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Startup dream web development team

You've got $5 to assemble a development team:

Team lead — $20

Project manager — $25

Full stack developer — $15

Frontend developer rookie — $4

Junior designer — $1

Reading time: 11 minutes

Table of contents

    OK, we’ve attempted to joke 🥲

    Now seriously. Web development team changes from one project to another, but if you are a startup owner, we advise you to find a full-fledged agile team. It’s better to give a project to  contractors, because  outsource teams are well-worked and much more stable as well. The better the team is, the fewer worries you have. In our new article, let’s find out who is who in a cool development team!

    Team leads 

    These guys are as cool as cucumbers. Only experienced and skilled developers with expertise in frontend and backend become team leads. Their tasks involve dealing with the most difficult parts of the project, helping the team and managing the development process. Therefore, a good team lead is not only a developer, but also a manager. 

    Finding a team lead is a difficult task. Such high-level specialists are rarely freelancers, and rare guests on hiring platforms. According to Stack Overflow, 76,7% of team leads have full-time work in development companies, only 6,7% are freelancers. The statistics are simply explained: team leads are not born but become.

    There are three ways to get a team lead into your team: let’s find out what way is the most convenient for a startup.

    Hire

    A team lead is hard to find, easy to lose, and impossible to forget, so hiring such an employee requires all forces of HR and unprecedented luck. Most likely, this method will not work for a startup that is looking for a development team — too long and expensive. 

    Assign

    Congratulations, you are a team lead. Unexpectable? Some developers don’t expect a quick boost either, but they get it anyway. It happens when companies lack or don’t have good team leads, and they have to be selected from among the good developers. The poor man is thrown into web application development, and then comes what may. At Purrweb, we think this is not the most effective approach.

    Grow up

    Hire a junior developer + grow their competencies + expand areas of responsibility = you get a cool team lead. This is the ideal formula for creating a team lead for a startup. At Purrweb, we help juniors turn into team leads in a couple of years. Recently, the number of team leads has increased — several middle developers have become junior team leads.

    Maxim Orlov,

    Three years ago, I came to Purrweb as a junior developer, and recently, I was entrusted to lead a project. I suppose, being in this position you need to be responsible and communicative, and also educate yourself and your team. It's important for me as a team lead that my guys don't go into their shells, and don't get stuck in difficult tasks for a long time. I solve misunderstandings on daily meetings, and improve 'global' processes on monthly meetings.

    Maxim Orlov, 
    junior team lead at Purrweb

    Project manager

    PM’s tasks include organizing the work process and keeping in touch with the client. The main goal of a project manager is to bring the client’s idea to life on time together with the development team. PM sets tasks, monitors their implementation, holds regular meetings with the team: daily, weekly, planning, retro. Note:

    Daily — every day meeting to synchronize the team members

    Weekly — every week meeting to discuss issues

    Planning — large meeting in the beginning of a sprint

    RetroMeeting in the end of the sprint — meeting to sum up the results of a sprint 

    A project manager in IT is not supposed to understand development at the programmer or designer level. A PM can be a person without a technical background, if the soft and hard skills are suitable for this position.

    Soft skills 💭Hard skills 💪
    Empathy

    Project manager is almost like a psychologist for a team. They should not only manage work process problems, but also solve little internal conflicts.

    English

    Good managers don’t make their clients use Google Translate during video calls. 

    Sociability 

    Finding a way with each teammate and holding communication till the end of the project are the PM’s duties. 

    Negotiations

    Oh, diplomacy! At each meeting, whether with a team or with a client, a PM will have to prove the desired point of view with a lot of arguments. A person without special training will definitely not cope with such a task.

    Stress tolerance

    Call with a client from the USA at 12 a.m. by local time? Sudden changes in tasks? A three-hour meeting with the team in the early morning? Yes, this is the reality of a project manager.

     

    Project management tools

    Trello, Jira, ClickUp are not new Marvel heroes, but real programs helping PM to hold projects. 

    Flexibility 

    Sometimes PMs have to show clients their skills, sometimes — agree with them and redo/remove something in the project. The PM should keep cool in both situations.

    A little bit of IT

    One more time: good PMs can be both former developers and people with no technical background. 

    Interest 

    Even if an IT company does not require deep professional knowledge from managers, this does not negate the general interest in development.

