Agile Development

How to Structure a Software Development Team?





Agile Development


How to Structure a Software Development Team?

Published: 2023/05/24

8 min read

Imagine that you have a fantastic product idea and are ready to make it happen. Or you’ve envisioned a software solution that can revolutionize your business processes. Or you’re planning a digital transformation for your company. If you’re new to software development, bringing your ideas to life can be daunting. Creating a software development team organization with a dedicated development team seems like the right move, but how do you assemble the perfect team? And what should your software development team structure look like? We understand your confusion. In the following sections, we’ll answer all the essential questions and explain how to build a successful product development team. 

Main approaches to a product team structure

Putting together a software development team is influenced by various factors like the complexity of your software, time constraints, and budget considerations. Your development approach directly impacts workflows and team composition, and your project management approach determines the team size, member responsibilities, and team dynamics. A typical software development team structure analyzes prerequisites, determines team size, and ensures all necessary roles are covered. And by leveraging project management software, you gain smoother operations, increased transparency, and more efficient communication.  

Read more: Most popular software development models

A product team’s software development organizational structure plays a crucial role in determining how work is organized, collaboration is fostered, and projects are executed. Over time, several approaches to team structure have emerged, each with its own characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. Three prominent models are the generalist approach, the specialist approach and the hybrid approach. Let’s take a deeper look at all three: 

Generalist Approach 

The Generalist approach to team structure emphasizes cross-functional skills and a broad range of expertise among team members. In this model, individuals are not confined to specific roles or responsibilities but possess diverse skill sets that enable them to contribute across different project areas. Team members are often encouraged to take on multiple tasks and roles as needed. 


  • Cross-functional skills: Team members have a broad range of skills and can work on various aspects of a project. 
  • Flexibility: Generalists can adapt to changing project requirements and fill gaps in knowledge or expertise. 
  • Collaboration: The emphasis on cross-functional skills promotes collaboration and knowledge sharing among team members. 
  • Rapid iterations: Generalists can simultaneously work on multiple project parts, facilitating quick iterations and feedback loops. 


  • Increased flexibility: Generalists can handle a broader range of tasks, which reduces dependencies and bottlenecks. 
  • Improved collaboration: Team members with diverse skills can work together more effectively, leading to better problem-solving and innovation. 
  • Agility: Adapting and switching roles quickly enables a team to respond promptly to changing project needs. 


  • Lack of specialization: Generalists may need deep expertise in specific areas, which could limit their ability to tackle complex or specialized tasks. 
  • Longer learning curves: Generalists may require more time to acquire new skills or become proficient in unfamiliar areas. 
  • Potential for skill gaps: The breadth of skills may lead to a lower level of mastery in specific domains, which can affect the quality of deliverables. 

Specialist Approach 

The Specialist approach focuses on assembling a team of individuals with specialized expertise in specific areas. Each team member has a clearly defined role and is responsible for a particular aspect of a project. Specialists possess in-depth knowledge and skills in their respective domains, which enable them to deliver high-quality work in their areas of expertise. 


  • Specialized expertise: Team members have deep knowledge and skills in specific domains. 
  • Clear role definition: Each team member has a well-defined role and responsibilities. 
  • Depth of knowledge: Specialists possess extensive experience and can provide valuable insights and solutions in their areas of expertise. 


  • Considerable expertise: Specialists excel in specific areas, leading to high-quality deliverables. 
  • Efficient task execution: By focusing on their areas of expertise, specialists can work efficiently and deliver results more quickly. 
  • Reduced training time: Specialists require less training as they already possess advanced domain skills.


  • Limited flexibility: Specialists may need help working outside their areas of expertise, leading to dependencies and bottlenecks. 
  • Communication barriers: Collaboration between specialists from different domains may require extra effort to bridge communication gaps. 
  • Potential for silos: Specialization can lead to isolated knowledge and a lack of cross-domain understanding, which may hinder overall project understanding. 

Hybrid Approach 

The Hybrid approach combines elements of both the Generalist and Specialist models. It is a very modern software development team structure that aims to balance broad skills and specialized expertise within a team. In this approach, team members have primary areas of specialization but also possess secondary skills or a more comprehensive understanding of related domains. The Hybrid approach encourages flexibility, while leveraging the benefits of specialization. 


  • Primary specialization: Team members have well-defined areas of expertise or primary skills. 
  • Secondary skills: Team members possess secondary skills or a broader understanding of related domains. 
  • Flexibility: This approach allows flexibility in adapting to changing project requirements or tasks. 


  • Versatility: The Hybrid approach combines the advantages of both Generalist and Specialist models, offering versatility in handling different aspects of a project. 
  • Skill diversity: The team benefits from a diverse skill set, which enables them to tackle a broader range of tasks or challenges. 
  • Knowledge sharing: Secondary skills and broader understanding facilitate knowledge sharing within the team, promoting cross-functional collaboration. 


  • Potential skill gaps: Depending on the team composition, there may be limitations in specialized expertise compared to a thorough Specialist team. 
  • Training and development: Maintaining and developing secondary skills may require additional training and resources. 
  • Complexity in coordination: Coordinating team members with different primary and secondary skills may require careful planning and communication. 

Read more: Onboarding a Software Outsourcing Team in 3 Easy Phases. 

