Last updated on January 23rd, 2022 at 08:39 am


Agile Development is more than just how your team works, it's about all elements from acquisition of the right development team to getting the product into your customers' hands.

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Agile frameworks have revolutionized the development space, creating better software and applications. Scrum, Kanban, and other methodologies are frequently employed to build digital platforms with users at the core of the experience. However, Agile development isn’t just about the workflow. If your team isn’t structured to meet the needs of the design process, you’ll fail to optimize your platform for success.

Getting your team structure right is vital in Agile development. First, you have to learn the roles and functions each member of the team will fulfill. From here, you can better for a streamlined and successful process. Meanwhile, tech and tips can help you improve staff performance through the benefits of Agile team management.

These are the elements of team structuring you need to keep in mind as you plan out your next development project.

Knowing the Roles

Team structure should be one of the first things you think about as you develop a business plan worthy of the title. Starting a business always begins with a plan, and your team is one of the core elements of that plan. By understanding all the roles you’ll need to fill — the budgets, responsibilities, and expectations of each of them — you can model in theory the process that you’ll follow during development.

Fortunately, there aren’t too many diverse roles to remember. Some of the most important people on an Agile development team include Product Owners, Scrum Masters, and Development Team Leads. But there’s plenty of overlap. The other people on the team support and fulfill many of these same tasks, keeping Agile development agile.

As you structure your team for successful development, however, it’s important to address these job titles and their roles within development:

Product Owner

The Product Owner is the bridge between the development team and the stakeholders involved in the project. This person — or group of people — takes responsibility for understanding the needs involved, ensuring that it will create value for target users, and managing the overall workflow of the project.

Because they don’t necessarily do the actual coding and IT work, these professionals can have backgrounds that align more closely with customer service and business administration. The essential functions of this role are its coordination with stakeholders and the implementation of a plan from a high level.

Coders discussing programming language

Scrum Master

Then, there’s the Scrum Master. Scrum is popular as a method of structuring Agile development with incremental deliverables. This allows a team to get feedback with each timed development sprint, which helps them to more closely align themselves with customer needs through greater collaboration.

A Scrum Master takes on the responsibility of organizing development into a Scrum structure, with sprints containing clearly defined dates and goals. As part of this work, the Scrum Master educates others on Scrum methodology, hosts daily stand-up meetings, and otherwise eliminates obstacles to Scrum success.

This role differs in a Kanban Agile development process, however. No one person is assigned the goal of structuring a process flow. Instead, the team fulfills tasks more organically, around assignments on a task board. Your own team structure will depend on the framework you prefer.

Development Team Lead

Finally, the development team lead will be instrumental in keeping development on task and efficient. There might be one or more team lead on a project depending on its size and the organization of your business. Leads are vital when it comes to solving day-to-day challenges and arbitrating decisions. Where Product Owners and Scrum Masters have more specialized project oversight, the team lead will be responsible for reviewing his or her immediate team.

But as you consider how you want to structure your team, you might ask yourself whether you need all these professionals on staff. Contractors may come into play. Meanwhile, supportive technology can help you streamline team management in an Agile framework.

Team of attorneys

Tech and Tips for an Agile Team Structure

To maximize your potential as you structure your dev team, you’ll need to implement all the best tools and practices. These are resources that will help you facilitate success in a remotely working world, all while following an Agile methodology.

The following are just a few examples of technologies and tips you can employ to enhance the development process:

  1. Don’t neglect the importance of the Product Owner. This team member should have the time, platform, and resources to clarify expectations and priorities between clients and developers.
  1. Use project management and burndown chart software. GitLab, Hygger, and thousands of other platforms are out there to help streamline and visualize Agile development. Project management software allows you to easily track workflow on task boards, while burndown chart tools give you a greater sense of work necessary in a certain timeframe.
  1. Know when to outsource. Not all your Agile development work has to happen in-house. You can turn to third parties and contractors to fulfill client needs if your team structure won’t support new employees just yet. Additionally, Agile development allows others to outsource business solutions to developers.
  1. Conduct sprint retrospectives. You’ll likely utilize sprints in Agile development, but not every developer takes the time to conduct retrospectives. This entails reviewing past sprints or projects to assess how the process and outcomes can be improved.
  1. Give your team the resources they need to succeed. From accessibility accommodations to virtual meeting platforms that everyone can comfortably navigate, you need to provide for your team to enable their success. Start with an empathetic work environment that is as agile in solving employee challenges as it is client ones.

Agile development supports greater solutions when it comes to user-focused software. However, your team must be structured in a manner best suited to efficiency and quality.

Start by understanding the roles. The Product Owner is responsible for the stakeholder relations and relaying their needs to the team. Meanwhile, the Scrum Master keeps the Agile framework on track. Then, development team leads monitor constant progress.

By staffing your workforce with experts in these fields, you ensure smoother development. Then, further support success with these technologies and tips. Team structure can make or break a product from the beginning, so begin your development plan with team structure in mind.

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Indiana Lee is a writer and journalist from the Pacific Northwest with a passion for covering workplace issues, social justice, environmental protection, and more. In her off time you can find her in the mountains with her two dogs. You can follow her work on Contently, or reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @indianalee3

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