Perspective on agile software development: team structure and dynamics

Perspective on agile software development: team structure and dynamics

In a nutshell, agile software development methodologies revolve around a special mindset of the team and unique performance strategies aimed at fast value delivery that goes beyond original expectations. By approaching major projects as multi-step assignments, they qualitatively deal with complicated challenges. This conceptual model depends on several factors, which allow any crew to adapt to its standards.

Although there is no ideal version of agile software development, its beauty lies in the personalization it provides. With duty division based on the skills and knowledge of every member of the squad, all the project-related activities become cross-functional and hybrid of the best of two worlds — data-driven strategy and improvisation.

It doesn’t mean building an agile team for creating IT products of any caliber is unfeasible for startups and inexperienced companies. You have come to the right place to answer the questions about crew-forming processes and how to maximize the efficiency of the final results in a budget-friendly and timeline-relevant manner.

Mind the gap!

Agile vs. Traditional teams: what is the difference?

Let’s roll straight into the analysis of the distinctive conceptual features between the two:

  • While an agile team focuses on cooperation and self-organization principles, traditional crews depend on their inner hierarchy.
  • Although collective decisions are common for both scenarios, it is also typical for conventional crews to work as the director wishes. In the case of agility, individualism is encouraged.
  • Traditional squads divide their project into stages — from ideation to testing and launch. Agile experts don’t perform project-related duties without harmony either. Instead of focusing on separate tasks, they rely on the professionalism of individual members to perform computational modeling, coding, and design without the need to finish the task before the following phase starts.

For more distinctive characteristics of traditional and agile teams, check the table below.

Whether it comes to working under the rule of traditional or agile teamwork methodologies, consider what seems more efficient for your employees and their style of performance. It is crucial to estimate the unique needs and context of a project.

Software development team structure: traditional vs agile

First and foremost, team-building and management models for outcorсed and in-house crews are two different stories. Ensuring your budget requirements are prioritized isn’t enough — focusing on the project’s nature to define the right team size and demographics has a considerable impact on the final outcome.

One thing is for sure — each of the possible team-structural variations may shine in the target realm and circumstances. If your company has a small in-house team, it will be easier to follow the standards of agility. For large brands without software development issues, it is pretty unreasonable to change their routine so drastically and try to make thirty or forty in-house members as agile experts. Assess your organizational needs and available resources to define what method will suit you the most to unleash your potential.

Basic strategies to build a software development squad

The list of primary frameworks to work on teambuilding and squad management processes includes:

  • Generalist — as the name implies, these professionals are ready to handle any challenge and don’t narrow down their responsibilities in the frames of one particular job description. They can shine in full-cycle development or working on a single function of the project. If you are interested in the reduced dependence and flexibility of the crew, this approach will pay off. On the contrary, it might overwhelm your team members and result in a lack of specialization.
  • Specialist — the opposite of the approach above focuses on the precise division of duties and responsibilities to cater to a certain skill or talent. You will bring expert-level quality to the table but will require double effort to supervise the crew’s performance. At the same time, its processes aren’t negotiable. This straightforward tactic isn’t always for the better and may lead to financial losses if the original concept or vision is off.
  • Hybrid — combining the best features of the two isn’t a panacea for every project and company. However, it is a nice solution for those interested in increased creativity with balanced expertise at hand. In such cases, the main issues come down to complex management strategies and poor squad dynamics caused by the absence of clear roles and responsibilities.

Key roles for traditional crews in it product development

The composition of a traditional team is always a huge variable. It depends on numerous factors that don’t allow for the perfect scenario to come true — from budget limitations to time restrictions. Still, the model described below is a conventional approach to distributing responsibilities in the team:

  • Project manager — this specialist works on progress tracking and monitors the quality of resources and their efficient allocation. At the same time, they keep project-related duties and results in a clear format with straightforward access.
  • Business analysts — the core nature of their professionalism lies in achieving technical specifications without neglecting particular corporate interests and requirements.
  • QA engineers — they are responsible for the testing aspects of project execution. Their task is to ensure the software is scalable and protected enough to run like a clock after release.
  • Software developers — they interpret what businesses want into a coded form.
  • UI/UX designers — in partnership with software engineers and other members of the team, they ensure the backend development results meet with the frontend efficiency.

