8 Software Development Cycle: Roles and Responsibilities 

# Last Updated On: August 9, 2021 #

In the technology-driven world, software development projects are no easy task. It requires the latest technology to be successful, a skilled development team, a cohesive collaboration between team members, and lucid communication directed internally and externally.

Software Development Cycle: Roles and Responsibilities

Software Development Cycle

A software development project is a team exercise and cannot move ahead without each team member contributing to their fullest. Identifying and documenting roles and responsibilities for your development initiative is key for overall project success.

IT industry is necessary to clearly define crucial stakeholders within your business to ensure an effective solution. But a successful software development project requires a skilled team.

The technology sphere sports diverse roles, each holding its own significance and importance in the Software Development Lifecycle.

From sponsors to SME’s, to developers and everything in-between, your development project needs to have skilled professionals performing at optimal levels to keep your business machine up and running.

In this article, we will enumerate the 8 most critical software development roles and responsibilities every development project requires. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.

1. Project Sponsor

Project sponsors are critical to every development initiative. Typically, a project sponsor provides the development team with the direction the initiative should follow and the resources required by the project.

Project sponsors interact closely with the project management team, handling clarity of scope, project progress, monitoring, etc.

It is the project sponsor who leads the initiative through the process of selecting a software provider up one till one is chosen and authorized. A project sponsor also acts as an escalation path for issues beyond the control of the product owner.

Project sponsors are usually senior management executives.

2. Subject Matter Experts (SME)

Subject matter experts are part of the software development cycle because of their extensive knowledge and authority in the sphere of the developed project. SMEs are executives with deep knowledge of a specific technology, business process, or product type.

In simple terms, an SME is a person from whom the project’s technical requirements are acquired. Accountants, finance controllers, production managers, and salespeople who get their hands greasy in the business machine daily form the crop of SMEs.

Interestingly, SMEs are mostly non-technical people. This allows them to stay free of issues and technicalities of the development initiative, allowing them to focus purely on the project’s business outcome.

An SME helps create the project’s vision statement, and their feedback can result in massive technical, financial, and temporal value.

3. Product Owner

The product owner represents the business or the end-user. They are responsible for threshing out the feature list of the project being developed with a sample user group.

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A product owner also looks after the prioritization of backlogs and focuses on maximizing the ROI of the project. A product owner is also responsible for documenting user stories and feature requirements of the project.

In nutshell, product owners are the main point of contact for project decisions, such as ensuring the project’s vision is retained, the project scope matches requirements, and resolving disputes.

Without a product owner, the software development solutions will be on shaky ground, given that most of the time, the software developers will be on hold, waiting for direction.

4. Project Manager (PM)

The project manager holds the responsibility of creating and managing the development initiatives budget as well as deadlines. Scope requirements, issue resolution, and risk management are some of the spheres looked after by the project manager.

The duties of a project manager include developing the software project plan, managing deliverables, recruitment, methodology adherence, task assigning, and providing regular updates to senior management.

Regardless of whether or not the project is following the agile methodology, once deliverables are stated, it falls to the project manager to bring change management into motion.

The project manager holds the responsibility of overseeing testing, delivery, and formal customer acceptance.

At the end of a development initiative, the project manager creates a review of the entire project to document lessons learned and calculate project success.

5. Technical Lead

In a software development outsourcing project, the technical lead is responsible for translating business requirements into functional software.

The presence of the technical lead is critical in planning sessions so that he gets a first-hand account of business requirements from the customer’s perspective.

The technical lead functions as the development team leader and provides estimates and technical details for the development team to follow.

This information is then passed on to the project manager to create a ‘Statement of Work’ and a ‘Work Breakdown Structure.’

The technical lead is supposed to communicate effectively with the project manager and is responsible for establishing and enforcing industry coding standards and practices.

6. Software Developers

Software developers are responsible for converting technical requirements received from the technical lead and turn them into actual software while remaining well within project deadlines and budgets.

Software developers are the frontline of any development initiative and are responsible for crafting deliverables and communicating the project’s status to the project manager or the technical lead.

7. Software Testers

The role of a software tester is to ensure that the software developed matches business requirements and is bug/error-free.

Crucial to the test planning and preparation phases, software testers are tasked with reviewing and contributing to the test plan while pro-actively analyzing and assessing design specifications and technical requirements.

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Software testers identify test conditions, create test designs and cases, and develop automation for testing procedures.

Some duties of a software tester include setting up test environments, test execution, test logging and the evaluation of results, communicating the discovery of bugs/errors, monitoring the test environment, and gathering performance metrics.

8. User Acceptance Testers

Arguably the newest among the roles mentioned above, user experience testers take QA to a whole new level. User acceptance testers come into play just before a new software solution is released/ made live.

User acceptance testing has grown in popularity since the market is inundated with software and applications that may offer similar functionalities vis a vis your project.

In such cases, the user experience offered by your product will act as an added advantage and a reason for users to switch over to your software.

It is essential to bring in UAT professionals from the beginning of the project to contribute to the design and feature inclusion of the developed software product. SME can double up as user acceptance testers, given that they will be able to identify features and functionality requirements.


The ideal software solution partner should have the required infrastructural resources and experience for your project to succeed and a clear team bifurcation where every person understands their role and fulfills their responsibilities.

An ideal custom software development company should have vetted resources handling all the roles we have mentioned.

It is equally important for you, the customer, to understand which roles are critical to your development project and which ones can be done away with to ensure successful project completion.

As a parting thought, lucid communication is the mantra to bring all the above roles together in a cohesive work environment.

Regardless of the labels, you apply to the roles mentioned above, clear statements of expectations and status can prove to be the make or break factor for your software development project.

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