes to a software development team, there should be no need to supervise the team’s direction and ability to transform an idea into an ultra-modern product.

Cross-functional: Another critical component of a development team is its cross-functional ability. A software team involves members from various departments like QA experts, business analysts, software architects, developers, and designers. All these members need to collaborate and interact to deliver a world-class product.

Accountable and reliable: Rather than looking at the team as a bunch of individuals working under a manager, the team members as a unit need to be accountable for their performance. This way, members feel the value of trust and become reliable for the team and the organization.

Structure of a Development Team

In case you’re planning to assemble a development team, you need numerous members from different departments who work in unison. Have you ever wondered how these teams are structured? Let’s have a look at the inter-disciplined, diversified structure, the members, their roles, and responsibilities.

Front-end developer: In software development, the role of front-end developers is indispensable. The importance of these members significantly elevates as they come in direct contact with customers who use the software. They make the entire system flawless and secure and enable efficient cross-platform compatibility. Thus, front-end developers pull off a massive work contribution in building a successful product. Some of the commonly used front-end development tools include Javascript, HTML, CSS, Angular, React Native, etc.

Back-end developer: Even though much of their work is behind the scenes, a fashionable front-end becomes pointless without a robust back-end. Right from complex algorithms to efficient databases, back-end developers ensure that the entire system functions seamlessly. From identifying customers’ problems to optimizing the time-consuming aspects of the code, these developers follow a holistic approach to satisfying the customers. SQL, PHP, Node.js are some of the commonly followed technologies and tools for back-end development.

Product designer: Before the developers do the magic of writing extensive codes, a designer’s role is to give shape to an idea and visualize the end-product. The inputs of a designer directly impact the overall development team’s efficiency. Product designers understand business goals, evaluate the customers’ viewpoints, and enhance a product’s overall presentability. Here, designers need to examine numerous metrics like conversion rates and customer engagement. Some of the commonly used designing tools include Sketch, Adobe CC, etc.

Project manager: Often considered the Point of Contact (POC), the project manager’s role spans across different departments. One of the crucial differences between an underperforming team and a highly-motivated team can be the project manager. A project manager’s functions include motivating the group, assessing the improvements in a project, managing appropriate project delivery, and many more. A project manager in a development team tracks every activity of each department and identifies gaps for improvement. Product managers make the best use of tools like Jira, Project Charter, etc.

Business analyst: The bridging gap between a product and the market is often taken care of by business analysts. The phrase ‘Right audience. Right market. Right time’ remains the tagline for business analysts across the world. Business analysts’ role in a development team is to draft a product vision, identify the requirements, decide the market conditions, and understand customer expectations. Storymap, Value Proposition, etc., are some of the popular business analysis tools.

Quality analyst: If you can strike a chord between the various successful software organizations, you’ll inevitably identify quality as a common trait. Both development and design are creative processes and inevitably involve errors and other feasibility aspects. In a development team, quality analysts are those individuals who inspect an application for performance, security, and usability. From building complex scenarios to delivering a bug-free application into the market, you cannot dispense with quality analysts’ role in software development. Numerous tools like Postman and Burp make quality analysis easier.

This is the most basic framework or structure of any development team. There may be several programmers specialized in different languages working on multiple functionalities of the application in actual practice. Unique contributions from numerous team members are critical to ensure the success of any software project.

In-house Vs. Outsourced Development Team – What’s Best for Your Organization?

The next burning question is whether to assemble a team within the organization or outsource a world-class development team. Both these strategies have their pros and cons. According to a study by ResearchAndMarkets, the global market for IoT is projected to grow by $98 billion between 2020 and 2024. As a result, there are numerous factors involved before choosing the type of development team. Let’s discuss both these strategies in detail here:

In-house Software Development

In this type of development, the organization or corporate entity decides to build a product with its employees across different departments. The development team that consists of developers, designers, and analysts works towards building a digital product. Here, the organization needs to take care of everything, from funding the project to supervising in-house developers. For organizations with a long-term vision of building digital products continuously, an in-house development team can be the least expensive and the most efficient.

