Steve Jobs once said: “The biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology.” We are already experiencing this trend with an extraordinary technology innovation in health and life sciences. One important part of this technology is also software (embedded software, software tools, and applications, etc.), which needs to follow strict regulations and requirements proposed by the customer. To understand the customer’s needs and vision, regulations, work efficiently, and produce a product with desired functions and great value, you must consider having an interdisciplinary team for your projects.
To understand why, we prepared this blog article to discuss the benefits of having a team with multi-disciplinary expertise, especially when you develop software for the health and life science industries.
Software development team roles
Software development is a process of designing, creating, testing, and maintaining software. It involves a wide range of activities and is an ongoing process that requires personnel from different fields of science to work coherently to produce a product.
A great software development team typically includes a variety of roles and individuals with different skills and areas of expertise. Some typical roles in a software development team include:
- Key Account Manager (KAM) manages relationships with a company’s most important customers, often large or strategic accounts.
- Product Owner (PO) represents the stakeholders’ interests and ensures the project meets their needs and objectives.
- Project Manager (PM) is responsible for overseeing the project, ensuring that it stays on schedule and within budget, and coordinating the work within the team.
- Application Specialist (AS) / Domain Expert has in-depth knowledge and understanding of the business or industry in which the software will be used.
- Software Architect is responsible for designing the overall structure and architecture of the software.
- Software Developer is the individual responsible for writing the code that comprises the software.
- Software Tester is responsible for verifying that the software works as intended by running various tests, such as unit tests and system tests.
- UX/UI Designer is responsible for the overall look and feel of the software and for making sure that the software is user-friendly and easy to use.
As you can see, the team consists of personnel with different knowledge and experience. Team size, seniority, and different specializations all depend on the project’s size, budget and timeline, and specifics of the individual software. Although more people mean higher costs, a multidisciplinary team has many advantages that overcome the price aspect.
Benefits of interdisciplinary team
The benefit of interdisciplinary and cross-functional teams is that they can help improve communication and collaboration between different project areas. This can help to ensure that all aspects of a project are considered and that there is a shared understanding of the project goals and requirements.
Programmers excel at coding but may have difficulties understanding the software’s vision and value. On the other hand, individuals with external knowledge understand customer needs but lack coding skills. A great software development and diverse team combining domain and non-domain expertise is essential to bridge this gap and enhance problem-solving, fostering holistic communication and understanding.
Communication with customers, clients, partners, or any other stakeholder outside the organization is considered external communication. Every project begins with such communication, and the first impression is important to even acquire a project. To achieve this, you will need a skilled and experienced individual (Application specialist) who understands the field in which software will be deployed. Communication with your customer will be present throughout the entire process. Application specialists will be constantly in touch with them to understand any new requirements or changes made to the existing ones and evaluate them.
Customers will undoubtedly value any new ideas and proposals originating from your company, a testament to the expertise and diversity of your team. They will acknowledge your company’s tremendous value, leading to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.
By having team members with diverse skills and knowledge working together, it is possible to identify and resolve issues more quickly, as team members can draw on their different areas of expertise to tackle problems from multiple angles. This can lead to more innovative and effective solutions, a faster and more efficient development process, and a higher quality end product.
Additionally, cross-functional and interdisciplinary teams promote collaboration and knowledge-sharing among members with diverse backgrounds and skills. This leads to a more efficient workflow and a positive and productive work environment.
Software in Healthcare and Life Sciences Industry
The health and life science industry is a complex and dynamic environment encompassing a wide range of research, development, and application areas, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, and healthcare services.
Here, software solutions often have the potential to impact a wide range of people, from researchers, medical professionals, and patients to policymakers and regulatory agencies. Therefore, software development for the health and life science industry cannot be performed solely by IT experts. You should consider having someone with knowledge of nature sciences, like a biologist, chemist, or pharmacist.
Having personnel with a Ph.D. with a comprehensive understanding and a background in life sciences is well desired. Additionally, an experienced team member with a background in nature sciences may be able to communicate more effectively with clients or end users who are usually also life science experts and produce an efficient debate over some problems and present ideas and solutions. If customers recognize the competence of your great software development team, it will strengthen your company’s value.
- Software development is a process of designing, creating, testing, and maintaining software. It involves a wide range of activities that take a software idea from conception to deployment.
- To understand the customer’s needs and vision, regulations, work efficiently, and produce a product with desired functions and great value, you must consider having an interdisciplinary team for your projects.
- The great software development team consists of personnel with different knowledge and experience. Team size, seniority, and different specializations all depend on the project’s size, budget and timeline, and specifics of the individual software.
- There are many benefits to having an interdisciplinary team. These are improved internal and external communication and increased efficiency.
- Customer will recognize the competence of your company, which is only achieved by having an interdisciplinary and skilled team.
- An interdisciplinary and cross-functional team typically delivers a higher-value end product, often resulting in satisfied customers who return for more and share their positive experiences with others.
- The health and life sciences industries require a deep understanding of the specific domain for which software is developed. Hence, having an experienced life science professional (application specialist) is crucial to understanding customer needs and requirements effectively.