Cross-Functional Teams: Integrated Developer and QA Collaboration vs. Centralised QA Resources

By | May 17, 2024


In the realm of software development, structuring teams can significantly impact productivity and project outcomes. This discussion contrasts two primary models: cross-functional teams where developers and QAs collaborate directly, and hub-and-spoke models that utilise a central QA team serving multiple developer squads.

Cross-Functional Teams: Integrated Developer and QA Collaboration


  • Autonomy and Responsibility: Cross-functional teams empower members with greater autonomy and responsibility for the entire lifecycle of the product. This setup encourages a higher degree of ownership and personal investment in project success.
  • Unified Objectives: Everyone in a cross-functional team works towards a singular, shared goal. This alignment reduces conflicts over priorities and focuses efforts on common outcomes.
  • Enhanced Communication: Direct interaction between developers and QAs minimises the layers of communication, leading to faster decision-making and issue resolution. Fewer communication channels mean fewer chances for misinterpretation and delays.


  • Agile Response to Change: These teams can pivot and adapt to changes more swiftly due to their cohesive structure.
  • In-depth Knowledge Sharing: Regular interaction fosters a better understanding among team members across different disciplines, enhancing skills and expertise.


  • Resource Allocation: Smaller or less diverse organisations may struggle to allocate sufficient expertise across all teams, potentially leading to gaps in skills.
  • Risk of Isolation: Teams might develop tunnel vision, focusing only on their specific product features without considering broader company goals.

Hub-and-Spoke Model: Central QA Teams


  • Specialised Expertise: Central QA teams often develop a higher level of expertise in testing and quality assurance, which can be leveraged across multiple projects.
  • Efficiency in Resource Use: By centralising QA, companies can optimise the use of scarce or highly specialised QA resources across several development teams.


  • Standardised Practices: A central team can ensure that all products meet the same quality standards, maintaining consistency across the board.
  • Focused Development: Developers can concentrate on building features without the overhead of also managing QA processes.


  • Increased Waiting Times: The separation of roles can lead to longer queues for QA attention, especially when multiple teams require services simultaneously.
  • Conflicting Priorities: As different teams vie for QA resources, projects may experience delays or reduced attention based on shifting priorities.

Comparison and Conclusion

While both models have their advantages, cross-functional teams generally provide a more agile and cohesive environment conducive to modern software development practices. These teams benefit from reduced communication lines and a unified focus on project goals, which significantly streamlines the development process. Furthermore, the integrated approach of developers and QAs working side by side enhances mutual understanding and respect, leading to higher quality outputs.

In contrast, the hub-and-spoke model, despite its efficiency in resource utilisation and ability to standardise quality across projects, often struggles with bottlenecks and conflicting priorities. These challenges can impede the flexibility required to adapt to changing project needs or market conditions.

In conclusion, for organisations aiming for high agility and tight integration of development and testing, cross-functional teams are the recommended approach. This model aligns more naturally with Agile principles, fostering a collaborative culture that prioritises direct communication and team unity.

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