Updated: August 11, 2023

Typical size team

What Is the Typical Team Size for a Software Development Project?

A lot of things about Scrum-based software development are set in stone, such as the roles involved and the kinds of meetings teams must hold. However, there are some things that can vary from project to project and company to company. One of those is team size. So, what factors influence the optimal team size, and how do you determine the right size for your project?

Optimal Team Size

The recommended size of the team is around seven members, give or take a couple depending on the nature of the project. According to the Scrum guidelines, teams of larger sizes require too much effort for communication. Teams of smaller sizes may not have sufficient qualifications or the capacity to complete work in a timely manner.

When forming a development team, it is important to consider the needs of the team, and not just random numbers. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Cross functionality: The team should have the skill set to build the product.
  • Availability: Ideally, each team member is working on just one project at a time.
  • Stability: The members of the team spend a significant amount of time being a part of this team and must be reliable.
  • Diversity of reasoning and experience: A wide array of ideas, backgrounds, beliefs, and life experiences might be useful to call into existence creativity and versatility of approaches.
  • Psychological safety: The working environment within the team should be favorable so that the team members are able to share ideas.
  • Equality in communication: Each team member should be able to speak their mind and be heard.
  • Openness to new ideas and desire to learn.

It may be tempting to increase quality, capacity, and diversity of ideas by simply adding more people to the team. But be careful: Each member adds some productivity to the team, but each member also increases the communication load. Here, a well-known formula is applied: N (N – 1) / 2.

This formula shows how many interactions there will be within teams of various sizes. N refers to the number of people on the team. So, in a team of 5, there will be 10 interactions. This means 10 different combinations of communication among the team members. In a team of 7 members, there will be 21 interaction, and in a team of 9 members, there will be 36 interactions.

As you see, an increase in team size from 5 to 7 members almost doubles the communication load, which can have a negative impact on productivity after a certain point. When planning team size, be sure to take the communication load into account.

To avoid this pitfall, understaffing the team initially with the intent of growing it later may seem like a clever solution. But before you go that route, consider Brooks’s Law, an observation about software project management that warns, "Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later." That does not mean that team should not grow if necessary, but it’s important to remember that growth does not happen fast.

When new members are added, the team inevitably puts effort into bringing them up to speed, briefing them on the progress, goals, approaches, and nuances of the project. The team members invest their time into sharing knowledge and synching with the new arrival, showing how the work is organized. And all that time not spent developing the project means the work is slowed down, overall.

In short, there is no one “right” team size for a software development project. Instead, it’s up to each product owner and scrum master to carefully weigh the needs and complexity of the project versus the abilities and temperaments of their available developers and put together the right — and right sized — team for the job.

Key Roles on a Software Development Team

That said, every development team needs a certain combination of roles in order to succeed. In the classical understanding of Scrum, there are three basic roles:

Team size for software development project

Product Owner

The product owner is a “connecting link” between the development team and the client. The goal of the product owner is to guide the development team toward creating the most valuable product possible to achieve the client’s goals.

Scrum Master

The scrum master is the servant-leader of the team. The goal of the scrum master is to help the team maximize its effectiveness by removing impediments, driving progress, educating and motivating the team, and helping the product owner.

Development Team

The development team consists of the specialists who carry out the development activities on the product. This includes a handful of specific roles:

  • Project manager: Oversees the big picture process of a project, including logistics, timeline, budgets, and risks. (The project manager and scrum master may be the same person or different people.)
  • Business analyst: Works with the client to dig into the business processes and goals to define objectives and requirements for the new software to ensure the product is in alignment with the client’s vision.
  • Software architect: While the business analyst approaches the project form a big-picture business perspective, the software architect approaches it from a software perspective, making high-level technical decisions, such as which technologies to use.
  • Designers: UI and UX designers are responsible for the user experience of a project. These players leverage user interviews, market research, and design expertise to ensure end users—whether internal or external—have a great experience with the product.
  • Developers: These are the team members who are actually writing the code—the engineers bringing the vision and design to life.
  • Quality Assurance: Separate from the developers, these code experts are in charge of testing the software at every step of development, finding and fixing any bugs before they turn into major problems.

The number of developers on the team may vary by project, but according to the Scrum Guide, every development team should possess the following qualities and characteristics:

  • Self-organizing. Nobody, including the scrum master and the product owner, can tell the team how to transform the product backlog into a working product.
  • Multi-functional. Possess the necessary qualifications and experience to produce a working product.
  • Accountable. The whole team — not any individual team member — is responsible for the work result.

Does putting together the right, and right-sized, team still seem like a daunting task? At Syberry, we’re obsessed with laying the perfect foundation for every client’s project, and we’ll guide you in understanding who you need on your team and how robust that team needs to be.

Publication date: July 6, 2020
  • outsourcing
  • international management

Learn more about how Syberry can help your business achieve its every goal

What our customers say about us

Syberry’s team was highly responsive and communicative, managing our project smoothly, responding immediately to any issues that arose, and delivering great software at a reasonable price.

