Which Roles are Needed to Successfully Deliver a Software Project?

software project

Before starting a project, the most essential thing is to determine which roles are needed to successfully deliver a software project. Of course, the key people in software development are programmers. But ask yourself, is that enough? Do you need help from other experts in achieving your project goals?

The truth is, the success of a software project depends on the right people involved in it and positioned in the right places. In addition to software developers, you may need a team of people from different areas of expertise such as product owners, scrum masters, QA engineers, UX designers, etc.

If these roles are not assigned, poorly selected, or responsibilities incorrectly defined, you can end up failing to achieve your objectives. Instead, you can think one step ahead and take advantage of the Scrum methodology.

Scrum as a Methodology to Deliver Software Projects

Once a project is not implemented successfully, we can blame everyone for the failure. For instance, business owners can blame developers, managers, or other team members.

It may sound strange to you, but scrum methodology wants you to fail. Failure is a good thing, as long as you are learning from it. Blaming other people is not ok since it indicates that something is wrong with your process of delivering projects. This is exactly where scrum comes into play!

Scrum is a framework that brakes complex software projects into small pieces and allows team members to deliver value in a collaborative environment. Instead of blaming each other, the framework promotes a culture of collaboration within the team.

Size of a Scrum Team and Required Roles

How do we determine the proper size of a scrum team? The number of team members varies, depending on your project size. However, take into account that every scrum team needs to have a product owner, a scrum master, and a team of developers

The theory would say that the product owner and the scrum master are distinct roles, which shall be performed by different persons. Our approach is different as we unite these roles in what we call the “Delivery Manager”. 

However, let’s stick with the proper theory in the following: The product owner (PO) ensures the team works on the right priorities and achieves the highest possible quality. The scrum master is oriented towards coaching the whole team and ensuring that procedures are followed such that the collaboration is efficient. Both roles are 100% committed to the team.

Generally, the ideal size of a scrum team is around seven members. Since this depends on the project size, it might be recommended to adhere to the following guidelines:  

  • Smaller projects – PO, scrum master, and two developers
  • Medium and large projects –  PO, scrum master, five or more developers

As you can see, only the number of developers varies. The number of other roles stays the same. Keeping your scrum team simple can help you move forward toward your goals. 

Too many roles can only distract your team members from their responsibilities and bring confusion within the team. This is also why we unite the role of the PO and the scrum master and call it the “Delivery Manager”.

Scrum Team Roles

Before defining scrum team roles, you should understand how the team members will work together. Undoubtedly, to deliver great software products, each team member should know their own responsibilities. 

Equally important, scrum represents a better way of developing software by doing your own tasks and helping others in doing theirs. Under those circumstances, team members are expected to exceed their role’s responsibilities and help others contribute to the project.

Sometimes, it can be challenging to find people who really live this work philosophy. This is why some companies outsource software development to companies that have adopted Scrum principles.

Read next: Best IT outsourcing strategies in Western Europe  

Product Owner

The product owner (PO) ensures the highest possible value of a product is being delivered to the users. Technically, this role requires managing the product backlog and creating user stories. But the role of the PO is more than that.

To understand this role better, here are the main product owner tasks

  • Setting project goals
  • Making strategic decisions
  • Filling the backlog of work and prioritizing tasks
  • Working closely with the developers to determine what has been done
  • Organizing sprints to see what can be done in the following period
  • Communicating with users and other stakeholders to collect feedback 

Scrum Master

The scrum master is in charge of solving day-to-day issues and helping the scrum team progress without distractions. To succeed in this, a scrum master needs to have advanced Scrum knowledge and communication skills to spread the knowledge within the team. 

Here are the main responsibilities of the scrum master role:

  • Making sure that the Scrum methodology is followed and the collaboration is efficient
  • Moderating Scrum meetings and coaching other participants
  • Working closely with the PO to keep the product backlog effective
  • Staying regularly in touch with the team via video calls or chat
  • Supporting open dialog and removing any roadblocks

Software Developer

A scrum software development team is a group of people skilled enough to jointly build software products. However, this team does not always contain just software developers.

There are other roles beneficial for the software project like designers, software architects, or QA engineers.

UX/UI design is oftentimes an essential part of software development projects. Only a designer can see a product through the eyes of end users. This is why this role is very important to the scrum team whenever the product has a front end. 

Testing has to go in parallel with the development, so having a QA engineer as a part of the scrum team is a good idea. The QA specialist is accountable for conducting tests to ensure the product runs smoothly before entering the market.

Note that most projects will require the software architect and DevOps engineer roles. A software architect helps the team to define the main structures of the software, including interfaces, APIs, etc. The role requires a high level of technical knowledge since taking these choices is only possible by thinking many steps ahead in the software development process.

A DevOps engineer manages the infrastructure of the software, including the different environments, deployment of new releases, and ensures principles like CI/CD are met. This also includes monitoring the system and suggesting plans for enhancements.

Additionally, some projects require adding a data scientist or machine learning engineer to your team. They drive decision-making in your team by collecting and analyzing large amounts of data and developing the algorithms to solve the toughest problems.

Apart from the tech skills, all these people need to have a deep understanding of the Scrum methodology. Whether we are talking about programmers, software architects, or UX designers, a scrum developer role consists of the following activities: 

  • Converting the sprint backlog items into software features
  • Accomplishing goals defined for each sprint
  • Setting up goals for the next sprint through backlog grooming
  • Understanding and following user stories
  • Attending daily scrum meetings and reporting any problems
  • Working together with the rest of the team in closing daily tasks

 

How Can Creen Help You

If you are having trouble managing your projects, outsourcing can be the right answer for you. Our company strongly believes in the Scrum methodology (or broadly speaking: agile software development). This is why this principle is grounded in all our software development processes.

We are a full-service vendor with vast experience in developing software solutions. Do not hesitate to contact us if you: 

  • Do not have enough in-house tech talent
  • Have problems managing big and complex projects
  • Cannot meet your deadlines
  • Want to adopt the agile way of doing business

 

Conclusion

Starting a software project without pre-defined key roles could lead to failure. In fact, one of the most common misconceptions is that projects fail because of poor software developer skills. But the truth is, they fail because of poor management processes.

We do not want to underestimate the power of highly skilled people. However, without a system in which all these people will be positioned in the right places and guided by experienced managers, you cannot expect good results.

In this case, the Scrum framework is everything you need. It clearly defines three main roles responsible for a project’s success. Every scrum team should have a product owner, scrum master, and several developers, depending on the project size. 

The product owner reviews the team’s work and ensures the highest value is being delivered. The scrum master keeps the team working in a sustainable environment and removes all obstacles.  

The ideal size of a scrum team is around seven people including developers. The number of developers may vary because of different project needs. But one thing is for sure, to successfully deliver a software project you need the have all three aforementioned roles.

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