So you have decided to order a WebApp from a web development agency (or you might have already made an order). You are a client, and nobody expects from you to know all the intricacies of the process. But what can be really helpful for your further communication is to know who is who in a Web development team that is in charge for your project.
LaSoft’s web development team structure
Not the most advanced software technologies, not an expensive high-speed hardware, not financial capital, but people – they are the greatest asset in every team. They use technologies to delivery value to the end User. LaSoft includes 9 co-located development teams, which translates into 60+ experienced cross functional professionals. At some point we learned that involving cross functional, collocated teams helps to maximize value, eliminate waist, and make chances of project and client business success much higher.
In particular, our web development team includes:
- Software engineers,
- UI/UX (user interface / user experience) designers,
- Project managers / Scrum masters,
- Q/A (quality assurance) specialists.
They combine their expertise and skills to deliver better solution and results to the end Users. Some inexperienced entrepreneurs try to save cost by eliminating some of the roles in their teams. But what we learned is that not covering at least one of the function most probably will create a lot of waists, and having everyone in their place makes the whole team much more efficient and productive.
To help you better understand the value of each role, I invite you to learn more about each team member.
Software engineer (Front-end, Back-end, Full-stack)
In a web development team structure, software engineers divide into those who are in charge of front-end development and those who are in charge of its back-end side. Some of them can do both. Now, let’s briefly cover what it means.
The front-end side is the one that you see and you can interact with. It consists of design elements, whose behavior is defined by the code written by a front-end developer. For instance, as you scrolls down the website, you get a popup registration form.
As it was nicely put in the Guardian: “The goal of a front end developer is to create clear, easy, fast pages and interfaces that will make people understand and care about the information, by putting it in context, expose its legitimacy or lack thereof, and reveal their implicit or explicit interconnection. Front-end is not just a pretty face, it’s the friendly, forward-looking interface of web development.”
Yet, some of the front-end elements also serve as triggers for the back-end operations. Let’s get back to the popup registration form. When a user enters details and presses the button “Register” (or whatever else it’s called), their information is to be validated on the front-end side and then saved to the database, which is the part of the back-end side.
Back-end development entails operations that are invisible to a user yet are crucial for the work of any web development team. The back-end part of the web application usually includes a database, server and server-side applications.
Front-End vs Back-End
|Definition of Role
|The front-end developer creates user-facing functionality of the web product. Everything that users can see (interaction design and user experience) is created by front-end developers
|The back-end developer plays a crucial role in the web development team. He works with infrastructure that is not visible to users, but insures the web product consistently functions as it should
|PHP, .Net, Ruby, Python, MySQL
|Creative, innovative, empathetic, curious
|Flexible, organized, detailed, analytical, logical
|Life of the party, energetic, with a playful T-shirt and bright appearance, he/she frequently checks his/her iPhone
|Quietly chatting with other back-end developers, extremely practical and logical, with an eye for complexity and details, tapping his/her Android smartphone
The code of back-end part describes interactions between these elements and between them and the front-end part. The coordinated work of front-end and back-end developers is crucial for every website project, which is impossible without any of these parts.
Nowadays, one can hardly imagine building a web application without user interface and user experience design. Despite all the popularity, most people have troubles with distinguishing UI and UX design. If you are one of them, don’t worry – you’re not alone!
“A UI without UX is like a painter slapping paint onto canvas without thought; while UX without UI is like the frame of a sculpture with no paper mache on it,” said Rahul Varshney, a co-creator of Foster.fm. “A great product experience starts with UX followed by UI. Both are essential for the product’s success.”
While UI design is concerned with how the surface of the website is laid out, UX design covers the way customers interact with the website throughout the customer journey.
Rick Wise, a CEO of Lippincott, once pointfully mentioned that UX design is driven “by reimagining the broader experience of how customers might use the product or service. By looking beyond the product to take a broader view of customer issues and activities around the product, companies can find new ways to address unmet needs, create talk-worthiness, and fuel differentiation.”
Though UX design is more dependent on analytics and testing, at the end of the day, UI and UX are inseparable parts of modern website design. In a website development team, usually it’s one person that is in charge of both UI and UX design. To find out how much does it cost to design a Web Application click here.
Every project requires a manager. Project Manager is responsible for Budget, Scope, Schedule and Quality of a project. He/she connects all dots of the whole development process. Project manager makes sure communication between client and a team is clear and each team member know and understand goals for each Sprint and overall project direction. Project Manager decomposes bigger components into smaller very specific tasks or user stories, add needed descriptions, plan delivery, communicate status and resolve project issues. Also, he/she makes sure team is motivated, focused and enthusiastic. In this article, you can find out what will happen if you run a project without a project manager.
In Harvard Business Review, the roles and responsibilities of a project manager is defined in the following way: “The project manager identifies the central problem to solve and determines, with input from the sponsor and stakeholders, how to tackle it: what the project’s objectives and scope will be and which activities will deliver the desired results. He then plans and schedules tasks, oversees day-to-day execution, and monitors progress until he evaluates performance, brings the project to a close, and captures the lessons learned.”
Testing is one of the essential parts of building a web app – just as front-end and back-end development, design, and management are. For this, every web development team has quality assurance engineers, who design tests and apply them during the whole development process to solve any issues before the product goes into production.
As explained on Sokanu, a platform that helps to pick up a right career: “A software quality assurance engineer is involved in tasks that include software design, writing source code, control of source code, reviewing code, configuration management, change management, program testing, integration of software, and release management process.”
“The main purpose of testing is to prevent low-quality products from going out the door. QA takes a view on the code from the other side, that is not available for person who is coding. Besides that, testing makes bugs much cheaper, revealing them on early stage of development.”
Nataliia Sikachevska, Project manager at LaSoft
Here you go! Finally, you’ve got a full picture of the web development team roles. Each of the members and altogether, they turn your ideas and plans into a ready-made product. Now you may realize how diverse they responsibilities are, and I hope it will help you to carry out communication with the team during the development process.
If you want to learn more about our LaSoft web development practices, don’t hesitate to ask – we all are here to help!