Richard Harkness


Elk Grove, CA

How we help ADEPT Driver Company

We developed a web-based driving simulator for teens and another for adults. The products run on Chromebooks, and the team added features that enable them to measure a driver's ability to avoid a crash.

Technologies used

I don't think you could find a better company to manage and build your project. I get so many compliments on my application, and it has a lot of unique and complex development.

Todd Surber


Charleston, South Carolina

How we help PIXRIT Company

A photographer approached us to build a web-based software platform that combines the fastest social media manager with state-of-the-art galleries and provides the ultimate tool for photographers to upload, store, back up, and share their photos and manage their SMM activities.

Technologies used

The high-quality, user-friendly software Syberry created for us has helped grow our clientele, and we were very pleased with their partnership. Syberry was straightforward and consistent in their communication, met every deadline, and ensured a hassle-free development process.

Vince Hughes

Owner, Steel Estimating Solutions

Knoxville, TN

How we help Steel Estimating Solutions Company

Our client was inspired to create a product that helps steel erection companies perform faster, more efficient estimations and bids. We developed original proprietary software from the initial concept.

Technologies used

Syberry delivered world-class service for a cost-efficient price. They communicated well with our team throughout the process, breaking down steps and utilizing a streamlined management system to keep everyone in the loop at all times. The resulting new platform far outperforms its predecessor and has received rave reviews.

Bill Fahy

Owner, FDI Creative Services

Houston, TX

How we help FDI Creative Services Company

Following strict regulations and requirements, we used AWS to develop a custom e-commerce web app that includes shipping integration. Since the site’s launch, the team has continued to make updates.

Technologies used

The application was delivered on time and within budget. Syberry explained their process thoroughly and accommodated to scope changes effortlessly. Their stellar project management, highly responsive communication, and proactive attitude set them apart.

Ricardo Casas

CEO, Fahrenheit Marketing

Austin, TX

How we help Fahrenheit Marketing Company

We developed a large, complex .NET application with various third-party integrations. The team built the software from scratch based on existing wireframes.

Technologies used

The end solution exceeded the client’s expectations. Syberry delivered high-quality products on time and at outstanding value. They provided frequent updates and repeatedly sought feedback at each stage. Customers can expect a highly experienced team that easily translates concepts into solutions.

Rudy Milkovic

Executive Director, Velikom

Austin, TX

How we help Velikom Company

Our team built video streaming software as a web and desktop app for a third-party client. We completed end-to-end development—from scoping to feedback cycles to QA—using PHP and Wowza Streaming Engine.

Technologies used

Syberry has significantly improved our existing platform, and they continue demonstrate their dedication to our business goals and needs by making thoughtful suggestions for enhancements. The Syberry team is communicative and reliable, mitigating all our concerns about outsourcing software development.

Cory Kowal

VP of Products, THG Energy Solutions

Tulsa, OK

How we help THG Energy Solutions Company

Taking over for another vendor, we served as the ongoing software engineering partner for an energy company’s cloud-based platform. The company provided scoping, development, testing, and deployment services.

Technologies used

Syberry has been an invaluable partner in development. Their impressive team was more than able to fulfill our project needs, and their expertise and dedication led to smooth collaboration every step of the way. The result was a successfully launched product that has received lots of positive feedback.

Chris Cox

CTO, MyMelo

Louisville, Kentucky

How we help MyMelo Company

We provided staff augmentation resources for a development project. The team contributed engineers to follow an established roadmap to perform updates and add features.

Technologies used

The database Syberry developed has empowered 40 organizations to help in the fight against COVID-19. A communicative partner, the Syberry team worked quickly and efficiently to launch the website, and they continue to invest their time and efforts into the project.

David Snyder

Product Director, Covid Resource Network

West Orange, New Jersey

How we help Covid Resource Network Company

The company developed a website that serves as a database where organizations can find and donate to other organizations. Currently, the team is working on enhancing the website and fixing bugs.

Technologies used

Syberry was a patient partner, making this engagement feel like a true collaboration. The system they created for us will save our team significant time and frustration.

Joyce Cubio

VP of Operations, Ernie's Mobile Home Transport

Yuba, California

How we help Ernie's Mobile Home Transport Company

The team built an information hub for a mobile home transport and permit service. After discussing the existing system and processes, we delivered a new structure for forms and data.

Technologies used

The Syberry team is skilled at juggling multiple projects. Though they are in high demand, we were confident that they had the resources and the expertise needed to focus on our partnership. Their constant dedication led to a truly successful engagement, and the final product exceeded all our expectations.

John Fox

Executive VP, Fox Business Automation Solutions

Lakeland, Florida

How we help Fox Business Automation Solutions Company

Brought on as a third party, we supplied ongoing development services. The team work on multiple projects and deliver according to predetermined design specifications.

Technologies used

Contact us to learn more about how Syberry can help your business achieve its every goal!

0 / 2500

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Submit loading...

Was this page helpful?