A software outsourcing project is doomed to failure if team members do not understand the team employee hierarchy at IT companies. Figuring out the basic job roles in software companies is a must. In this way, you understand the responsibilities of each employee, what to expect from them, and how to communicate with them.
If you are a business owner planning to outsource your software development needs, this article is for you.
Before diving in, let's mention that we have numerous employee roles at IT companies, so it will be overwhelming to speak about every single one. Each software company builds its team based on its buyer persona and its common IT service requirements.
In this article, we will speak about the key team members in software development companies who ensure a smooth software development lifecycle (SDLC) and successful product delivery. We will also describe these professionals’ main responsibilities and operating processes through examples.
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Example of a Software Outsourcing Partnership between a Client and a Software Development firm
A typical software outsourcing cooperation starts with a discussion between the IT company and the client.
For example, our buyer persona (the client) owns a restaurant near a huge business center. It is a profitable business because the main client flow comes from the nearby business center. However, following the popularity of remote working, the restaurant owner notices a significant reduction in sales. To stay competitive, they decide to build an e-commerce platform for their restaurant as well as a website and a mobile application.
However, the client is not an IT professional. They are also not interested in diving deep into software development. They simply want guidance for carrying out a beneficial software outsourcing partnership and receiving a great end product.
Therefore, the first thing they should do is find a qualified software vendor that will guide them through the SDLC and explore the employee hierarchy at IT companies and their functions.
Here is the list of the main professionals at IT companies that the restaurant owner will communicate with during the client-software vendor cooperation process.
The Key Job Roles in Software Companies
Business development manager
What is the role of a business development manager in software companies?
There are numerous methods for contacting the software vendor candidate. Let's assume the client finds several software outsourcing companies via reputable tech directories. They visit the websites of software outsourcing candidates, check their solutions, and choose their perfect match. Now is the time to leave a short message via the "contact us" page on the website.
Typically, business development managers or executives of software development companies respond to messages within one working day. Their response depends on your requirements. These specialists build and maintain client relationships. At the beginning of the project, they initiate one or several calls with the client to evaluate the client’s software development needs and assess their resources.
If the client has a clear view of their software development project, their main technical requirements, or an in-depth, ready-made SOW (scope of work) document, the business development specialist prepares and offers a profitable deal for the two parties right away.
Main responsibilities of business development specialists
- Recognize and acquire potential “good fit” partners
- Explore the potential clients’ technical needs
- Offer the best software solution
- Maintain smooth relationships between the SDLC
Business analyst (BA)
What is the role of a business analyst in software companies?
BAs enter the game when the client has row ideas and needs business help along with software development and implementation. Business development specialists hand client requests over to BAs when clients need assessments of their business performance and assistance in the improvement of their processes and systems. BAs in IT companies conduct research and analysis to come up with the most profitable software solution to their business problems. They later introduce this solution to the client and the technical team acting as a bridge between the business leaders and the IT department.
Responsibilities of business analysts (BAs):
- Gather, validate, and document business requirements
- Analyze and evaluate the current business processes of the company
- Identify the areas for improvement
- Review the top-notch business processes and offer the latest IT advancements to ensure the company’s services are up-to-date and modern
- Organize meetings and discussions with the stakeholders
- Monitor the project performance
- Collaborate with the users and stakeholders
- Work closely with the senior software development management team, partners, clients, and tech department
Business development managers vs. business analysts
Business development managers focus on closing profitable deals by bringing new clients to the company. They are also responsible for maintaining smooth communication with these clients.
On the other hand, the role of business analysts is much broader. They act as a bridge between the technical team and stakeholders. BAs evaluate and improve various business processes.
What is the role of product managers in software companies?
Product managers identify the customer’s product needs. They define the main business objectives of the product and its features. The responsibilities differ based on the size of the company that the product manager works for. In big companies, researchers, marketers, and analysts work closely with product managers to gather input, while in smaller companies, product managers concentrate on defining the vision of the product.
Responsibilities of product managers
- Gather and represent user needs
- Prioritize product features
- Analyze the market regarding the product and its features
- Define the vision and mission of the product
- Align both the technical team and the stakeholders around the product vision
- Own vision, marketing, and ROI of the product
What is the role of the product owner in software companies?
Product owners draw up an ideal success plan for their products, and they rally the team to follow certain steps to make it a reality. Product owners define user stories and create a product backlog. Product owners are the primary contact between the product users and the technical team. They gather and represent the users’ concerns and requirements to the tech team. Product owners work within the Agile software development methodology.
Responsibilities of product owners
- Create and manage the product backlog
- Design the product managers’ strategies into user stories or tasks for the development team to work on
- Arrange and prioritize sprints
- Assess the progress and problems at each stage of the software development
- Act as a bridge between the product and development
- Give answers to the software development team’s questions
Product managers vs. Product owners
Product managers have broader responsibilities toward the success of the product in the market, while product owners are responsible for the successful development and implementation of the product.
