Table of Contents
- What Is an Agile Development Team?
- Agile Project Team Structure: 5 Types
- Whom to Hire to an Agile Team
- Agile Team Life Cycle
- Scaling Agile Teams: Beyond the Basics
- Agile & Cost-efficiency
Back in 2001, Agile adepts were black sheep. In 2023, not less than 71% of USA companies have agile software development teams, according to the statistics by Zippia. That statistics also say that Agile:
Accompanies 1,5х more successful projects than Waterfall;
Satisfies 98% of development teams that have tried it;
Brings up to 250% productivity growth.
Why? Because agile software development methodologies have emerged as the go-to solution for delivering high-quality software in shorter time frames.
We will show you how to organize the development team in agile mode for different projects and domains.
What Is an Agile Development Team?
In tech teams, sticking to old-school linear structures, specialists involved in software development receive project updates with some delay. Messages go through several stages before they get to the task performers. Those performers are on the back row of the development: some are happy to hide there, while others become inert and tired of peeking through the tops.
On the contrary, the agile team structure puts team members face to face. You may catch that idea in the name of the Agile framework for team communication, Scrum. The term comes from rugby, where it means restarting of the play. Athletes form a ritual circle with their bodies to advance the ball together.
Your move impacts your neighbor’s move… It reminds us of how project teams progress the product forward during Scrums. All the team members frequently discuss the project's scope changes and extensively groom backlog together.
A traditional team follows a lot of regulations and formalities. Imagine, you cook soup without pepper every day. Before adding pepper, you learn everything about pepper, approve adding peeper and create a document on how to use pepper. You may remain hungry.
When you want to create a new product or service, you need to think of flexibility to “add seasonings” to check what works better.
Agile development teams are practicians who improve their project far and wide in live mode, not when they receive a task to fix a certain bug. For example, they can quickly implement Azure B2C form for collecting user emails, notice its imperfections and switch to another solution. Standard Google forms also can help arrange the new urgent polls if the developers, now, have to finish deploying of the user feature that was announced to appear in the upcoming app version. In any case, lead generation department has new relevant contacts all the time. That would be an Agile approach.
An agile software development team consists of tech specialists with diverse skill sets working together towards a common goal. Developers, designers, testers, and others collaborate closely, allowing for faster decision-making and rapid product iteration.
Imagine a team where a talented UX designer works side by side with a skilled developer, enabling them to quickly iterate on user feedback. This collaboration breeds innovation, fosters a deep sense of ownership, and enhances the overall quality of the software.
Focus on the user
All the team members contribute to one user story. They are responsible for the end-to-end delivery of a particular feature, product, or service from conception to deployment.
To imagine product team structure, let's consider a healthcare software development project. One feature team might focus on building the patient registration module, while another team tackles the electronic medical records component. By aligning teams with specific features, stakeholders can enjoy faster feedback loops, reduced dependencies, and accelerated delivery.
Agile software development teams make autonomous decisions, plan work, and continuously improve their processes. They communicate regularly and do not require too much management. A flat hierarchy encourages trust, initiative, and a sense of pride in the work.
Agile Project Team Structure: 5 Types
Agile software development team structure depends on cost, resources, and project type. Thus, we can point out 5 main approaches to shaping team profile.
Generalist. “Jacks of all trades” with a broad understanding of various topics who can work on diverse tasks across many company sectors. This structure suits smaller teams and sales industries.
Specialist. Each team member contributes detailed insights in a separate area. This structure is mostly for larger teams and includes roles like programmers and database administrators.
Hybrid approach. Specialists focus on their areas, while generalists tie everything together. This structure offers flexibility and broader knowledge.
Members of a parallel agile development team swap the tasks. For example, those developing software during one iteration move to software testing in the next sprint. After such an extensive training, team members can adapt seamlessly to many new roles.
Subteams work on specific areas that form the overall project. This structure is a team within a team. It breaks down large projects and boosts visibility and accountability.
Agile teams also may be transitional, when a company is switching to Agile and has roles such as team leads, product owners, team members, and stakeholders. Larger teams have more roles, like independent testers and domain experts.
Whom to Hire to an Agile Team
When you find developers for startups and established businesses, you need to imagine the overall agile roles and responsibilities to unite the most matching people in one team. Agile methodology suggests transparent team structure.
The Scrum Master is a coach. They remove obstacles and motivate the team to follow Agile principles and practices, facilitate ceremonies and other meetings. 5 basic Agile ceremonies are Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective, Backlog Refinement.
The Product Owner prioritizes the product backlog, ensures that the team vision of the developed features matches the vision of stakeholders.
