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What kind of a team do you need?

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In the real world, the terms ‘software developer’ or ‘software engineer’ are all encompassing labels used to describe developers who in reality, tend to specialise in various aspects of the software development process, more commonly referred to as the software development life cycle (SDLC).

When building a software product through a remote engineering partner, you will typically need a team that comprises the following roles, though perhaps to varying degrees.

  • Architect Complex software products are more than just the sum of their parts. They are also expensive investments in a company’s future, so it only makes sense to put a lot of thought into determining how the software is built, what the optimal tradeoff between cost, speed and future readiness is, and how features and upgrades will be carried out. It is an architect’s job to ponder and make these complex, strategic, and high level decisions that have wider implications on the overall project.
  • Technical lead The Technical lead of an engineering team is tasked with making low-level design decisions in line with the architect’s overall vision so that cohesiveness and conformity is maintained at all levels and stages of the project. Technical leads also write code, carry out R&D work when necessary, and work directly with engineers to review code and solve minor issues that may crop up.
  • Software engineers Engineers specialise in writing detailed code on behalf of your project, day in, day out. As part of their role, they will also test their code, typically focusing on the most common or expected journey of a user (the ‘happy path’).
  • Quality assurance While engineers typically test the happy path, quality assurance engineers (or QAs for short) test the product in much broader ways, including for compatibility across browsers, devices, and operating systems. QAs will test whether a piece of software works well if a user navigates through it in a logical manner, as well as if users follow unusual usage patterns.
  • Business analyst The best way to build complex software products is to break it down into smaller segments. This is what a business analyst specialises in. They will turn the complex maze of information that surrounds a project into a set of documents and blueprints that can be easily understood and incrementally implemented by the development team. For instance, when a product owner articulates their vision for the software project, the BA will work closely with the owner to understand the many intricacies of the project and will convert the idea into a list of features, logic and more that a developer would easily be able to access and make sense of.
  • Project manager: Software projects have a lot of moving parts and can be overwhelming. This is why all projects generally have a project manager who is in charge of the build. They own the delivery and communication between the client's team and the engineering team. In an engineering firm that follows an agile development methodology, the project manager also acts as a scrum master. Depending on the nature of the project, some remote product engineering agencies may choose to combine a project manager’s role with that of a business analyst in order to ensure that the project is run more efficiently.

In order to successfully build and launch any software product, all of the above roles and functions are necessary. But sometimes, you may possess in-house experts who can take on some of these responsibilities. In that case, try to build a complementary remote team in which personnel employed by the engineering partner collaborate with your own employees. If that is not feasible, try and look for a remote product engineering partner who can provide a team that comprises all the aforementioned roles. Camaraderie and teamwork are also other extremely important elements a team ought to possess. As a client, you can get better results when you treat your remote development team as a part of your own company, and not just an external service provider.

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