Let’s talk about roles: who’s who in the software development process?

by | July 13, 2023 | Process

TLDR. Ah, the intricate world of software development…
Do you often find yourself asking: What actually happens there? Who does what? Why is the team so large? What are all those titles about? Why are developers being paid so much?
Well then, this might just be your eye-opener article. We’re going to explore the different roles that are present in the software development process. From project managers to quality assurance specialists, there is a variety of experts involved in bringing technology to life. So, buckle up and get ready for an inside look at one of the most exciting industries around!




In a nutshell, software development is about building a solution…just like with building a house, you need to plan and organize your work while also choosing the best people to get the job done.

Who are the builders in software development?
Well, there are a variety of roles: from management, design, to development and quality assurance.

First things first, for a software development team to be put into place, there must be a client reaching out for a software solution for his business. Both parts are essential for the success of a software solution. They work as partners. When the two parties sit together at the table, the client comes with his business expertise and needs and on the other hand, the software development team comes with their technical expertise. Needless to say how mandatory it is for both parties to understand each other, where each other stands in this process and how they influence each other. Think of it this way: client’s requirements become workable items for the software development team! 

The roles involved in the software development process can be broadly categorized into four main groups: project management, design, development and testing:

  • Management – responsible for planning and coordination of the software development process and team while focusing on delivering quality.
  • Design (User Interface and User Experience) – responsible for the way people will interact with the product.
  • Development – responsible for actually creating the software (writing the code part).
  • Quality assurance – responsible for ensuring that the software meets all of the required standards and criteria. 


What are the roles

As a client, one might wonder now: Are all of them necessary? Am I supposed to interact with all of them? Can I skip some of them?
Let’s dive deeper into the roles before answering these questions.
When a client needs a software solution, the first person whom he will interact with is a product owner or a PO. At least that’s our approach, at abac. The product owner establishes a rapport with the client for the purpose of extracting specifications in a structured way. The product owner is responsible for representing the interests of the client while working closely with the development team to ensure that the right features are being developed and delivered. Just a short mention here: if you have interacted in the past with other software development houses, you might have heard or even interacted with a BA or Business Analyst – and he was the one that extracted the specifications for a software product; and/or with a PO who was in charge, in this case, to fully know the product and understand its purpose. So there are many variations regarding these two roles, depending on the approach of the organization – bottom line is, there is no wrong approach, just adaptability. 

Now, a UI/UX designer enters the stage. He prototypes the way in which the users will interact with the product. In order to do that, he defines the specific graphical elements.  

After the PO/BA and the designer have fulfilled their roles, the software architecture comes into play by elaborating a set of functional and non-functional specifications, based on the specifications and on the prototype. Then, he projects the technical architecture of the software system (what tech stacks will be used, for example). 

Having set the technical estimations, the project manager starts his part: he plans the execution timeline of the project, the number and configuration of the team and also the needed budget. The project manager or the PM is responsible for overseeing the entire software development process, ensuring, every step of the way, that everything is on track and that deadlines are met. For that, he creates schedules, tracks progress and coordinates resources.

Having defined the technical specifications and the execution plan, the development phase can begin!

The DevOps engineer (development and operations engineer) handles the configuration of the technical infrastructures so that software can be developed and released. At its core, DevOps refers to a series of processes that help teams speed up and automate aspects of developing, testing, releasing and updating software.

The classical, so to speak, software developer is the one responsible for writing the code that makes the software work. Software developers can be of all shapes and sizes and can have knowledge about different types and styles of programming and about different technologies.

For the purposes of not naming every technology or framework out there, we will choose to introduce to you the developers in this way:

  1. Frontend developers – they develop the graphic interface of the app based on the functional prototype and based on the established architecture. They interact closely with 
  2. Backend developers, who develop the side of the app responsible for manipulating the data.
  3. A developer who can work with both approaches is a Full-stack developer.

Now,  QA or the quality assurance specialist tests everything that comes from the developers in order to ensure the quality of the product. This is the guy who finds and solves the famous “bugs”. Now, there is more than just one type of a QA: there are manual QAs (they execute scenarios in a manual way, just like the end user), automation QAs (they write the tests that validate some functional scenarios) and performance QAs (they write tests in order to validate some non-functional scenarios).
Either way, QAs are the ones who write detailed reports on their findings and later share them with the rest of the team.

Have we reached the end? Is this the configuration of a software development team? I think so, at least from our perspective 🙂


Why are they relevant


The software development process starts long before actually working on a project: it starts with the know-how of each member, with the ability to find common ground within a team, with the ability to ask the client just the right questions in order to develop the asked solution.

Any team is made up of…people. People of different backgrounds, ages, levels of experience and so on. People with different sets of hard and soft skills. This is another beautiful challenge when forming software development teams.

Let us disclose even more about the people at abac. Here, the profile of the PO, BA, designer, PM, architect, DevOps, developer and tester is made up of the following ingredients:

  • Solution oriented type of mindset. We see solutions or create solutions. 
  • Owners of the decisions we made and of what we deliver on a daily basis.
  • Linked with the rest of the team, meaning there is no room for “I” here or for pointing fingers.  
  • Visionaries, acting like true partners and consultants for the clients we interact with. We strive for maximum visibility of the path we are on, having the high-beam always on. 
  • Engineers who find the right balance between under-engineering and over-engineering. There is no room for ego and show-offs. 
  • Researchers, constantly updated and tuned with the present and with a hawk-eye on the future. 


How do they contribute to the final result


By now, I think that it is clear that software development is not just about writing code. To fulfill all the needs of a client, people with different roles and different skills are needed. One team member is responsible for the look and feel of the product, another for choosing the most suited tech stack, another for ensuring the stability of the app, while another sees things from the perspective of an end-user. So it’s not just code, it’s coordination, synchronization, communication, sharing perspectives, anticipating problems, discussing solutions.



Now that you’ve reached the end, we hope we managed to underline the importance of each and every role. How each role is essential to the software development process and plays a unique part in creating a final product that is stable and effective.
Hard skills and soft skills intertwine so that the final “building” is stable, but also scalable, complex enough, but also intuitive to use. 



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