Scrum Team are the developers, designers, QA specialists, marketers, and the rest of team members doing the main work. They collaborate, share knowledge, and collectively take ownership of the work.
Scrum Master and Product Owner are part of a Scrum Team and could be replaced with one person, Agile Project Manager. They report to the Business Owner.
Stakeholders intervene only when it is necessary to correct the general course of the project.
Agile Team Life Cycle
The Agile team life cycle enables teams to deliver value in a dynamic and iterative manner.
Formation. Roles and responsibilities are defined, and team members establish initial communication and collaboration channels.
Sprint Planning. Together with the product owner, the team defines the scope of work for the sprint, prioritizes tasks, estimates time, and creates a sprint backlog.
Sprint Execution. Colleagues perform the tasks, following Agile principles and practices. They discuss progress daily to address challenges and support each other.
Sprint Review. The team presents their achievements to stakeholders and receives feedback. This feedback helps inform future iterations and improvements.
Sprint Retrospective. The team analyzes pitfalls to define how to enhance team performance and efficiency in subsequent sprints.
Iteration. The team repeats the sprint planning, execution, review, and retrospective processes for new iterations, continuously delivering incremental value.
Project Completion/Disbandment. When the project is nearing its end, the team focuses on wrapping up activities, documenting relevant information, and transits deliverables to stakeholders or other teams. Does an Agile team cycle end here? A team may disband or transition to new projects.
If you have such an opportunity, entrust the “old” team with a new project. People, who have worked in conditions of adaptability and continuous improvement, have managed to learn all the strengths and weaknesses of each other and can cope with the most challenging development in a comfortable rhythm.
Scaling Agile Teams: Beyond the Basics
As organizations grow and undertake more complex projects, expanding Agile teams becomes essential. Scaling approaches like Scrum of Scrums, LeSS (Large-Scale Scrum), and SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) help manage larger teams and coordinate efforts across multiple agile teams.
For instance, in the Scrum of Scrums approach, representatives from different teams come together to address dependencies, align priorities, and synchronize their work. That ensures seamless collaboration and enables organizations to tackle large-scale projects without sacrificing agility.
All together, agile methodology is popular, and it is easy to find developers, designers, and other tech team members, who have already gotten used to working in an Agile development team. So you have a huge choice of matching candidates for your vacancies.
And when you are seeking extra hands for specific implementations on Agile projects, IT staff augmentation goes smoothly even if we talk about a 3-month project. The agile style of thinking supports painless switching, not only between projects but also between companies.
Agile & Cost-efficiency
When it comes to estimating the cost of software development, the fixed price for the whole project is not about the Agile approach. Here, you gradually pay for the time and other resources engaged.
Agile suggests constant pulse checks, so you spend your budget on the tasks, which could bring results tomorrow, postponing less urgent ones.
It is not a trivial economy. If you want, you will make savings with any tech team structure you choose. But Agile means you calmly build your vector of success and change it when you need. That's what tech leaders say when we help them with IT staffing services for their Agile projects.
Agile and outstaffing offer easy access to the global job market. So both of them contribute to the same business value — result-oriented today instead of endless waiting for better conditions to launch a new app or, for example, enhance your IT service with AI features. At the same time, HR services provided by Outstaff Your Team have a flat price and don’t complicate your dynamic budget calculations. In case we start the tech team building journey together, you can rely on our 12-year expertise in the market, and get the qualified Agile developers and other tech staff.
What is DevOps vs. Agile team?
Agile is a project management approach focused on iterative development and customer value. DevOps is a cultural and operational philosophy that promotes collaboration and automated processes for faster and more reliable software delivery. Agile is a methodology, while DevOps is a set of practices.
What is the Bible of Agile development?
Agile Manifesto contains 12 principles that impact development and tech business in general. All the principles stand for a human approach to clients and colleagues, and meeting practical demands today. Striving for profit together with creating a perfect codebase and keeping backlog should not dominate.
Why should a product team structure be agile?
An agile team structure is perfect for small teams of up to 10 people. It suggests minimum bureaucracy and close collaboration. In such conditions, you can develop the product from scratch with focus on the result and quality product transformation because of free and productive ideas sharing.
Is it essential to cancel Agile practices when the project becomes stable?
No, it is not essential. By maintaining Agile practices, teams develop a habit to streamline their work. By staying Agile, tech companies remain flexible and adapt to market changes. Agile practices, like regular demos and user feedback sessions, help gather insights and make informed decisions. Agile rituals like daily stand-ups, retrospectives, and sprint planning contribute to better team connection.