Development Team Capacity Evaluation – how to adjust the development team to the project?

Working on a new IT solution requires resources – so before the project starts you need to know the size of your team and identify the skills and experience required to achieve your business objectives.

This article will give you some tips on how to adjust the development team to the project, ensuring your workforce is always up to the task. 

Dev Team: What is it and how it works? 

On a software project, the Development Team is the main core of the Scrum Team, including professionals such as programmers, testers, and business analysts.

Regardless of their role in Scrum every person is called a “Developer”. This naming convention reinforces the fact that each person equally contributes to the development of the final product. The combination of many different roles in one place may be a novelty for someone who worked in an organization with a silo structure, but it is a natural and preferred way of composing teams in environments that use Agile methodologies.

Cross-functionality is another quality that every dev team needs to have. The team is structured in such a way that it has all the competencies needed to produce a working solution. An example team may consist of several developers, testers, a systems administrator, and a UX designer. If the team has all the required competencies, it can independently produce functionalities without unnecessary downtime. Defining all the necessary roles also reduces the number of external dependencies that affect team performance.

How many professionals do you need? There should be enough to provide a working and defined incremental improvement at the end of each product iteration. The size of the team depends on the point of view. According to the Scrum Guide, there should be 3 to 9 team members, whereas Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, claims that the number should be enough to eat two pizzas. When working on smaller projects it is necessary to employ a cross-functional team that ensures you do not waste the limited time and resources of our development team. 

But what if the project is particularly complex, requiring many more people to be involved? Of course, you can add another team or number of teams. The process of adjusting the number of teams to the size of the project is called “scaling” and may require additional work on management, coordination, integration, etc.

Having more than two Development Teams does not force you to change the recommended number of members however. Agile development favors this less-is-more scaling approach, and avoids the waste caused by building “oversized” teams of 10 or more. When scaling, however, it’s essential to determine early on in the project how the project scope will be divided between the teams and which roles can be duplicated or loaded to better serve the core objectives and timeline of the project. For example, one Scrum Master is sufficient for two teams. However, if there are more than two teams, another Scrum Master should be assigned – depending on the scope of the project.

The Scrum Master will be responsible for facilitating processes and communicating tasks and responsibilities with the team on a regular basis. They are responsible for ensuring that all Agile methodologies are adequately applied and followed within the teams. The role of the Scrum Master also shifts as the phases of the project move from forming to the dissolving phase. For this reason, it’s important that at least one Scrum Master is responsible for no more than two teams.

Agile Team Estimation

Team estimation can be challenging, especially for organizations new to the Agile method of software development. In this case, the professional advice is to use Story Points, which are an estimation of the Product Backlog that helps plan the work in individual iterations. In simple terms, being able to draw a plan of the entire workload early on, allows you to precisely estimate the size of the team required to complete the work. 

Of course, it is much easier to complete Story Points when you have a big and experienced team on board. But what if you don’t? In this case the best solution is to use outsourcing. Choosing a trusted, experienced partner ensures that you get the optimal team line-up.  

Apart from the size, you must also establish the skill set your team needs to achieve your business goals. For instance, if you are working on a shopping platform you need development to emphasize the user experience. But that will require greater participation of UX designers. Furthermore, you need to know right away the complexity of the project, functionality, predicted delivery time frame, technology, etc. 

The agile methodology breaks up a project into several phases to form dedicated teams for the tasks and is increasingly being used for project management and software development. It delivers smaller, more consumable increments with an added focus on customer satisfaction.

Analysis of the scope of works has to be executed. By defining the project’s scope, you will have a clearer idea of the budget requirements and the ability to efficiently assign tasks and schedule work. Without this roadmap, assessing the team size requirement will not only be challenging but can also sometimes become impossible. Determining the scope also helps keep track of progress and prevents team members from deviating or expanding the current vision of a particular project. While most companies define scopes of larger, more complex projects, it’s also essential for the smaller ones.

Project time horizon is also another crucial factor to consider. This, similar to defining the scope of the project, should be done at the very beginning, as it helps determine how long a selected team of professionals will work on a particular project. If a company is considering outsourcing, then the time estimation will be particularly handy in determining overall costs of acquiring the team and working with a vendor. It can also mean allotting time into separate, broken-down tasks to determine which team member will work for a particular duration of the project and which team member will be required until project completion.

Teams should be capable of self-organization; unlike classically-led teams Scrum teams learn how to independently make decisions, manage and organize their own work. In practice, this means that the team answers the question “how to do it” by itself, receiving only information from the Product Owner about the deliverables wanted at the end of the Sprint. 

In other words: you will only be able to evaluate your team requirements if you know the desired deliverables. 

If you find it difficult to decide the size of your development team, your company can seek advice. Eversoft offers specialized Development Team Capacity Evaluation providing a recommendation of your optimal team line-up, including. headcount, roles, and competency profiles based on our analysis of the scope of works to be executed. 

Running out of resources? Try Outsourcing! 

When you have established the size and characteristics of your ideal development team, it usually turns out that the company lacks internal resources. In that case, you can hire specialized developers or use outsourcing. It must be noted that outsourcing is considered the most efficient and cost-effective way to complete the software development cycle.

Outsourcing services offer tailored solutions for companies after an in-depth evaluation of the scope of the project, deadlines, requirements, goals, and the requirements of the final project. This makes the process of capacity evaluation easier, and the responsibilities associated with it lie on the vendors’ shoulders. If you have no experience in adjusting team members and capacity evaluation, outsourcing will be a great option to consider. To learn more about outsourcing, please visit our website where we describe the details and benefits – and how Eversoft can help. 

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