11 April 2019

Software Development Team Roles and Responsibilities You Should Know


Software development team roles and responsibilities can be daunting at first, especially if you outsource your project to a remote development team for a first time.

To better understand why you need to hire certain specialists and what you’re actually paying for, I’ve came up with this short and sweet list of Scrum team roles. 

Why Scrum? Working with IT companies, you will most probably apply Agile software development methodology, and Scrum is a framework commonly used alongside this approach.

Plus, there’s no surprise in the following saying: ‘If you want to find something, you should know what you’re looking for’. The same thing goes with finding developers for your team, doing a specific task, or creating an application.

But developers are like athletes – they each have different specialisations and experience levels. And without being specific with your needs and expectations, such a search is … pointless.

For example, would you expect an Olympic marathon win from an amateur who trains twice a week for, let’s say, three years? Probably not.

Let’s say that you own a startup or SME, and you want to outsource some work. If you haven’t used such services before, you may not know the roles and responsibilities of each member of your remote development team.

Let me help you with that.

Scrum Team vs Traditional Team

First, let’s describe two alternative methods of conducting projects, which are de facto methods of project team building.

Scrum Team Structure

In a Scrum development team, there isn’t an organisational leader; it’s a self-managing team. There are team roles that don’t overlap with IT positions, and team members decide work principles on their own.

From the team members’ standpoint, it’s an enjoyable form of conducting a project because of significant degrees of autonomy, and a lack of external control elements. However, scrum development teams can’t be numerous (maximum of 9 people) and aren’t able to estimate labour costs precisely when it comes to long-term projects.

Although scrum development team is a self-managing one, you don’t need to worry about managing it. Scrum team structure ensures that there is a person responsible for the right flow of the project, and that everyone work according to a plan.

Traditional Development Team

A traditional development team, on the other hand, is built based on a proper hierarchy between team roles, so there are leaders and managers on a tree of relationships.

Such a team structure allows the project manager better control, through analysis. This too gives the possibility of reacting to threats beforehand.

The team itself may feel less comfortable, as frustrations among team members may increase over time. On the other hand, it’s always clear who is responsible for critical decisions and what the responsibilities are of all people involved.

Learn more about running IT projects and teams!


Software Development Team Roles and Responsibilities

Project Manager

Works on a higher level of abstraction and is responsible for a budget, risk, schedule and contract management. It’s highly possible that project managers don’t well-know the product which they are creating. They use different methodologies and are focused mainly on controlling the project.

A PM will ensure that there will be no changes incompatible with specifications.

Product Owner

Such a person is close to that of an analyst and concentrates on a product and its features. Their primary role is to take care of business value maximisation (suitability of the product to use). Product owners are focused on constant changes because they are using agile methodology.

Team Lead

Typically, such a role is given to one of the developers, not necessarily the best or most experienced. This person should have leadership qualities which allow for maintaining communication between remote development teams and for example – clients.

Team leads ensure that the team has sufficient performance levels and is also responsible for conflict prevention and resolution.

Tech Lead

Some time ago we would use the term ‘architect’ instead of tech lead. Nowadays, ‘analyst’ fits better. But who is this? It is, in fact, the ‘lead example’ when it comes to technical knowledge of team members.

Tech leads can solve problems not linked with the development process itself, i.e. issues connected with the integration with external providers, or those regarding hardware.

Full-Stack Developer

It’s a programmer not specialised in one specific area. Because of this, a full stack developer may appear less-advanced than a front-end or back-end developer. However, thanks to a broad range of knowledge and skills, they can implement a solution on every architectural layer of the system (view, business logic, database).

In less complex, demanding projects where costs play a huge role, a full stack developer is indispensable.

Front-end Developer

Front-end developers are the point of contact between the end client (user) and the delivered business solution (a system undergoing implementation). Such a person must, on the one hand, provide the best possible application reception by the user (interface responsiveness, content clarity). On the other hand, they’re responsible for proper communication with the business logic layer.

Back-end Developer

It’s a programmer focused mainly on developing business logic and data layers. And because elements are crucial to system functioning; its correctness depends on the quality of back-end developer’s work.

What’s more, in a case of larger, more complex systems, such developer’s capabilities of building data queries (i.e. SQL) and its optimisation are of enormous value.

QA Lead

Quality Assurance Lead is responsible for building the QA team and its management. One of their most crucial responsibilities is to ensure a proper relationship level between persons accountable for areas of the system under construction. In the end, it’s a QA manager who is primarily responsible for end users’ reactions to the brand-new system.

QA Lead, similarly, to a Team Lead, is a person accountable for proper relations between QA team members, mitigation of conflicts, praising good work, and motivating to further self-development.

QA Engineer

It’s a person responsible for preparing tools that allow for automating processes which verify software quality. Such a form of software testing makes it possible to check if regression errors occur. In other words, to check if work on new features didn’t cause errors in already existing and functioning system areas.

It’s a huge benefit as it lowers staff costs (duplicative testing performed by testers) and shortens stability verification time.


Testers fulfil an otherwise necessary role in the QA team. They are responsible mainly for conducting manual tests, that is system verification by using it analogically, as opposed to how end users will operate it. Apart from a most-likely standard approach to using particular features, a tester must propose alternative paths, boundary conditions, and exceptions which will help to eliminate as many existing errors as possible.

UI Designer

The primary duty of the UI designer is to prepare, or design, the user interface. This means transferring content, style, graphics connected with a client or product to a system presentation layer. Thanks to prototyping tools, such a person can – together with a client – prepare a template of the application’s user interface.

Later, together with a UX designer and front-end developer, this member will work on providing a solution to continue per expectations and requirements.

UX Designer

Contrary to the UI designer, it’s a function characterised by a less ‘digital’ approach to a user interface. The UX designer – whereby UX means User Experience – must make sure that end users will have the best possible experience while using an application.

Such person-based work not only consists of analysing user behaviour. It also takes into consideration what the competition is doing, and continuously changing human-computer interaction methods.

Find a Remote Development Team You Can Trust

Are you ready to hire a Scrum development team for your next project? Or perhaps you have some questions before making your final decision? 

Now, as you learned about Software development team roles and responsibilities, you can make more conscious decision about your team structure.

Uncover the advantages of the Extended Team Model


Karol Parafianowicz
Senior Project Manager