How To Structure a Small Development Team

Posted 01/11/22

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Every successful project needs a suitable amount of people to handle. And how you assign a role to a member will likely determine the project’s success. So to design a software developer team, you should ensure the type and complexity of your project.

Before you step into the recruitment craze, you have to work out the scope of your project. For example, if you’re about to build a product prototype, a team of three may be enough to accomplish the task. So today, we will discuss how to structure a small development team.

Developer Team Roles

Before determining how many people you should hire for your software development project, you must understand who and what roles will be included in developing the software. And these are examples of the role of a small software developer team.

  • Product Owner – usually a project’s key stakeholder.
  • Scrum Master – a facilitator, a process owner who coordinates the team’s work.
  • Development Team – a group of in-house or dedicated developers that work on the project together.

Some roles will be required to develop a software project, and each will have its own task that will directly contribute to the quality of the end product. And next is a discussion about how many people are required to fill each role.

Structuring a Small Team

While it may seem like the more significant your team is, the better and faster it will be for development. Of course, this can be true and false at the same time. Yes, delivering a product will take less time if you have 6 developers instead of 2. But at the same time, it’s much easier to manage work processes in a team of 5-10 members rather than 15-20.

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According to the research conducted by Emveep, small teams are usually more effective than larger ones. The reasons for small teams being better are as follows;

  • They don’t face (or noticeably less) organizational and workflow issues.
  • Small teams are quite dynamic: they are easily structured and restructured.
  • They can work more independently.
  • It’s easier to communicate and coordinate the efforts of fewer people.

How Many People Should You Include in Your Team?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos uses the “two pizza rule” to make team meetings as productive as possible. The idea is simple: if you can’t feed the whole group with 2 pizzas, the group is too big. Nowadays, the same tip is often used to define the optimal application development team structure and size. Therefore, limiting the team to 5-7 people is the best option.

  • Team Lead with relevant experience.
  • Two Back-end – Team Lead & Middle.
  • One Front-end – Middle.
  • One Quality Assurance.
  • One Project Manager/Scrum Master.
  • One Designer (depending on the project’s tasks).

A small project team should consist of this, but if you are already tight on budget and need to hire a complete team for your project, there are other alternative solutions for your problem.

Budget Software Developer Team

This type of team will only require the minimum amount of people for the project. And on these teams, each member may have more than one responsibility. The role that must be fulfilled are:

  • One Full Stack Developer
  • One Project manager

These teams could only be supported by people that were adept in the industries of software development. It not only requires the capability to do their job correctly but also capable to handle most a problem by themself.

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Important Notes

No double leaders

There should be no double goal for a software developer, which also works in the leader position. A leader in charge should give the team the bigger picture and lead their member toward the project’s goal if there is clarity between the goals and the project’s leader. The end product will have many flaws and defects.

No people without experience in the domain

In the already small team of software developers, having one or two people with low experience will surely help the project’s progress. However, you should always pay attention to these problems if you aim for the best product to be delivered to your clients.

Involve architects or leaders who analyze projects at the initial stage

While the first two pieces of advice are pretty simple, involving architects is essential, so they pave a path for the project to follow starting on day zero. If the architect shows up at some point in the middle, the team may have to redo some parts of the software.


While the setup and structuring of a development team might be nerve-racking to some, it doesn’t always have to be. The steps are simple enough; you need a complete view of your project or projects on which the team would work, assign roles, map deliverables, or set a roadmap. Finally, work on a means by which issues are recognized and addressed.

All these put in place will lead to a structure that gets your dev team up and running in a short amount of time. Plus, increase efficiency and meet targets. And you already understand how to structure a small software development team. In the following discussion, we will talk about the importance of using agile methodology.

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