For the tenth time, your manager has asked when the first draft of the website you’re working on will be ready.
Of course, you’ve still got a long way to go.
But they don’t even stop there. They say another test routine for a new site is due the next day.
You when he leaves:
Being the only dev at the agency, you obviously need more hands to be more productive.
However, do you know what specific roles would be needed?
Table of contents
- What does a web development team do?
- Web development team structure: key roles
- Tips to effectively organize your web development team
What does a web development team do?
To create an effective and user-friendly website, you need experienced team members who’ve worked on several web design projects. Ideally, they’ve tried and tested many strategies and figured out what made the users click.
In short, you need a skilled web development team.
They’re a group of professionals with diverse skills (such as coding, UI/UX design, and SEO) who work together to develop websites.
A web dev team typically consists of:
- Web programmers
- Project managers
- SEO specialists
- UI/UX designers
- Content specialists
Along with other experts who can help create web pages that users find easy to navigate.
Web professionals are easy to spot – they’re a mix of creatives (AKA cool kids) and tech bros (AKA the guys with the fab hoodies).
If you’re building a new team from scratch, you must understand how a team should be structured and what each role is responsible for.
That takes us to the next point.
Web development team structure: key roles
Ever heard the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child?”
Well, in this case, it takes a community to create an awesome website.
But for this community to be effective, there needs to be a structure so stakeholders know who’s at the top of the chain (regarding responsibility).
To help you understand that, we’ve put together a graphic representation of key roles in a web dev team:
The order of responsibility goes from left to right. Let’s explain their roles in detail.
Project manager (PM)
When asked what would happen to the world if there were no leaders, Petr Kotas, a senior engineer at Red Hat said, “The world will descend into chaos.”
While your agency may not descend into total anarchy, the absence of a PM will do more harm than good.
A web dev team needs a leader – someone with experience in IT and, of course, managing and delegating different tasks.
That leader is a project manager.
This type of manager doesn’t have to be an expert programmer or web designer. They just need to have a good understanding of the projects they’re leading and what must be done to make them happen.
Project managers leading a web development team need to be able to create blueprints for different tasks in collaboration with clients and ensure deliverables are in sync with them.
In the eyes of the agency management and web design clients, they’re responsible for the project outcomes.
Some important skills a project manager should have include:
- Effective communication (with team members and stakeholders)
- Knowledge of project management tools, reporting tools, visualization, and data analysis tools
- Interpersonal and organizational skills
- Understanding of project management methodologies
- Leadership skills and people management training
We know what you’re thinking… Architects? In web design!?
Well, it’s not that kind of architect.
Solution architects, aka project architects, are professionals in charge of the technical aspects of the entire project. They ensure everything goes according to plan, just the way the client wants it.
It’s a relatively new role usually filled by senior tech specialists due to the increasing need for interconnectivity among modern businesses. These architects bring technical leadership to the dev team.
They can carry out a detailed technology analysis to lay the appropriate tech foundation for the client’s project.
A solution architect’s responsibilities include:
- Selecting an appropriate tech stack for the website, such as APIs, frameworks, databases, and third-party integrations
- Creating an architectural diagram for the project
- Identifying possible risks and challenges
- Translating technical concepts for stakeholders and clients
Sometimes, web agencies try to merge this role into project management. However, that’s not always a good idea.
You need someone with the technical know-how to deliver what the client needs, the kind of structure they want, and the best approach to get it done.
More specifically, the project architect role needs to be filled by someone who has:
- Profound knowledge of full-stack web development
- Communication skills
- Product design skills
- IT infrastructure design skills
- Project management skills
This guide has a breakdown of the main roles your agency will need.
Business analyst (BA)
BAs are the go-to point of contact between clients and team members.
They meet with clients to understand the kind of websites they want, analyze them, turn them into specifications, and present these ideas to the web developers in a structured format.
By structured, we mean a proposal or creative brief.
The project manager will then use these specifications to create a time frame for the project and get the web development team ready for the task ahead.
Essentially, BAs have three responsibilities:
- Receive project requirements from clients and figure out what they want by asking many questions.
- Analyze the requirements and develop ideas to meet them after considering the client’s audience, market, resources, competition, and budget.
- Translate those ideas into actionable work plans for the team.
If you want to hire a business or requirement analyst, look for:
- Communication skills
- Business analytics skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Administrative skills
- Understanding of data visualization
Web developers can be considered the backbone of the web development team.
