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How to Build an Agile Software Development Team in Your R&D Center

March 30th, 2021

Evgenia Kuzmenko KITRUM Brand ManagerEvgenia Kuzmenko

When you start a software development project for your company with a third-party developer’s team, it could be challenging to fully understand each team member’s structure and responsibilities. While it is pretty clear what developers do, you can easily mess up the meaning and role of PMs, BAs, and the like.

This article will explore and explain the structure of the agile development team, its similarities, and differences with the traditional team. You will get knowledge on how to build, interact, and cooperate with the software development team.

Three Development Team Types

First of all, you need to define what kind of arrangement you want for your agile software development team. There are only three categories – generalist, specialist, and hybrid.

Generalist Type

Best Fit – Small Projects with the Easy Tech Stack

The Generalist is the most basic and common type of team. The team members usually have strong expertise and tech knowledge, so they could provide a solution to your problem or perform tasks of middle-level complexity. However, if your project is massive and requires lots of experience, this team may not be the best fit for you. 

Specialist Type

Best Fit – Niche Projects

Members of these teams are the creative ones. It isn’t hard to guess that they specialize in particular and narrow approaches or technology. Therefore, if you expect specific knowledge from your software development team, stick with specialists. However, be ready that they are responsible for a small piece of software so that they may lack understanding of others’ roles in this process. This issue could be the reason for communication problems.

Hybrid Type

Best Fit – Complex Projects

The last approach combines the previous ones. In a hybrid team, specialists and generalists work together. They mix general technical expertise with specific knowledge required for the project and provide the best software product. Be aware that this type of team may be harder to hire, but it’s worth it.

Traditional Software Development Team

Ideally, everybody could afford a hybrid development team, but in reality, you are often burdened by deadlines and a limited budget. So, let’s see the list of team members you have always occupied with experts in your software development team:

  1. Project Manager: Usually, this person manages the process, establishes the communication between the team, the client, and other organizations’ departments. 
  2. Business Analyst: Takes the requirements, analyzes, and documents this in Epics and User Stories.
  3. UI/UX Designer: Defines the user experience and ensures that the surfaces are easy and intuitive to use.
  4. Backend Developer: Develops the backend (we recommend using two developers to establish a mutual review process).
  5. Frontend Developer: Develops the frontend (we recommend using two developers to establish a mutual review process).
  6. QA Engineer: Perform automated tests; thus, the software remains stable with constant further development in the course of past requirements.  So you also avoid that the test effort (or the error rate) with the progressive project does not increase exponentially.

How Do Agile Software Development Teams Differ?

The advantages of agile software development include increased added value and high efficiency. Modern Cloud Tools support agile projects, which is also essential if you cooperate with a remote team. Increased transparency and KPI-based controlling ensure that success is planned and measurable.

The common denominator of all agile development methods is that they support iterative development. Therefore, these methods are in diametrical contrast to traditional development methods, where all wishes and requirements are mapped before something else is developed.  At Agile, these wishes and conditions for developing products or services become more and more evident. 

The advantage is probably easy to see as it is the flexibility to react quickly to changing requirements, wishes, and priorities. It also solves the problem of great complex schedules and budgets.

There are only three roles that are to be distinguished within the Agile software development team:

  1. Product Owner
  2. Scrum Master
  3. Development team

The Product Owner represents the internal or external client and holds the most significant authority and responsibility.

The Scrum Masters are moderators of the project. They don’t lead the team like a traditional project manager but motivate the team and eliminate blockages so that the team is not hindered (e.g., team members who are constantly picking up fires).

The Principles of the Agile Software Development and Benefits for Your Business

The agile manifesto contains twelve principles, which must be observed in programming and software development. The customers should be satisfied with the rapid development of functioning software because they should receive a competitive advantage through continuous development processes.

Another principle is that professionals and developers should work intensively during the individual project phases. Also, a motivating work environment can be created for the software project involved. Communication among the project participants should take place as Face-to-Face as possible.

Agile Software Development Means Flexibility

Agile development methods come without obligations. In the beginning, the customer exists only a few basic functionalities; the project starts immediately without delay. During the project, new or changed requirements can be defined at any time, e.g., because the software now must have other features than previously thought. Or because the competitive situation has changed. Through this iterative approach, experiences can incorporate the current project in the further development process, and it is only developed, which is beneficial.

Agile Methods Save Time and Nerves

Easy and efficient communication contributes to the success of development projects and the technologies used. That’s why developers in agile projects are basically in constant contact with him. Details can be clarified so fast that misunderstandings can be removed immediately. Nobody has to ask more written inquiries and annoy themselves if they are answered too late. Because the developers regularly receive feedback from the customer, they risk developing the software in the wrong direction. On the other hand, the customer can check the current agile development process status at any time, keeping the project’s overview and control.

Agile Procedure 

The short communication channels with developers also allow the project to be finished earlier, which means a real competitive advantage (Time-to-Market). The most critical elements to the customer are always completed first, which brings the highest business value. Therefore, large parts of the new software may be tested and used by customers even before the overall project ends.

Benefits for Developers

Who Proceeds Agile, Delivers Quality Work

Of course, every developer would like to identify with his work and create excellent software.  Agile methods provide the right frame: so, the developers estimate the expenses because they could also use this project to resume. And through the cyclic approach, individual measurements can always be made for the respective project. Each development team can learn directly from his own experiences and always have a realistic idea of ​​the actual development speed. Therefore, no one has to be hurt by the unrealistic plan at the cost of quality.

Agile Methods Lead to Direct Communication with the Users

In agile projects, the developers speak directly with users – and best daily. This direct communication leads to a better understanding of the software that users need.  Good cooperation exists between developers and customers with a common confidence base of priceless value for each project.

More Fun at Work Through an Agile Approach

All people are different, and what fun brings can be a gray for the other. Nevertheless, the experience shows that most developers in agile projects have more fun than in classic projects.  For this purpose, the agile team establishes close cooperation with colleagues (daily stand-up meetings, retrospectives, pair programming). Developers are likely to contribute and be motivated because of direct communication with users, the frequent delivery of new details to the project, the self-negotiable work, and striking to the idea of lifelong learning.

Conclusion

As you can see, agile development team building could be challenging, but the benefits this could bring to the final product are numerous. Agile development projects are characterized by the fact that less time is needed until results are available. Also, agile software can be easily adapted, especially if you feel that changes will arise during the development process. These can be market-specific changes as well as general requirements that the software must meet. If you put effort into pairing up with a professional agile team, the result will be worth it. 

Want to build strong agile software development team for your project, not just hiring another code guy?

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