Roles and responsibilities in a software development team

Then, knowing this, how do we structure a software development team? A typical software developer team structure is composed of various roles that collectively work towards building high-quality software products. Here are some key roles within a software development team hierarchy: 

Business Analyst

Business analysts play a crucial role in understanding customer needs, market trends, and business requirements. They bridge the gap between stakeholders and the development team by analyzing, documenting, and translating customer needs into detailed requirements. 

Product Owner 

Product owners are responsible for defining and communicating the product vision, prioritizing features and ensuring customer satisfaction. By effectively prioritizing user stories and aligning development efforts with customer needs, product owners ensure the delivery of a valuable and successful product. 

Project Manager 

Project managers oversee the entire software development project, ensuring its timely completion, managing resources, and coordinating team members. They plan, organize, and control project activities, facilitating communication and making critical decisions to keep the project on track. 

UX/UI Designer 

UX/UI designers focus on creating visually appealing and user-friendly interfaces. They conduct user research, create wireframes and design prototypes to enhance the user experience.  

Software Architect 

Software architects are responsible for designing the software system’s overall structure and technical framework. They make crucial decisions regarding technology stack, architecture patterns, and system scalability.  

Software Developers 

Software developers are the backbone of a well-built structure for software development as  they are responsible for writing the code that brings the software to life. But many often need clarification about what makes a good software engineer. What is the ideal software dev team size, and how many software developers in a team This is what makes building a dedicated developers’ team structure so tricky. This is where a good software development partner can help. 

Software Testing Engineer 

Software testing engineers are responsible for ensuring the quality and functionality of a software product. They create test plans, execute test cases and report defects.  

Test Automation Engineer 

Test automation engineers specialize in designing and developing automated test scripts. They leverage testing frameworks, tools and programming languages to automate repetitive and time-consuming test scenarios. Automating tests improves efficiency, reduces manual effort and facilitates faster and more accurate testing. 

DevOps Engineer 

DevOps engineers focus on the collaboration between development and operations teams, aiming to streamline software delivery and enhance the overall development process. 

A proper structure of a software development team is composed of engineers who work together in a coordinated manner to ensure efficient software development, from understanding customer needs to designing, implementing, testing, and deploying high-quality software solutions. Each role brings its unique expertise, contributing to the success of the development team and the ultimate satisfaction of the end-users.

Download Your Essential Guide to Cloud Migrations and Optimizations

Tips on building an agile software development team

What are Agile development team structures? Agile is a methodology that has gained significant popularity in the software development industry due to its ability to promote flexibility, collaboration, and rapid iteration. But how do you ensure it is done right?  

When building an Agile software development team structure, there are several essential tips and considerations to remember. Partnering with software development outsourcing services is a great way to get your needed help. Before you do, take note of some tips on how to build an Agile software development team and learn a bit more about how it differs from traditional work models: 

Emphasize cross-functional collaboration 

It is essential to bring together individuals with diverse skills and expertise. Encourage collaboration between developers, testers, designers and other stakeholders to foster a holistic approach to problem-solving. By promoting cross-functional partnerships, team members can share knowledge, leverage different perspectives, and work together towards achieving common goals. 

Foster self-organizing teams 

Agile teams are typically self-organizing, meaning they have the autonomy to make decisions and manage their work processes. Instead of rigidly assigning tasks, empower team members to take ownership of their work and collaborate to determine the best approach for achieving project objectives.  

Prioritize frequent communication 

Agile methodologies emphasize regular and transparent communication within the team and with stakeholders. Encourage open and honest communication channels, such as daily stand-up meetings or virtual collaboration tools, to facilitate information sharing, progress updates, and issue resolution.  

Embrace iterative and incremental development 

Agile teams work in short development cycles known as sprints, where they deliver incremental pieces of functionality. This iterative approach allows for continuous feedback from stakeholders and enables the team to make adjustments and refinements. Embracing this gradual development process helps mitigate risks, adapt to changing requirements and deliver value to customers more quickly. 

Foster a culture of continuous improvement 

Agile teams strive for continuous improvement through regular retrospectives. These meetings provide an opportunity to reflect on the team’s processes, identify areas for enhancement, and implement changes to optimize productivity and quality. Encourage a culture of learning and experimentation, where team members are encouraged to share insights, experiment with new techniques and continuously refine their practices. 

By implementing these tips and embracing Agile principles, you can build a high-performing software development team that thrives in a dynamic and rapidly evolving environment. 


When building your software company team structure, it is crucial to analyze the prerequisites of your project, including its complexity, time constraints, and allocated budget. These factors directly impact the size and composition of your team and the choice between different software development approaches. Moreover, choosing effective methodologies can help reduce expenses without compromising quality, enabling incremental delivery and the prioritization of critical features. 

At Software Mind, we understand that the success of your project heavily relies on your development team’s organizational structure and how your team members’ roles align with your business objectives. By carefully considering the information presented here and seeking the right partner, you can lay the foundation for a successful software development journey and confidently bring your ideas to life.

About the authorSoftware Mind

Software Mind provides companies with autonomous development teams who manage software life cycles from ideation to release and beyond. For over 20 years we’ve been enriching organizations with the talent they need to boost scalability, drive dynamic growth and bring disruptive ideas to life. Our top-notch engineering teams combine ownership with leading technologies, including cloud, AI, data science and embedded software to accelerate digital transformations and boost software delivery. A culture that embraces openness, craves more and acts with respect enables our bold and passionate people to create evolutive solutions that support scale-ups, unicorns and enterprise-level companies around the world. 

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter

Most popular posts