    Alexandra Rumyantseva,

    In my work, the most important thing is communication with the team. Working with Purrweb guys gives me power. I like watching their success — at these moments, I see that nothing would happen without them.

    Alexandra Rumyantseva, 
    project manager at Purrweb

    Frontend developers

    Frontend devs implement design through coding. These guys do their best to make it convenient for the user to interact with the page. All you can see on our site is made by a frontend developer or HTML & CSS developer. It depends on who did this task 😉. Let’s discuss who is who.

    HTML & CSS developer is a niche specialization. The tasks include making up a layout using HTML & CSS. HTML & CSS developers might know the basics of JavaScript, but it is not their main technology.

    When HTML & CSS developers expand their base of knowledge, they can become frontend developers. Such specialists don’t build the layout, but know and use JavaScript, TypeScript, frameworks, and libraries, and understand the server part of the development process. They aren’t scared of preprocessors and LESS, SASS, GRUNT, GULP collectors. They know how to work with DOM, API, SVG objects, AJAX and CORS, can compose SQL queries and dig into data. Add to these skills the understanding of UI/UX design process, adaptive layout, cross-browser and cross-platform, as well as mobile development to get a strong frontend developer. 

    Daniil Gerasimenko,

    The main difference between frontend and backend is in the quantity of concepts and the ways of realization. There is the only idea and thousands of ways to bring it to life on the frontend, and thousands of ideas and ways on the backend. In other words, the frontend is about tools, and the backend is about theory. Recently, I've had an internal backend internship. Actually, studying is hard. There are many issues in the backend. Difficulties arise when you try to comprehend fundamental things. I had the internship for two reasons: the FitnessApp project lacked a backend dev, and I have wanted for a long time to learn new technologies.

    Daniil Gerasimenko, 
    full stack developer at Purrweb

    We also asked Daniil to comment on the recent statistics by StackOverflow. Interesting fact:  until 2019, there have been pretty many frontend developers and a few backenders on the market. Let’s see how the situation looks now 

    Our full stack developer identified three reasons for the popularity of the backend:

    1. Money —  on average, backend devs earn more than frontend ones.
    2. Self-development —  you can improve your backend skills almost endlessly.
    3. Competition —  or rather, its absence. Junior backs have every chance of becoming successful seniors.
    Most popular IT professions in 2020 by StackOverflow

    Most popular IT professions in 2020 by StackOverflow

    UI/UX designers

    In the web development team, they are lords of interfaces, buttons and wireframes. Design gives direction to the entire project, so UI/UX experts are just as important as developers. Without designers, in fact, there would be nothing to develop. In most companies, creation of an app or website begins with the design. UI design handles the user interface, and UX is for the user experience. As a rule, the development team has one designer who plays both roles.

    This happens because it is important for a cool designer to be able to do both UI and UX —  it reduces the time of work and improves quality.

    Before starting work, the UI/UX designer analyzes the client’s requirements for the project, and also determines the target audience. This is how the specialist understands the ‘pains’ of those for whom they creates the app. The task is to identify the challenges users face and effectively address them through design. Then the designer builds the ‘draft’ of the app —  wireframe, a schematic arrangement of elements on a page.

    Sometimes designers use user stories — simple functionality descriptions. User stories help to concentrate on the project and create a convenient and clear interface. A user story is written in ‘client language’.

    Julia Vakulenko,

    UI and UX design are basically the same things. To be accurate, UX is the path, but UI is the way of interaction. If you create the path, you can't avoid interacting with it. For example, when you choose the color, size and position of a button, it's the UI. And when you define the role of buttons — UX.

    Julia Vakulenko, 
    lead UI/UX designer at Purrweb

    Where UX ends, UI begins. The most important thing here is to make it nice. Users’ impression depends on good UI design. Strong UI/UX design is the key to a successful startup. Verified by hundreds of projects at Purrweb 😎

    QA engineer 

    QA engineers or testers are people who check how the apps work, and find bugs. They use technical documents, and sometimes a sense of meaning. Testers look at the app both through the users’ and developers’ eyes. So they get involved in the development process and suggest more convenient functionality. 

