Modern software development and project management is more flexible, adapting & evolving. Credits: Agile Methodology in Software Development. What are the popular Agile advantages? We’ve covered some of them in this article, a quick 10 minutes read.
Agile is one of the popular and widely embraced methodology in modern software development. It has its perks when it comes to project management as well. Agile Methodologies are adopted by dedicated software development team and a number of software development consulting service providers. Why Agile methodology is favoured? Simply because it can generate higher business and profitability as it is flexible and relevant.
According to one of the surveys run by Zippia, more than 71% of the US enterprises and over 76% of the other respondents from about 76 nations reported that they prefer agile methodology over any other. Statistics has time and again proven that the enterprise who adopt Agile Methodologies have a competitive advantage over all others. More than 275 of the enterprises make use of Agile Technologies to manage their projects effectively & gain better returns on investment. More than 65% of the organization state that Agile Methodology has shorter project time and better profitability.
Is it viable to still use the traditional models of software development and project management? Well, if you’d want to you can make use of traditional methods like Waterfall Model however be prepared to lose out on many chances of increasing your profitability! Agile Methods offer better speed and quality than the traditional methods of software development. Ask any offshore software development outsourcing company and they’ll tell you!
Agile Methodology: iterative, collaborative & result-driven approach
Agile methodology to software development is people focused, time-bound & results-oriented approach to software development and project delivery. With this method you are able to create the software in increments from the start of the project rather than delivering the software and everything else towards the end of the project. In Agile methodology the requirements of the project, action plan and the results are under evaluation on every step of the project. Hence teams develop a natural response mechanism to change, and they are able the do it quickly. This is the thought -process behind the agile method of software development.
Agile method made its appearance in the 1990s when the software development industry was booming. The traditional software development frameworks were not embraced by the developers as they were rigid and expensive. They were time consuming and frustrating. From here came the symbiosis of Agile methodology. A group of 17 leading engineers met in Utah to brainstorm on the alternative methods of software development. Here they created a set of Agile philosophy for everyone to consider:
- Favouring teams and individual interactions over tools and processes
Software development is run by humans and the way they come together is important. Tools are of course essential however software development depends on people and teams and how efficiently they communicate with one another.
- Quick response to changes
Alterations are a reality in the process of software development and it’s important to imbibe this soft approach from the very beginning. You can create a project plan however there should be room to make edits as and when needed
- Preference for a working software over documentation
Documentations are resourceful for end users and consumers but the key offering for software development teams is to create a working and relevant software and keep the focus there.
- Prioritising customer collaboration over rigid contracts
The software development teams work closely with the customers. Hence the priority is to understand their needs and listening to them. The feedback helps in devising a relevant software to meet with the business challenges.
The developers who follow Agile Methodology to software development, make use of regular, short and controllable iterations of the work, called the Sprints. An entire development cycle is completed in one short sprint which may be of 2-4 weeks long. It inculcates analysis, designing of, coding, applying testing methods and releasing the feature. Hence at the close of each Sprint the software developers are able to come up with a working software solution. Likewise, every next sprint extends to the current working solution and with steps the team moves toward the final completion.
There are some popular agile frameworks like Kanban, Scrum, Extreme Programming, Lean etc.
Key advantages of Agile Methodology to software development
Agile methodologies are best suited for enterprise’s who are keen on transforming the process of software development and delivery and the way in which the teams operate overall. When comparing with the traditional methodologies to software development agile technologies are able to outperform in multiple ways and have several benefits as below
- The quality of the software product is superior
It is possible to segregate the project into many manageable steps which can highly enhance the performance and quality of the software product. In the agile methodology testing is given utmost priority and is conducted at every step of the development sprint. Through this one of the outcomes that occurs is ensuring that the developers and the clients stand on the same page through the process of the project. There are frequent meetings that are going on to take care of this aspect. Hence the clients always know what is going on within the project and they can suggest edits when they need. It is possible for the client to provide feedback immediately after each sprint and the team of developers can quickly work towards the changes if needed. An agile design framework rests entirely on collaboration and constant feedback loop. This is also applicable to the communication amongst the development teams. It is hence possible to find and fix the bugs asap. The developers are able to optimize the code all through the development cycle that leads to overall improvement in the quality of the product
- The risks associated with software development are hugely reduced
Agile methodology is a framework that can minus out the risks almost entirely. The regular sprints, meeting constantly with the clients, project manager, constant communication between teams ensures that everyone remains on the same page about the direction of the project. Agile methodology gives significance to the value that is generated through every sprint hence teams can respond to alterations quickly eliminating risks of failure and resulting expenses and frustration. When we compare the traditional methods of software development, the client requirements are collected only towards the beginning of the project than at every step. Here the risk of software failures and frustration is more than in the Agile Methodology to software development.