Project manager (PM)
What is the role of the project manager in a software company?
Project managers work on the planning, organizational, and management aspects of the project. PMs ensure the project is delivered within the time frame, expected budget, and scope. PMs work on projects following both the Agile and Waterfall software development engagement models and operate based on the main principles of each methodology.
If a small software development team follows Scrum software development methodology, a scrum master may take on the role of a project manager as well. However, the role of a project manager is much broader. PMs oversee the project as a whole, its risks, budget, and logistics. Scrum masters ensure their software team follows the 5 main principles.
Recommended: You All-in-One Guide to Agile Software Development
Responsibilities of PMs
- Manage the production of the required deliverables
- Plan, monitor, execute, control, and close the project within the expected time, quality, and budget
What is the role of the delivery manager in a software company?
A delivery manager is responsible for the productive and smooth function of the team. Apart from maintaining efficient communication within the team, DMs are also accountable for establishing and managing efficient communication with other teams.
Responsibilities of DMs
- Establish and maintain a good relationship between the team members
- Motivate the team members to collaborate and work efficiently
- Find pitfalls and help the team to overcome challenges
- Help the team members communicate smoothly both within their own and with other team members
Project manager vs. Delivery manager
Delivery managers are more concerned with client feedback. DMs work closely with the client and product users to ensure the software follows their requirements. Project managers concentrate more on the software development team. PMs have more internal roles interacting with the team members to build a high-quality product. DMs usually report to PMs.
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The Core Software Development Department
Chief Technology Officer (CTO): The CTO, or chief technology officer, is an executive-level position within a software development company or entity. The CTO manages the company's technological plans, oversees data security and management, and controls the company's network. CTOs also analyze various types of tech stacks and envision how they can be used within the team. CTOs explore various opportunities to improve their software outsourcing firm’s technical assets. CTOs control the employee hierarchy at IT companies as well.
Software development manager: A software development manager is responsible for leading a tech team. They ensure their team successfully designs, troubleshoots, and optimizes software programs. Software development managers are responsible for the growth of their team members. They also solve issues and analyze trends.
Full-stack software developers work both on the back-end and front-end development of the product.
Network engineer: Network engineers ensure the network's security by installing, configuring, and supporting firewalls. They implement network solutions, troubleshoot issues, and maintain the network infrastructure.
Senior system engineer: System engineers manage and monitor the installed IT systems. senior system engineer leads teams of engineers to install, configure, test, support, and maintain computer systems and system management tools.
Mobile developer: Mobile developers build mobile applications. We have hybrid and native mobile app developers. Hybrid mobile app developers build cross-platform mobile applications that work both on the iOS and Android operating systems. Native mobile app developers build mobile applications separately for each operating system. Testing, debugging, and updating applications are also among the main responsibilities of mobile app developers.
UI/UX designer: UI designers create the visual elements that users interact with, such as buttons, icons, toggles, etc., along with their interactive properties. UI designers focus on the user's visual experience. UX designers work on the product's entire interaction with the users, creating an intuitive and aesthetically pleasing, coherent design interface. They identify and solve user problems. A UX designer usually performs UI-related work as well and the other way around.
Computer network architect: Computer network architects create plans and layouts for data communication networks. They include local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets. Data communication networks transmit digital data from one computer to another using various wired and wireless channels.
Software architect: Software architects are software engineers with more responsibilities and knowledge. These professionals design the system’s structure and behavior as well as frame technical standards. Software architects define which platforms, tools, and coding standards to use.
Data scientist: What is the role of a data scientist in a software company? Data scientists analyze and synthesize data into clear reports to solve issues. They determine the best data sets and variables and collect structured and unstructured data. Organizing data into understandable formats, building predictive models and machine learning algorithms, and identifying missing and relevant data sources are among the top responsibilities of a data scientist.
Data modeler vs. Database administrator: Data modelers design and create databases according to specific business needs. Data modelers also explore and suggest cutting-edge data solutions and make recommendations for data usage. Database administrators manage and maintain software databases, including client information, statistical data, user credentials, and accounts.
DevOps engineer: The core responsibilities of DevOps engineers include automating and improving development and release processes and testing, examining, and analyzing the code written by software engineers and developers. DevOps developers also build and set up new development tools.
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To sum up, if you are just starting your first software outsourcing project, knowing the main employees at software outsourcing companies will give you additional confidence. You will understand which professionals you need for your specific software development project and what to expect from each. In this article, we described the team structure at IT companies and the main professionals whom you will meet during the SDLC.
- You need one of the above-mentioned or related professionals
- You need a professional's advice about your software development project
- You need to discuss which employees you need for your software project
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