They’re the ones who actually build websites, so there’s no dev team without them.
Their job is to ensure the website is easy to navigate for users and performs at full capacity.
Now, there are three different kinds of web developers you can have on your team, including full-stack, back-end, and front-end developers.
But you’re good to go if you can hire the back and front guys. 😉
Here’s what they can do for you:
They’re tasked with building the client side of the website that visitors interact with—aka the user interface (UI). They’re like UI/UX designers, but unlike them, they spend more time writing code so users can easily interact with the website.
These developers are, like, the brainiacs of web developers. That isn’t to say they’re more important than front-end developers, but they do sorta pave the way for them.
While front-end developers are making life easy for web users, back-end developers are building data infrastructure for the website, ensuring the server side is secure.
In addition, they build web structures and compliance features, write programs (codes), and test those programs to ensure no bugs.
Simply put, they write code that ensures the website runs smoothly for both front-end developers and users.
This type of developer fits the description ‘kills two birds with one stone.’
They’re web developers who can work as back-end and front-end developers. But before you leap into hiring one full-stack developer to do two jobs, understand that building a website is a technical process that needs expertise.
So it’s recommended that you don’t hire full-stack developers to be the ‘Rambos’ of web development but simply to oversee other developers.
UX/UI designers are like the ‘new kids on the block’ of the web dev team. They’ve got one aim: to ensure visitors have a swell user experience while navigating the site.
UX/UI designers collapse two different skills (UX and UI design) into one and specialize in creating engaging interfaces for users.
They’re the web dev team’s version of a graphic designer, but in this case, the goal is to design the website’s look using images, logos, color schemes, animation, fonts, and more.
This process involves an in-depth analysis of the project, the niche, the competitors, and the target audience.
The findings provide a good idea of what users’ needs look like and what the competition does to fulfill them. Plus, during the research process, designers can identify areas where competitors are lacking.
Based on the gathered data, designers can shape experiences that deliver what consumers want and need using wireframes, mockups, and prototypes.
Here are the top skills UX/UI designers should possess:
- Communication skills
- Analytical and user research skills
- Working knowledge of wireframing, prototyping, and graphic design tools
Quality assurance (QA) manager
The role of QAs in a web development team is pretty straightforward.
They ensure everyone on the team sticks with the client’s requirements for the project, the company’s policies, and quality standards set by regulatory bodies (e.g., ISO).
Simply put, quality assurance engineers are testers who ensure every part of the website is functioning properly – in ideal and non-ideal situations.
They do this by creating test cases, running them using tools like Selenium or Xray, and letting the dev team know if they’ve discovered any problems or bugs.
You can think of QA engineers as ‘teachers’ to whom developers submit their ‘homework.’ If there are any errors or quality issues, they provide objective feedback so the team can make improvements.
A QA manager’s skills include:
- Communication skills
- Experience with testing and debugging tools
- Critical thinking
- Attention to detail
- Proper understanding of web design and use from a visitor’s perspective
- Knowledge of test automation tools
‘Content is king’ is a quote you’ve probably heard several times.
And it’s true, considering that web content helps users find the information they need on a web page and learn about your client’s business and what the brand offers.
That’s why you need a content manager in the web development process.
They come up with relevant content (AKA the written stuff on your website) that can capture the attention of the client’s audience.
Content managers can collaborate with other team members to promote the brand’s voice through content.
Their responsibility revolves around creating a content strategy, contracting writers, producing content for the website (such as blogs and newsletters), and ensuring it’s accessible to visitors.
In addition to producing and managing web content, content managers have three fundamental roles:
- Proofreading and editing content
- Creating communication strategies
- Analyzing user engagement and traffic
A good content manager should have multiple skill sets, including:
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Management skills
- Content creation and editing skills
- Working knowledge of SEO principles
- Research and analytical skills
- Understanding of content management systems (CMS)
A marketing strategist looks at businesses, studies the industry, identifies gaps you can fill, and helps you fill them.
On the one hand, they’re researchers who keep track of trends in your industry and discover new marketing opportunities to raise brand awareness.
And on the other hand, strategists develop actionable plans to help you reach your business goals.
Marketing strategists can also be advocates for your customers because they help ensure your ‘quality products’ are customer-friendly.
They collect customer feedback and analyze it, so you know where to improve your services.
