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What Makes a Great Mobile App Development Team

Web and Mobile Researcher, ScienceSoft


Back in the 2000s, even successful people of superior positions used to believe that, while assembling a mobile development team, there is absolutely no need to care about the ‘mobile’ aspect. One of Twitter’s executives Elad Gil mentioned in his article that neither developers nor project managers have to be mobile-oriented to be apt to a great mobile project. Elad went as far as equaling app code to any other kind of software code, which made the reasons for his disregard to mobile skills much clearer.

Today, it’s obvious that any mobile app development project must receive specific attention of a skilled mobile app development team. Here, we’ll talk about the positions in such a team, responsibilities and qualities of perfect candidates, as well as potential employees’ expectations from the company they’d like to work with.

Effective mobile app development team structure

Mobile app development team structure

1. Visionary

Project Manager, Business Consultant or Strategist – the position has many names, almost as many, as the responsibilities it involves. Still, the Visionary unites multiple tasks under one term, which also captures the position’s main function: leading the entire project to the vision of an ideal mobile app.

To do that, a person should have deep and diverse knowledge of the business industry targeted by the mobile project as well as be well-versed in management, development methodologies, and mobile development. A visionary is also responsible for the app’s consistency and makes sure it matches the customer’s requirements described in the specification documents.

Basically, a visionary is a person in charge who should:

  • have a solid technical background,
  • have good understanding of the business line,
  • inspire, manage and lead human resources,
  • possess high sense of responsibility,
  • be good at multitasking.

2. Designers

Design implementation may only sound as a one-step work. In reality, mobile design experts first have to work with documentation. After processing the requirements, the team devises the app’s navigation mechanics and creates basic wireframes. Then, designers work on the look and feel of the app, replicating identical UI/UX for specific platforms or creating a stand-alone one for hybrid apps.

A team of designers should consist of:

  • Strategist
  • Navigation planner
  • Visual designer
  • Content planner

A design team is flexible in their development process. Often, they prefer to work on delivering the UI/UX along with testing it: they step back, let the users try out their current project, get their feedback and then discuss and make changes at any stage.

3. Developers

The job of the Android or iOS development team is to process the finished UI/UX layouts and implement them all in a real application. Developers should have experience in working with a platform of choice and its languages:

  • Java/Kotlin for Android
  • Objective-C/Swift for iOS

Cross-platform mobile development will need other skills:

  • HTML/CSS/JavaScript for PhoneGap and Cordova
  • C# for Xamarin
  • JavaScript for React Native

Apart from their technical experience, mobile engineers should also have some character traits that would help them succeed in delivering projects. One of them is agility – the drive to quickly develop a solid basis for an app and improve it further.

4. Quality Assurance specialists

QA experts are the first and the most critical audience of the end product. As they test a mobile app, they have the right to decide when the project is ready to be presented to the customer or delivered to the market. But before making this decision, they should point out all the options for improvement and prove how these improvements are indeed necessary.

5. Sales and Marketing specialists

All efforts of delivering a product would be almost for nothing if not for the efforts of the sales and marketing team. Communicating with customers, working on a product brand and creating advertising materials, sales and marketing experts turn the product into profit and consolidate success of a large teamwork.

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What a proactive mobile development team needs

  • Proficiency level compliance

An extremely talented mobile team is constantly looking for challenging tasks and projects. And while each member of the team pledges to do high-quality work, they expect the same level of proficiency from their colleagues. For example, designers need a skilled project manager to provide them a clearly articulated app concept and QA specialists, who closely work with developers, expect those to be professional and open to cooperation.

  • Fixed processes

The mobile app development team’s complex structure itself implies that there's an established cooperation between its members. But what’s more, a strictly regulated and controlled development process should be organized. Every sub-team must be informed of the entire project’s scale, explained what role they play in it and how it is connected with the others, as well as made aware of any important changes. Needless to say, there should be an elaborate schedule with both major and minor goals for a team to stick to.

  • Mutual respect

Everyone on the team as well as people outside of it should understand that mobile development involves various steps of work and each of these steps requires specific skills, time and effort. No link of the development chain can mark their own part of the job as more difficult/important/time-consuming and screw up the schedule by taking more time to finish it. The same goes for customers: they should be informed that no step can be ‘sped up’ just because it may sound easier or less important to them.

On a final note

Involving various skills and consisting of multiple stages, mobile app development is sure a complex process. Disregard to any of its parts means disregard to an entire project, and such attitude often leads to flops. For development to succeed, a mobile team should be highly experienced and diverse. But what’s more important, all the experts who constantly move the process forward are owed respect for all the effort they put in their part of the job.

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