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How to Choose Software Development Team Structure

  • Rating — 4.7 (51 votes)
  • by Elena
  • Updated on May 01, 2020
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    4-5 minutes
How to Choose Software Development Team Structure

People would be the crucial element in a business success formula if it ever existed. Personal qualities and soft skills can hardly affect the business processes in a company both in positive and negative ways. Such personality traits as being a good team player or the born leader determine the role of each person and his or her contribution to achieving business goals of your company.

As a business owner or entrepreneur, you need to know how to organize the workflow in your company in such a way that your employees can do all their best and feel comfortable in all senses. We, in GBKSOFT, managed to build the truly efficient dedicated teams for each of our projects and we are ready to share our experience.

In this article, we’ll explain the difference between the most popular team structures so you can choose the one that suits your business best.

  1. Types of team structure
  2. Problem-Solving Teams
  3. Self-managed team
  4. Functional Teams
  5. Virtual Teams
  6. Matrix Structure

Types of team structures

Previously, the traditional organization structure divided the company into departments depending on their business functions. Today, businesses are more revolving around teams rather than departments. The main advantage of such transformation is the flexibility of teams comparing to more bureaucratic departments.

software development organization chart

When You Need a Dedicated Team

There are several popular kinds of teams:

Problem-Solving Teams

Such teams of 5-10 members are usually the part of one department. Their main goal is to meet one a week to discuss the problems arising and find solutions. They share experience and suggest own ways and methods of improving the workflow, reduce expenses and increase the revenue. In other words, they are advisors whose task is to recommend solutions and present them to the higher management and executives. They advise but don’t implement.

Self-managed team

Unlike problem-solving teams, self-managed teams don’t recommend solutions, they implement. But not only they just do the work given, they also take the responsibility for the outcomes. They are autonomous structures that can make operational decisions as well as perform the planned work. Being a part of such a team, each member gets enough experience and leadership skills to manage other teams later.

Functional Development Teams

Each functional team performs a specific role in a company. For example, HR team is working on employee management.

The work of a functional team is usually coordinated by a project manager. Since the manager is informed about the strength of each team member, he or she knows exactly how to organize them to get the best results.

Talking about software development team structure, each project is developed by a dedicated team. That means one developer can only work on one project full-time. The team is 100% concentrated on one project that is more efficient than spreading into multiple different projects. As a result, the team is focused on each task and achieves the best results.

functional team structure software development

Virtual Teams

As you might guess from its name, virtual team is the one, where members are physically located in different places and contact online only. Thanks to the Internet, it’s possible to easily collaborate online using chats, video-calls, emails and other tools. Even if developers live in different countries, they can discuss any issues in real-time via Skype, Slack or any other software. Virtual teams are also easy to manage using task-management tools and time-trackers. Moreover, it’s becoming trendy to work remotely and be a so-called digital-nomad due to the flexibility.  

From the other side, if you are outsourcing web development, you can interpret the dev team as a virtual one. The only difference is that we in GBKSOFT are working together in the office but communicate with our clients online.

Matrix Structure

Matrix teams are working under the control of two leaders: project manager and upper manager. This team structure has both advantages and disadvantages. The good part is that the team has a strict plan and can not stray from it. Suh structure is good when you have a large team of effective members who can deal with complex tasks. Nevertheless, miscommunication between the leader might lead to confusion and deadlines breaks. In other words, the success of matrix teams greatly depends on the team leaders and their management skills.


If you are thinking about changing your company structure to team-oriented one, there are a lot of things to consider. The first one is the team’s size. Some think that if they take a department and rename it to a team, everything will change. It won’t. The optimal team size is up to 12 members, and less is even better. If the team exceeds 12 people, it loses its effectiveness and flexibility.

One more crucial stage is choosing the proper team-leaders or project managers. Managing teams might be quite challenging even for experienced professionals if they lack managers skills. The perfect project manager is the person who can turn individuals into team players and knows how to motivate. Only the true united team can achieve the highest results and business goals of the company.

When it comes to hiring outsourcing teams for any kinds of works, consider their structure and the level of experience of a project manager. These factors alongside with expertize are the winning point of any project.

Ready to trust your project to an effective development team?

Elena Elena is the business analyst passionate about everything connected with startups, business ideas, and analytics. She’s aiming to find the solution for every challenge, young companies meet on their way.

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