When you assemble a team for your software project, the variety and number of suggested roles might be daunting, especially if you have not come across them before. However, any client needs to remember that every proposed role has a specific purpose and plays a crucial part in the success of your project. In this article, we list the most important roles that every software project has and explain their main responsibilities.
A product owner is a person who has the vision of the final product and is considered a key stakeholder throughout the development phase. The product owner’s main responsibility is to communicate this vision to the development team. It is up to the product owner to decide how the final product will function and he has the final say in making any decisions, especially the ones related to the product’s functionality. Naturally, a product owner joins the project from the very beginning and closely monitors it throughout the development process.
A product owner also closely collaborates with UX/UI designers and is the one who approves their ideas and suggestions. It is worth mentioning that a product owner can efficiently work by any project management model.
Main responsibilities of a product owner:
- Establishing efficient communication between the other stakeholders and the development team;
- Creating a list of project requirements
- Doing market research;
- Prioritizing project requirements;
- Defining user stories with the help of a business analyst;
- Iteration planning;
- Participating in team demo and retrospectives;
- Ensuring the final product meets their vision.
Project manager and/or scrum master
Another role critical to the project’s success is project manager. In projects by scrum, this role is called a scrum master - we will discuss it in more detail later.
A project manager takes a massive amount of responsibility for project planning and the organization of the workflow. A manager usually keeps an eye on the timely delivery of results, wise allocation of resources, assignment of the right people to the right tasks, and overall project execution. As well, a project manager communicates closely with the stakeholders to ensure the development process remains within the set requirements and the deadline.
Main responsibilities of a project manager:
- Working with a budget and its allocation;
- Resources allocation;
- Communication with stakeholders and further translation of their requirements to the development team;
- Management of the project workflow;
- Managing project timeline and deadlines;
- Change and risk management.
As the name suggests, a scrum master is a specialist who works in a scrum team only. This person teaches all team members a scrum methodology, makes sure that everyone understands scrum principles, and stays on the same page. While this role is, in a way, similar to the one of a project manager, there is a big difference between the two. A scrum master focuses on scrum only while a PM focuses on the whole project and all related business processes. You can read about the roles of a scrum master and a PM here.
Main responsibilities of a scrum master:
- Assistance in working by the scrum methodology;
- Monitoring the development process so it adheres to scrum principles;
- Communication with the development team;
- Facilitating and speeding up the work process.
In the IT industry, a business analyst acts as a liaison between a client and a development team whose main responsibility is working with the requirements and ensuring the development team understands the product owner’s vision and needs. A business analyst constantly communicates with stakeholders, collects their opinions, and then forms and prioritizes a list of requirements for the team. Such an approach allows everyone to stay on the same page, adds transparency to the development process, and helps avoid extra costs by eliminating vague and unclear requirements and tasks. You can read more about the role of a business analyst in this article.
Main responsibilities of a business analyst:
- Project analysis;
- Requirements management (collection and prioritization);
- Communication with stakeholders and the development team;
- Project estimation and monitoring.
A UX/UI designer in the development team is a person who is responsible for the look and feel of the application. While some clients can overlook the importance of good design, numerous studies confirm that even the smallest details can play a significant role in the number of conversions and user engagement. Therefore, it is important to pay due attention to the app’s design as other aspects of the development process.
What’s great about working with a UX/UI designer is that you don’t have to have a 100% clarified list of requirements - it will be enough to describe your overall idea, target audience, and your goal to achieve. It will then be up to the designer to do market research and come up with the most suitable solution that will stand out from the competition.
Main responsibilities of a UX/UI designer:
- Creating user-friendly and smooth user interface;
- Providing superior user experience;
- Making the product converting and appealing;
- Ensuring the user understands how to interact with the product and how to achieve their goals;
- Collecting client’s requirements and feedback and conducting market research.
A software architect is a person who makes high-level decisions about product design and introduces coding and technical standards. In the development team, a software architect not only defines the high-level structure of the whole system but also the way components will interact with each other. This role is somewhat a combination of a software engineer, designer, and negotiator and requires a great amount of responsibility.
