How to Start a Software Dev Agency

Building out your dev agency team

Building out the team for a software development agency is a strategic process that requires thoughtful consideration of each role’s impact on your business. Here’s a roadmap for growing your team, starting from scratch:

1. Founder (The Solo Beginnings)

As the founder, you’re initially the jack-of-all-trades. You will manage client relations, manage the project delivery, and possibly even do some of the development work. Your main focus is to validate your business idea, secure the first clients, and deliver quality work to build a portfolio.

2. First Hire – Developer or Designer (Expanding the Core)

The first hire should complement your skill set. If you’re a developer, consider hiring a designer to enhance the user experience of your projects. Conversely, if your strength lies in design, hire a developer to handle the technical aspects of project creation.

3. Sales and Client Relations (Growing the Business)

Once you have a portfolio, you need someone dedicated to acquiring new clients. This might be a salesperson or a client relationship manager who can also manage accounts and ensure client satisfaction.

4. Project Manager (Streamlining Delivery)

As projects become more complex, a project manager becomes crucial. They will oversee project delivery, ensuring milestones are met and that the client has a clear point of contact.

5. Quality Assurance Engineer (Ensuring Quality)

To maintain high standards, a QA engineer will be needed to test the software and ensure it meets all requirements before delivery. This role is crucial in building a reputation for quality.

6. Additional Developers and Designers (Scaling the Team)

As demand grows, additional developers, designers and testers will be required to handle the workload. These should be added one by one, ensuring that each new hire maintains the quality and culture of your agency. Also, by only hiring new developers, designers and testers as your project load demands, you ensure that there aren’t people sitting around with no projects to work on.

7. Finance and Administration (Supporting the Business)

With more employees and projects, you’ll need someone to manage finances, accounting, and administrative tasks. Hiring an individual or small team to manage these aspects can free up time for you to focus on business growth.

8. IT and Infrastructure Specialist (Strengthening the Tech Foundation)

To support the growing team and the complexity of projects, an IT and infrastructure specialist will be needed to manage the technological needs of the agency.

Leadership and Middle Management (Guiding the Ship)

As the company grows, adding middle management helps in maintaining order and focus. These managers will lead the various teams / departments, ensuring that your vision and quality standards are upheld. Probably one of the first middle management roles will be appointing technical leads for the development teams. Later you will probably end up promoting one of the team leads to become the Development Manager, once the team gets big enough to require one.

9. Specialized Technical Roles (Adding Depth)

Depending on the nature of your projects, you might need to add specialized roles such as DevOps engineers, data scientists, AI specialists, ERP specialists or cybersecurity experts to offer a wider range of services to your clients.

10. Support Staff (Ensuring Client Satisfaction)

Customer support staff can be added to assist with post-delivery support, ensuring that your clients are cared for even after project completion.

11. Expanding Sales and Marketing (Fueling Growth)

With a stable development and support team, focus can shift to expanding the client base through a larger sales and marketing team.

12. C-Suite Executives (Finding the Leadership)

As the agency reaches a substantial size, you will probably need to add C-suite executives like a CEO, CTO, and CFO to help manage the overall direction and strategy of the company.

Throughout this growth process, it’s crucial to maintain a balance between expanding your team and managing your agency’s resources. Each new hire should be justified by the workload and the value they bring to your clients. It’s also important to foster a culture that reflects your vision for the agency, as culture becomes a cornerstone of your brand as you grow.