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Optimal Product Development Team Structure

Optimal Product Development Team Structure

Since different products are being developed in a different way, there’s no silver bullet for building efficient product development teams. Once you have the product description – websites, apps, you name it – all its features and functions, you have to find the right people to work on bringing this product to life. You can have Qubit Labs do it for you at any given time, but in case you want to do it on your own, we put together a quick guide.

Optimal Team Composition & Structure

The best composition of a team depends on what exactly you are developing and what your resources are. Focus on these criteria that will help you form the optimal product development team.

  • What kind of product is this: consumer or internal?
  • How technically challenging is the implementation going to be?
  • How well established is the market?

As for the structure, note that an artificial one may be a hindrance. On the other hand, when smart, communicative people are put together with little to no pre-planned structure, that’s when the best structure emerges! The most important thing is that they understand the customer, and can design and/or develop and support a product successfully. You will need to adjust the ratio of these specialists in your team along the way, as the product takes shape.

Key Functions in the Team

If you are new to the business, let’s talk about the roles in a product development team. Of course, the structure depends on project specifications. But still, experience shows, that ideally, a team should have three junior developers per 1 senior developer. Consequently, there are 2-3 senior developers per 1 tech lead. In this structure, only tech leads report to the Project Manager on progress and status of the project.

But what are some of the key roles in a successful development team?

  • Software Development Manager or Senior Developer: everyone reports to him or her directly;
  • Project Manager: keeps schedules, facilitates requirements and acceptance negotiation, does communications. Depending on the situation, team members may report to this person too.
  • Developers or Senior Developers: a mix of 1 to 3, depending on project needs.
  • Junior Developer (when available).
  • Quality Assurance

Let Us Give You Some Tips!

If you have previously encountered some problems when looking for the optimal product development team structure, you may want to read a little bit more about building effective product development teams, but first, have a look at these tips Qubit Labs summarized for you.

  • Avoid flat team structure: do not have ten people all report to you, form sub-teams.
  • Make Operations and Development two separate departments: the first one will take care of day-to-day issues, while the latter will work on new projects/updates. Of course, you can have people do support on their own products, but not at the same time they are working on a new version of the product.
  • Cycle people between teams – occasional, for a project, or on a permanent basis. Have people review code in another subteam.
  • Don’t add too many managers; this will only lower the productivity. Have the most experienced person in each subteam be the team leader.
  • Split technical management from administrative. This can be handled in different ways. The most common way is that the engineering manager handles the administrative side, and an architect takes care of the technical aspects.

As you see, building the optimal product development team, finding that perfect ratio that will work is not an easy task. You can try and do everything on your own, or you can partner up with Qubit Labs for guaranteed success!


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