Marketing strategists should be able to:
- Make decisions quickly
- Understand the fundamentals of web designs
- Perform detailed research for web development companies
- Make presentations and communicate clearly
- Handle interview sessions with customers and stakeholders
SEO, short for search engine optimization, means fine-tuning websites to be search engine friendly.
SEO experts make that happen. They’re the ones who ensure the websites your team builds are visible on the search engine pages when anyone comes looking.
SEO experts also collaborate with website and mobile app developers to ensure the product is mobile-friendly, secure, and of course, responsive.
This allows visitors to find the web app easily and increases its authority.
While this role can be outsourced, it’s always good to have one in-house, so they can contribute to the technical specifications of the site.
An SEO specialist needs to have in-depth knowledge of:
- Traffic analysis
- Local SEO optimization
- Keyword research
- Competitor analysis
- Ranking strategy
- Programming languages
Seems like a lot, huh? All these team roles are needed in your web development team, whether you’re a startup or an established business.
But if this is your first rodeo, you must know how to manage this team, so there’s synergy in your workflow.
Let’s see how to do just that.
Tips to effectively organize your web development team
It’s one thing to hire professionals for your team. It’s another to get them to work together.
Sometimes, it might be as hard to get team members on the same page as it was with these guys:
But as the web design manager, you must make it happen regardless. Here’s how you can do that:
✅ Build a communication framework that works
Communication is one of the hallmarks of a great team. It allows smooth collaboration and ensures everyone completes their tasks on time.
To build a communication framework for your team, provide tools for them.
There are two types of communication tools you should incorporate into your workflow: asynchronous and synchronous.
Examples of asynchronous communication tools include Loom, MarkUp.io, Slack, Trello, etc. They help team members share thoughts and ideas about projects without distracting them from work.
So, the PM can ask the developers when a task will be completed without scheduling a meeting. People get their time back. Everyone’s happy!
Synchronous communication tools (e.g., Zoom, Google Meet) allow the team to have more inclusive discussions where everyone can contribute in real-time. It’s also a good way to promote interactions among team members and build trust.
✅ Show trust
Speaking of trust, it’s another way to manage your web dev team. You need to create an environment that fosters trust.
But it all begins with you, their leader. The best way to create a climate of trust is to show that you can be trusted. Let your team members feel they can trust you 100%.
To do that, you need to:
- Be transparent
- Have one-on-ones with team members
- Appreciate everyone
- Encourage feedback
- Promote team-bonding activities
- Become their advocate at the management level
Showing trust will strengthen the bond you have with them and ensure the team’s work is nothing but high quality.
✅ Establish an agile methodology
Agile strategies are based on two principles: self-organization and cross-functionality.
Cross-functionality is built on the premise that you find team members who share the same skill sets. In other words, the team has everything required to complete a project without asking for support. A self-sufficient team, in other words.
Self-organizing means that no team leads are needed. Instead, everyone is responsible for their actions and input, so there’s high motivation and accountability.
✅ Find the balance between technical and creative tasks
In managing a software development team, understand that certain tasks are creative and others more technical.
The time needed to complete both task types, therefore, will not be the same. Depending on the experience of the professional, technical tasks might take less time than creative tasks.
You need to understand this and try to find a balance between both task types.
Have personal meetings with the professionals to know what they need and how long they’ll take. The discussions will give you a clue on how to manage the teammates involved.
But regardless of the time frame they choose, give them more time to do a good job.
✅ Set clear goals and objectives
Clear goals give your team a vision to work towards or a sense of purpose.
Everyone will know what they need to focus their energy on at different times.
When you set clear goals, team members:
- Remain focused
- Become more productive
- Avoid delays
So if you’re going to set goals, you should sit down with management to discuss the company’s business needs and the client’s expectations.
Furthermore, you want to:
- Split those expectations into simple milestones
- Create strategies to execute them
- Keep track of the accomplishments
We’re confident you now know what roles are needed in your website development team.
Captain America was right when he said, “We’re better together as a team,” because you need a dedicated crew to scale or grow a web agency.
Before you go, wanna know what we think about building a team?
We believe teams are a requirement for growth, especially in the creative space.
But at the same time, what you really want is a functioning team.
And by that, we mean one with alignment across the board. Where everyone can share their ideas, give and receive feedback, and invite colleagues to collaborate on a project.
How can you build a functioning team?
That’s where MarkUp.io comes in!
Our platform streamlines collaboration and improves communication through contextual feedback. Gone are the days of long emails with vague design feedback.
Sign up for your 30-day free trial with MarkUp today.