The Web Development Team Structure You Should Know as a Stakeholder
07 September 2020
As a stakeholder, naturally you want your SaaS company to succeed. One of the most important factors for this success is your web development team. When you start a new project development process, it’s important to think about team structure, as well as the budget. You also have to find the optimal size and skill set of your web development team. How can you do this effectively?
Firstly, you need a sound knowledge of the basics of website development. Then it’s important to know well the web developers who are part of your web development team, in order to solve any problems that might arise. This will enable you to communicate efficiently with your team throughout the entire process.
Many people ask questions such as: ‘How is the development process arranged?’, ‘What are specialists in my web development team responsible for?’ and ‘what are the specific roles for each team member?’
This article created by our team at TMS is designed to answer the questions you might have about the web development team structure.
How To Find Success with Your Web Development Team Structure
The hiring process is often challenging, even more so when you are seeking a web development team structure that matches your needs. A lot of research is required on each individual to find information such as client satisfaction ratio, past website development projects, and other crucial aspects.
A web development team needs to have a core skill set, consisting of:
- Strategy and Planning
- Project Management
- Information Architecture and User Interface Design
- Graphic Design
- Web Technology
- Site Production
In a small project, some team members may assume multiple roles. However, in larger website development projects, each role is filled by a separate individual. In more specialized skill areas, you may need different people at different phases of the project.
So, it’s vital to find the best candidates, with plenty of experience and a great work ethic.
Preferably try to recruit team members with at least 5 years of experience in their domain. It’s also useful to employ former employees of large companies that have a great workplace culture.
As a stakeholder, you should set some clear targets and viable deadlines, to ensure your web development team stays focused and motivated. Keep in mind that every company is different and all offer different services, so the members of your web development team will vary. However, the following are the key team roles needed by every web development team:
- Requirements analyst
- Project manager
- Information Architect
- UI/UX designer
- Web developers
- QA engineer
- User Acceptance Tester
The Role of the Project Stakeholder (or Project Sponsor)
The project stakeholder is responsible for the project’s initiation. It can be an individual or a group of people. The stakeholder is usually the client or customer. In smaller projects, the positions of the stakeholder and the manager of the project are usually held by the same person.
The sponsor oversees the whole project and provides its purpose. They’re also responsible for the budget, as well as approving the work plan. They provide the resources to help the web development team.
The three different types of stakeholders are:
- Primary Stakeholders
- Secondary Stakeholders
- Key Stakeholders
The primary stakeholders are directly affiliated with the project, thus any decision or outcome will either benefit or harm them. Such stakeholders are usually shareholders, top managers, team members, and have a financial interest in the project.
The secondary stakeholders are the people who are not directly interested in the project but do have influence over the project. Examples of secondary stakeholders include clients, vendors, competitors, the government, and others.
The Role of Key Stakeholders
The key stakeholders can influence whether the project is successful or not. They are directly affected by the project and can belong to both primary stakeholder and secondary stakeholder groups.
The requirements analyst is the primary member of your web development team and you’ll contact them first.
Their job is to turn your ideas into reality, by understanding what your project should look like, then to pass this information to the rest of the web development team.
The main task of the analyst is to communicate with you, to understand what are your project goals and aspirations. They will then analyze this information and convert it into technical specifications, which will be sent to the web development team, to prepare for the project. The analyst needs to consider factors such as: “What goal will a user accomplish with this feature?” or “What architecture do you want to use on your project?” This helps the requirements analyst to determine certain features of your project, who will then advise you of any other available features you might need.
Generally, these specialists help large teams optimize and speed up their work, so this requirement is not directly necessary for every in-house team.
The Importance of the Project Manager
A project manager is like a conductor for your web development team orchestra. Their initial task is to get acquainted with the technical specifications and the project’s deadline. They will then prepare a project plan and divide it into stages (also known as sprints), based on the information given to them. During the project, the manager coordinates and communicates with the entire web development team, and sets goals and achievable deadlines for the different stages of the project.