Peculiarities of agile team structure

A common goal and well-defined duties for every team member reshape the hierarchy of the crew. QA engineers won’t only run rigorous tests but also work on the UI/UX design aspects if they have decent expertise in the field. Although the role assignment is pretty fluid, there are special job titles for an agile team too:

  • Product owner — the so-called PO is a mixture of project managers and business owners in their impact on the final product. They pursue the company’s goals and prioritize customer-oriented development strategies to align their professional activities.
  • Scrum master — taking into account how much attention is paid to communication and open-mindedness in agility, it is clear that someone has to supervise the crew’s efficiency from this philosophical standpoint. This role lies in mentoring project-related processes and facilitating them. Such experts will deal with getting retrospectives on past sprints and organize daily brief meetings to see whether everything goes according to the plan.
  • Development team — in this case, front-end and back-end developers, as well as DevOps engineers, are in the spotlight. It helps the crew to effectively navigate occurring challenges and take the most out of the UI/UX design’s aesthetics, usability, security, and scalability.
  • Solution architect — this role is designed for a specialist with skills in creating, testing, and securing the system’s architecture. They make more complicated project scenarios possible and commonly cooperate with system integrators and domain experts for a successful launch in the future.
  • Product delivery manager — despite its non-compulsory nature for any agile team, the presented role might help in tracking the progress of large-scale projects and align its results under the same roof.

Successful software development team qualities in detail

As you are fully aware, team management and organization are the key essential to the IT project’s effective execution and prominent deployment. The makeup of the crew, as well as its dynamics and structure, can’t help but influence whether a risk of failure will become a reality. If you wonder what attributes prove their worth in unleashing the potential of collaboration and propelling projects to greater accomplishments, here are some key characteristics to stick to:

  • Lifelong learning — this strategy promotes ongoing education and improvement of your in-house personnel, letting your future projects become a harmonious fusion of past achievements and mistakes. Agile experts recommend organizing frequent meetings to collect and analyze feedback from the team.
  • Accountability — as you already know, the task assignment depends on individual opportunities of team members. This strategy helps boost motivation and diligence — lagging behind colleagues will only disrupt the overall software development process and result in negative consequences for that person’s career. By holding specialists responsible for completing their allotted duties, companies can also reduce the need for supervision and babysitting.
  • Guided leadership — this agile concept facilitates troubleshooting in a professional environment with aligned goals and ways to achieve them.
  • Flexibility and versatility — learning from mistakes and quickly responding to ever-changing trends are must-haves for any agile performance.
  • Clear responsibilities — data transparency and task clarity, accompanied by personal accountability for received assignments, result in fair terms and conditions in the workforce.
  • Working on skill sets — constant learning and mastering new talents assist teams in keeping up with their workload and complement the abilities and skills of each other.
  • Smooth and seamless communication — agile crews explore the market of CMS, CRM, and other management systems to ensure they have the right tools to contact the target expert or colleague and keep the data flow accurate and transparent.
  • Collaborative spirit — no matter how traditional teamwork principles are for the leading companies, it is crucial to maintain a healthy atmosphere of cooperation and mutual understanding. This way, every employee will have a desire and opportunity to share their vision of the product or a particular mission.

The aforementioned goals of what makes a perfect and well-structured agile software development team let companies adopt new technologies and overcome obstacles without difficulty.

Actionable insights to build an effective agile environment in software development

No doubt, switching from classic IT product creation tactics businesses have been doing for ages to a new strategic vision is no joke for any enthusiastic crew. This process requires a steadfast commitment and openness to accepting challenges and changes — it is complicated to alter steady routines and adapt to another set of professional and technological circumstances.

