Scaling Software Development Teams

How to Scale a Software Development Team - Best Practices

Posted by Palak

22 Feb 23 7 Min read

Scaling is one of the key stages in the development of any startup or small-sized company. With expanded teams and established departments, we expect more efficiency. Scaling a software development team brings as many challenges as opportunities, even with a well-defined process, professionals, and a detailed development strategy, one often loses productivity instead of boosting it.

Communication, management, architectural challenges, and attempts to innovate routine processes often contribute to scaling the software team's growth. This article helps scale your software development team with valuable tips and best practices.

Best Practices to Scale a Software Development Team

Increasing the number of developers will not necessarily accelerate software development. A new tool may be more efficient than hiring more people to do the same tedious job if employees are overwhelmed with tasks that can be automated. Assess the weak spots in the current team. Soft skills are also required for them to be able to help and teach new employees when need be.

Consult those departments that may be adversely affected by a growing software development team, such as research, design, analytics, management, and quality assurance. Analysts, Quality Assurance (QA), and designers may be able to point out where the team needs to be augmented. A person solely focused on scaling and knowledgeable about navigating the organization is most likely to succeed.

Scaling software development teams can be accomplished with the following best practices and tips:

1. Define Objectives

Scaling with confidence requires a solid foundation. This solid foundation comes from the mission, vision, and culture that define the company. To accomplish the goals, guidelines and foundations must be followed by an organization. Potential and appearance are dependent upon values.

Develop a development strategy based on the company's mission, vision, and culture statements. The scaling strategy should align with it. Scaling without understanding the rationale will result in wrong decisions and long-term losses. Defining performance metrics will help teammates stay on the same pace. A three-year growth plan might be useful. Coordinate the efforts of all departments, from marketing to production. Organize biannual meetings for executives to discuss how the growth plan is being realized and make the necessary adjustments.

2. Make A Roadmap

A software architecture plan must start with a vision for where the company is going, what goals the company wants to achieve, and how much investment one is willing to make.

The key to finding and implementing workflow improvement ideas lies in documentation. Along with the standard documentation, we recommend ensuring deadlines are met, and milestones are planned strategically. Put more emphasis on visuals than words. It's easier to convey the goals and needs with visuals. Review, pivots, and changing priorities should be included in the schedule and deliverable timeline.

3. Plan Infrastructure & Architecture

When an infrastructure or application architecture is ill-conceived, scaling a team may not result in optimal results. Sometimes, the product architecture is incompatible with scaling software development teams.

It becomes apparent that the infrastructure cannot handle new functionality. The application architecture is designed in such a way that certain parts fail. Prepare the scaled product before scaling. It will also help to estimate the number of human resources required.

The issue of project structure vs. organization structure is embodied in an empirical law called Conway's Law. The company's structure is reflected in its product architecture. It isn't about upfront design with Agile, however, some planning is essential for complex projects. Consider the architecture that will be a good match if the software development team needs to scale. It's crucial to hire a software architect.


4. Streamline Hiring

Software developers and department heads should follow the same advice:

  • Describe the details of the job descriptions, emphasizing what is missing from the existing staff;
  • Be wary of employee referrals.
  • During a trial period, ask candidates about their soft skills, personality, and temper, along with their performance.

An existing team's morale can be adversely affected by rapid scaling. Ensure human factors are considered in hiring decisions. Companies are built on people. Unless the right people are involved, none of the tips will work.

It is hard to define 'the right person'. Finding the right people depends on a company’s culture. Culture is significantly challenged during the scaling stage. For most people, it’s difficult to perceive changes. Sudden changes in the team atmosphere can negatively impact effectiveness. Scaling decisions should therefore consider the human factor.

Also, Read: How to Hire Dedicated Developers - Expert Guide

5. Second Line Of Leaders

A successful software project is a result of good engineering leadership development. Product owners, development leads, scrum masters, product managers, and business analysts are essential to the success of the project. Make sure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.

Assigning roles and defining responsibilities can boost productivity, so ensure that ownership is considered. Build engineering leaders who can assist chief-level executives with managing a scalable team structure and serve as executive assistants.

6. Build A Distributed Software Team

Building distributed teams for software development allows for greater scalability, as more people and resources can be brought onto a project. It also allows for a wider range of expertise and diverse perspectives, which can lead to more innovative solutions. Additionally, distributed teams allow for flexibility in terms of location and schedule, which can make it easier to find and retain talented individuals. And it also allows for better time zone coverage and faster development since the team can work around the clock.

7. Agility

The Agile development concept is popular in the industry. Adaptability is the key to Agile software delivery. Agile teams are cross-functional and share responsibility for results, even though each member plays a specific role in completing projects. Therefore, one must assess each member of the development team's ability to self-organize before scaling up.

In agile teams, end goals are met through a collaborative effort. Teams will assess the importance of features and work on those that add the most value to function efficiently. It allows for a faster release by adopting an Agile approach, which allows software development teams to deliver incrementally over time and at a set cost.

8. Attention To Product Management

Project management becomes a challenge due to the growth of tasks within the software team. A plan-driven approach is necessary for large projects that need dedicated teams or complex tasks that need to be divided into small chunks and assigned to different people. Scaling software teams should not be formed based on tech stack but on a particular product or a specific feature/functionality/platform paradigm, such as the mobile app backend. This will result in faster and more qualified development. In an environment of changing requirements, dedicated teams are the best bet: they are balanced, well-accountable, and flexible.

In task management, short sprints ensure quick reactions and constant progress. In this case, faster is better. Tasks must be assigned to the team based on their experience levels and capabilities. It is also necessary to use effective reporting software for efficient management.

9. Apply Best Coding Practices

Application performance is directly impacted by code quality. Therefore, creating a high-quality Minimum Viable Product (MVP) at the beginning is critical. Poor code quality will turn the project into a nightmare.

10. Improvement Plan

Planning for the development team can begin when roles are assigned and understood. Agile companies should set up a cadence of ceremonies such as sprint planning, sprint review, backlog grooming, sprint retrospectives, and daily standups.

Whenever someone points out that a task assigned to them is outside their role, they should be prepared. A specific process needs to be developed to assign or handle unaccounted tasks.

Also, Read: How Agile and Outsourcing Can Be Better Together?


Scaling software development teams is the ultimate challenge. A clear vision, mission, and culture, along with a solid process and technical base, is the key to scaling software development.

Regardless of the size and structure of the organization, adopting agile practices and leveraging technology and processes to cultivate collaboration among teams is key. In-house or outsourced developers will help one implement best practices and improve the knowledge of the end goal. At Solutelabs, we provide a wide range of custom app development services that cater to the needs of businesses. Our team of experts has a wealth of experience managing complex projects, which makes us the perfect choice for you. To Know more, contact us today.


Stay curious, Questions?

How to scale a software company?

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A solid process and technical base, along with the right vision, mission, and culture, are the keys to scaling software development.

What is a development team made up of?

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The development team comprises project managers, business analysts, UX/UI designers, frontend and backend developers, and QA engineers.