The project managers make sure that your project is delivered on time, and ensure that it corresponds with your requirements. If something fails, they will try to mitigate or fix the problem.
Project managers can be either in-house or remote, and their means of communication will depend on their whereabouts, i.e. face to face collaboration or via the Internet.
The project manager is not part of the hands-on production team in large-scale projects. Whereas in smaller in-house projects, the sponsor may act as the project manager of the web development team. They create and maintain the plans for the project. They also create any project documentation that contains details of the web development team’s activities.
Designers and web developers regularly deal with information architecture and require a variety of tools and resources for the various stages of the project, which require expert knowledge for correct operation. Information architecture is complex and contains many intricate details, enabling the user to know exactly what’s required for the website or app.
They organize and categorize the structure and the content of the development project, and are generally most active during the early stages of the project. Their job is to develop site architecture diagrams that explain the overall site planning to both the sponsor and the web team members.
The architects work closely with the project designers. Together, they create page wireframes, which show how each page will be used, and are the link between the architecture of the website and what the user sees on each page. This determines the user’s ease of access to the website’s content and features.
They carefully analyze and research exactly what users need, and design the content to enable them to best find relevant content.
They must deliver the relevant charts and diagrams, ranging from page wireframes to architecture overviews. These visual representations are crucial for enabling both sponsors and the web team to understand the structure of the website. They are especially important for back-end developers.
Understanding the UI/UX Designer
The design is the most important part of the whole project. The two different types of design found in website or web application projects are the user interface (UI) and the user experience (UX) design.
Most web development teams, both small-scale and large-scale ones, have one designer for both of these team roles. You’ll rarely see one designer exclusively for the UI and another one for the UX.
The initial task of any UI/UX designer is to examine the project requirements, as well as finding out who the target audience is. This approach helps them identify the difficulties that the users might face, so any problems can be solved quickly and effectively.
There’s a clear difference between UX and UI. The main process of UX is researching, to inform them how to structure the website or web application better so that it will have a great user experience. Whereas the focus of UI is visual appearance, including color schemes, fonts, and icons. This way, the designer can compile all the information from the research (UX) and test its usability (UI).
In order to achieve the best product, if you have only one of these guys, then the designer should have a sound knowledge of both UX and UI.
The Importance of Front-End Developers
The front-end developers are responsible for the programming of the website. After they receive the prototype from the designers they recreate it in a website form, to ensure your website has the best possible appearance and function.
Every front-end developer should be able to communicate well and collaborate with back-end developers and designers. Thus ensuring all the stages of the project are consistent.
The Work of a Back-End Developer
The back-end developer is one of the most important members of your web development team structure. The back-end developer makes sure that everything on the back-end of the product is functioning well, usually referring to the database, servers, and any server-side applications.
Back-End Developers are vital for your web development project, by creating the server-side of a website or an app. They are usually proficient in PHP, Python, Java, .NET, or Ruby, and know how to use all the necessary tools and web app frameworks, to ensure the full functioning of the website.
The back-end developer ensures that data travels safely from the back-end to the front-end, and ensures .everything stays secure and stable on the server-side of the product.
The Role of Quality Assurance Engineer
Testing is essential before your product is released to the public, so every web development team has a quality assurance engineer (also known as QA engineer). QA engineers design and execute tests during the whole development process, to guarantee the product meets your set requirements. They also work on preventing any possible bugs and give much-needed feedback on the product.
Professional QA engineers will notice any faulty code at different stages of the development, thus can save you both time and money, so it’s important to choose someone who is properly qualified.
Having a User Acceptance Tester
With your website or web application almost ready, it needs to have some final testing to ensure that the product works and can be used efficiently.
A User Acceptance Tester (UTA) is employed at this stage to check if the product is fully functional. Also known as beta testers, UTAs are a great way of testing your web application in the real world. It’s important to set aside enough time to include the beta testing into your production schedule.
Ending thoughts on the web development team structure
This article has explored the roles and responsibilities of every individual on a web development team, the structure of which can vary depending on the size of your project.
If you enjoyed reading this article on web development team structure, you should check out this one about how to create a process.