Here is a brief itinerary to make this transformation a lot easier to handle:

  • Working with third-party vendors and stakeholders — on the one hand, you learn from the expertise of advanced agile service providers and adapt their experience to worthwhile and personalized performance concepts. On the other hand, by working with stakeholders, you ensure your vision is aligned with out-of-the-project criteria — it is simpler to see the big picture then.
  • Agile modification-oriented and alteration-centric approach — thanks to agile practices, teams get ready for the unforeseeable and reduce the risk of suffering negative consequences of missing out on lucrative opportunities because of the lack of knowledge or skills.
  • Concise and measurable efficiency — state clear goals to achieve. One of the tips to get started is to implement key performance indicators in your daily routine. For example, it is advantageous to monitor the page load speed, rating in SERPs, click-through rates, and so on.
  • Don’t overpower competence in the workplace — this rule of thumb is commonly overlooked by traditional teams. Boosting competence might be a positive factor for the crew’s motivation, but not in the long run. Matching your corporate culture and personalizing individual effort in the working environment will be more sufficient.
  • Open communication — you aren’t in the playground, where keeping secrets will save you from nagging from your mum or dad. In agile software development, it is another must-have essential to implement. Constructive dialogs about current achievements are as important as the analysis of mistakes and errors. Work on positive resolution of conflicts to inspire idea sharing.

Will agile philosophy work for your business?

Given that agile methodologies aren’t one-fits-all-needs as they are, several brands don’t even try to take a sneak peek at the changes this strategy promotes. Before embracing innovations in your team’s workflow, take your time to conduct in-depth research on how ready you are to accept these rules of the game:

  • If your field isn’t heavy on innovations and doesn’t require quick responses to its ever-changing trends and requirements, classic teamwork styles will be quite efficient. On the contrary, the more operational challenges you face because of constant evolution in the target environment, the more advantageous accepting the agile standards will turn out to be.
  • Agile methodologies require diligence, a lot of time, and effort to be successful. For startups who don’t quite get their place in the market, it might be more beneficial to test the benefits of the discovery phase first. During this stage, team members work on data research and prepare documentation that will assist in creating a minimum viable product. This way, it won’t be extremely challenging to get ready for the future release of their IT product in a new market.
  • Agile implies personalization for a reason. If you don’t have enough resources to allocate resources to representatives with preferred skill sets, outsourcing may be more efficient in bringing peace of mind. For complex projects, agile techniques will be the right answer. However, simple applications don’t require the same level of meticulousness and precaution.
  • Becoming an agile team also means changing your tool stack with more sufficient means of communication and content management. If your current system isn’t ready for a huge change, it is better to take one step at a time and work on enhancing the quality of your technological background and database first. Otherwise, agile principles provide A+ results in embracing new performance and management strategies.


What contributes to the team’s agility?

There are several factors that distinguish an agile team from a traditional crew in software development, including high elements of self-organization and self-direction with the practices of shared leadership in mind. They involve stakeholders in their operational processes, providing access to different IT product development phases, sharing a demo sandbox for suggestions and updates from stakeholders, and so on. Agile teams value customer-oriented tools and instruments, as well as pursue quick adaptability, transparency, and efficient collaboration standards.

What are the operational dynamics of an agile software development staff?

Agile teams take the most out of separate phases of IT product development and work on each stage from two weeks to a month. During so-called sprints, they combine the best practices of data research, analytics, QA testing, and coding to present flexible and customizable project drafts. Every phase ends with feedback and a review of the former results to plan what else needs to be completed during the next sprint.

How can an agile team be constructed to optimize the overall performance?

Advanced project and team management processes are the main traits of agility in software development. Establishing effective and transparent means of communication in a trust-based workplace comes first. An in-depth understanding of every employee’s skill set helps define their roles and achieve the most prominent results. It is recommended to set clear and measurable objectives for cross-functional crews involved in the target project.

What are the most advantageous agile software development practices?

The agile mindset is what levels up the performance of such crews. Not only do they value data clarity and transparency, but they also make their goals measurable. They divide project-related processes into individual stages, which streamlines the path from creating a custom solution from scratch to release. In turn, these modifications lead to a faster delivery of the IT product tailored to market requirements and end-user needs.

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