Depending on the project size and complexity, a software architect may be a separate role or it can be performed by a senior developer. There are also different types of software architects:
- Enterprise architect: the role is similar to a tech leader;
- Solution architect: focuses on the business value of the solution;
- Technical architect: focuses on the technical aspects of a project (its implementation, maintenance, support).
Main responsibilities of an architect:
- Gathering and evaluating requirements;
- Making high-level decisions on the product architecture and design;
- Researching and introducing technical standards;
- Making decisions about the tech stack and deployment.
Software engineers are the backbone of any software project. They are the people who do all work related to actual project creation past the design stage: from implementing its business logic to adding UX/UI elements. There are two main types of software engineers needed:
- Backend-side developers: responsible for the server-side of the project, work with data (its collection, management, processing, and storage), and business logic of an app.
- Client-side developers: responsible for the implementation of the user interface and user experience and provide efficient communication between users and the product.
And obviously, there are dozens of programming languages and tools available and every project will require a specific set of tools, depending on the project size and complexity. When assembling a development team, a company first evaluates your project idea and then suggests corresponding specialists based on the needed skills and experience.
Main responsibilities of software developers:
- Turning client’s ideas into a working product;
- Creating and implementing product features;
- Ensuring users can easily communicate and interact with the product;
- Ensuring the product functions and looks as intended.
The role of a DevOps engineer is becoming increasingly popular these days among companies that work by the agile methodology. In simple words, a DevOps engineer connects a software development team with an IT operations team and significantly simplifies and speeds up the development process.
The main responsibility of a DevOps engineer is building a project infrastructure and setting up CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous delivery) pipelines. This specialist focuses on automation and maintenance and can perform a variety of different tasks, such as performance testing, optimization of release cycles, processes automation, and project management to a certain extent. A DevOps engineer usually joins the project at the beginning (to set up the infrastructure) and in the end but he can be present throughout the whole development process.
Main responsibilities of a DevOps engineer:
- Building a project infrastructure;
- Testing the performance of the product;
- Automation of processes;
- Project monitoring and reporting;
- Working on project security.
Quality Assurance is another must-have for any development team. QA specialists are responsible for the proper functioning of the product as they make sure there are no errors and bugs that cause product malfunctioning. As well, the QA team is responsible for product security which is crucial for any software product.
Here are the main aspects of the QA process:
- Functional testing: testing the app’s behaviour;
- Security testing: ensuring the app is protected from possible threats;
- Performance testing: evaluating the performance of the app and detecting any bottlenecks;
- Network connectivity testing: testing the app’s behaviour under different connectivity conditions;
- Usability testing: ensuring the app is user-friendly and engaging;
- Load testing: checking how the app behaves under different load conditions.
Also, note that there are manual testing and automatic testing options available - learn more about each in our article.
Contrary to common misconceptions, QA specialists often join the development team from the very beginning and work closely with business analysts during the preparatory stage of the project. QA specialists create a test plan and help define a list of requirements and tasks for software developers to work on. As well, it is highly recommended to do continuous testing. This allows testing your app throughout the development process and implementing any needed changes right after finding any bug or error. Such an approach allows saving up both the development and testing time and ensures the final product has a minimal number of errors.
Main responsibilities of QA engineers:
- Ensuring app’s security;
- Ensuring app’s error-free performance and UX;
- Detecting any flaws and errors and eliminating them.
The roles listed above are the most common that you’ll meet in a software project team. Note though that the composition of the development team will depend heavily on the development methodology (agile or waterfall), the project size, and complexity. In order to have the most efficient and skilled team, we advise you to first consult with the development company and discuss what kind of project you have in mind and what you hope to achieve. By knowing your business needs, a company will be able to compose a suitable development team that will 100% deliver the expected results. We also recommend checking out this article where we discuss different pricing models - it might happen that you will need extra talent during the development process (in addition to the composed team).