    Typically, a tester is involved in checking the application itself, its performance and appearance. But sometimes these tasks are supplemented by verification of technical instructions, databases, business processes, customer needs, and even the work of the development team. In their work, a tester constantly interacts with customer representatives, business analysts, developers and designers.

    Igor Andreev,

    Being a QA engineer is hard because you have to do the same things a lot of times. To make an app work well, we test it on different devices again and again. By the way, QAs are said to find developers' bugs, but their bugs are not tested by anyone. Except for clients. 😇

    Igor Andreev, 
    QA engineer at Purrweb

    Testing is not only a set of technical skills, but also special personal qualities. Collected soft skills required for a tester:

    • Analytical mindset;
    • Perseverance;
    • Systematic approach to problem solving;
    • Stress tolerance;
    • Learnability.

    In general, it is a standard set of soft skills of a normal IT company employee. And what about hard ones?

    • SQL language, databases MSSQL, Oracle;
    • Experience in conducting different types of testing;
    • Programming languages — for example, JS;
    • Libraries and frameworks;
    • Autotests;
    • English for reading documentation.

    We’ve talked about software development team members, but there are other important people in the agile team. If you decide to order a service from Purrweb, you’ll meet them first. Meet business analysts and account managers! 

    Actually, startups don’t need them — you hardly buy account manager service and make them sell you something. However, for application development outsourcing teams they are as important as the software development team. If your outsource team includes business analysts and sales managers, you’ll definitely get an accurate project estimation and convenient communication on the presale stage.   

    Interested in how presale & estimation work at Purrweb? Keep reading 😇

    Business analysts

    At Purrweb, business analysts do presales and estimation. At the start of any project, it is important to correctly estimate the time it will take for developers, designers, testers and other team members. If the business analyst makes a mistake with the estimate, his teammates will have to work until late at night and on weekends.

    Previously, we made an estimation like this: we took any free developer and in an hour we figured out how long it would take for a project. In 9 out of 10 cases, it was impossible to guess. Through a long and difficult path, we have come to the conclusion that we cannot survive without a new assessment and pre-sale process. And then they just sat down and did it:

    1. Client — comes to Purrweb with an idea.
    2. Account manager — calls the client to know the idea and discuss the price.
    3. Business analyst — gets the call information, works on project details. 
    4. Designer — based on information obtained from BA, estimates the project 
    5. Ca$$$h — designer hands the estimation over to the account manager to show it to the client on the next call. If the client agrees, they pay. 
    6. Project manager — after payment, the project flies to the project manager and the team. Within the timeframe specified in the assessment, we must implement the client’s idea
    7. Done! — when all the edits have been made, and the comments have been worked out, when the customer says “OK!”, The project is considered ready.

    And what if a client wants development too?

    Sometimes people come to us with a clear request: to do only a design, because there is an internal development team, or to create a project from scratch to a full-fledged application. Someone in the process of working on the design realizes that they also want development. The cases are different – the approach is the same. If a client needs to write something in React, team leads are involved. The development estimation looks like this:

    1. Project manager — draws up a document with the details of the development project, prescribes the user story
    2. Team leads frontend team lead and backend team lead estimate the project within 5-8 hours: they decompose tasks, make many small ones out of big ones
    3. Client — pay when all is OK

    Then the project returns to the project manager, and development starts.

    Read more about presale, valuation and the work of business analysts in our article.

    Account managers

    As we judge a book by its cover, we judge an IT company by its account manager. The account managers are the first people on the client’s journey, so it’s important for them to make a good impression.

    Daria Kravets,

    Our task is to define the direction of the project. Sometimes after the call, we realize that we are not on our way. Explaining this is also a part of our job. Sometimes it is important to put a wet blanket on the client, convey that the project will not work out, and offer other options. For example, remove some features or completely revise the scope of the project.

    Daria Kravets, 
    account manager at Purrweb

    A good account manager thinks about solutions and sees not only the starting point of the project and the process of creation, but also the result to which the team will lead the client. It is also important for the account manager to speak in understandable language in order to maintain transparency between the contractor and the client.

    Grand finale

    Excuse my French! This is the end. Let’s summarize:

    1. A good development team has everyone we have listed in this article. The same lineup is, for example, at Purrweb 💜
    2. It is better to hire a well-developed outsourcing team than to recruit specialists ‘manually’.
    3. If you want to request a project development, write us in the form below 👇