Advantages of the In-house Team

Some of the “pros” when opting for in-house software development include:

Privacy and flexibility: Organizations have the authority to discuss their requirements seamlessly with the project members without worrying about confidentiality. Besides, building an in-house team paves the way for greater flexibility as iterations can be done effortlessly and instantly.

Better engagement and efficient communication: In this approach, team members can engage with the client or project managers in no time. This way, with better engagement and collaboration, high-quality products can be launched without any disruption to a department.

Organization’s future needs: Instead of relying on an outsourcing company every time, an in-house development team provides an opportunity to reduce costs and enhance authoritativeness for organizations in the future. It is one of the main reasons corporate entities prefer the in-house approach over outsourcing or freelancing techniques.

Disadvantages of an In-house Team

Despite numerous benefits, opting for this technique comes with certain disadvantages for the organization. They include:

High costs: By streamlining a team, organizations run the risk of incurring huge expenses on potentially less rewarding projects. As a result, for one-time software development or minimal requirement, an in-house team can lead to higher costs.

Finding the right technical expertise: Not every developer or designer can deliver the best product. Technical expertise is crucial for a development team. Organizations need to work extensively on identifying those experts and hiring them on a full-time basis. This makes it both challenging and strenuous.

● Time-consuming: Nowadays, most organizations opt for a linear communication model, messages are passed from department to department. This process takes up a lot of time and money. With start-ups eyeing to enter the market within a short duration, assembling and onboarding an in-house development team can become difficult.

Outsourcing software development

Today’s fast-evolving business ecosystem is conducive to data-driven development. It can be the ideal solution for organizations that are desperate to satisfy the customers and outplay competitors. This is where outsourcing software development enters the picture. Here, organizations delegate the process of developing a product to third-party service providers. Let’s look at the costs and benefits of outsourcing a development team in the upcoming section:

Benefits of outsourcing

Some of the top advantages of outsourcing development involve:

Significant cost reduction: Instead of dedicating a specific sum for the team and product development, outsourcing provides the advantage for organizations to pay a fixed sum for a project. Besides, by outsourcing, organizations can opt for IT teams across different demographics whose rates are considerably lower than their own country.

No technological constraints: By hiring an outsourcing development team, organizations needn’t worry about technical limitations or expertise. The outsourcing company takes care of developing the product using the best minds of a particular field, reducing organizations’ burden substantially.

Quick and scalable: For organizations that visualize an end-product within two to three months, outsourcing can be their best bet. This acceleration aspect, coupled with the scalability that these companies provide, makes outsourcing safer and more reliable for start-ups worldwide.

Drawbacks of Outsourcing Development

Just like the two sides of a coin, outsourcing development comes with certain critical disadvantages for organizations. They include:

Risk of potential failure: The entire project risks becoming a colossal failure when outsourcing teams opt-out at the last moment. It can have a massive impact on an organization’s future goals, present deliverables, and many more. This uncertainty of outsourcing makes it riskier and less preferable for top organizations.

Limited authority over members: Unlike an in-house development team, organizations cannot have complete control over the project or its workflow. With less control, the chances of missing out on USPs or KPIs enhances tremendously.

The communication barrier: With organizations expecting members to work on fixed deadlines, communication becomes the ultimate component that keeps the entire team informed and motivated. When it comes to outsourcing, organizations’ contact with the external team is limited and hampered, leading to less control and authority.

Wrapping Up

Now that you have understood what development teams are, their basic structure, and different types, it’s time for you to make an informed decision. You can either assemble an ultra-modern team or opt for more effective outsourcing options. Either way, the clearer you are with your organization’s objectives, the easier it becomes to choose the perfect approach.

In case you’re looking for a dependable company to outsource, we at WayPath are just a tap away. Reach out to our technical experts, tell us your requirements, and we’ll help you steer your organization towards success.