- Quick time to market
Most of the Agile projects have a quick time to market, however this may not be true for every project. The products which are built with the use of agile technologies tend to get shipped quickly. This is possible through regular sprints and task prioritization of the agile process. The team can divide the whole of the project in small chunks of tasks. This can eliminate a number of rigid must haves that was brainstormed to deliver better products with better features. The rigidness of teams is eliminated highly, and every sprint is an iteration of not just the software product but also of the mindset of all the stakeholders involved.
- Following is a transparent process to the project
When we compare with traditional project management and software development methodologies, Agile framework provides a wider window for transparency. The entire project is available with all the stakeholders at every point in time not just at the start or the close. Everyone is able to look at the progress happening within the project and provide feedback rather than waiting for the end of the project. Agile methodology hugely relies upon the client’s involvement in every step, it can work towards building trust and transparency with these set of stakeholders.
- Mouldable and flexible priorities
Agile methodologies provide flexibilities like no other. This is one of the key advantages of agile technology to development. The agile teams are also smaller and hence mouldable when needed. There is constant communication between all stakeholders and continuous feedback pouring in. This enables the developers to impart changes to the backlog without having to incur huge expenses. Also, there is minimal loss of time while the software development process is in place. The priorities of the teams can be altered as needed.
- End-users are prioritised
One of the key benefits of employing Agile methodologies is the continuous emphasis on the requirements of the product’s end-users. It is significant here to bring value to the consumers. In this software development framework features find expression through user stories; the software requirements are presented in natural language which can be understood by everyone. While feature stories is possible in the traditional software development methods like Waterfall, however the process of continuous iteration after every step is what makes Agile methodology more value driven for the end users. All the features are up there and available for the end users to look at give constructive feedback time & now. With constant feedback at every step the features come out strong and polished as per the users’ expectations.
- Consistent delivery with improvements
Agile method to software development incorporates Team Retrospective (Team Retros). These are the regular meetings amongst the stakeholders to look at what work has been going on, what is going well, what aspects may need some improvements. Here the aim is not to point out the mistakes but to clear out any hurdle and share relevant information for the mistake to not repeat in the future. It is a safe space. The time duration of the meetings is dependent on the project’s requirements. This lets the developers incorporate improvements continuously while delivering features in time bound consistent manner.
- Happy Clients
Agile Methodologies drive client involvement at every sprint and iterations. It is a transparent process with better client communication, quick delivery to suggested changes. All of these come together towards client satisfaction which makes for happy customers. Meeting the business goals of the clients is easier.
- Team empowerment
Agile teams have higher autonomy than the traditionally managed teams. Hence, they take better responsibilities and ownership of their respective tasks. They are self-organized and managed. Psychologically self-management induces higher creativity amongst the team members, while they care for their work and collaborate to remove any roadblocks. This enables each and every one on the team to gain better learnings and exchange each other’s experience in a natural team setting. This aids in professional and personal growth of all the team members.
- Synchronized task optimization for on-time delivery
One of the key benefits of stakeholder’s involvement is that everyone is aware of the progress of the project hence the deadlines are practical and doable. We are able to predict the course of action and the project deadline. Before initiating the project, the team can collaborate to determine the timeline of each sprint leading to an estimate of the time needed to finish a particular project. The initial estimate is then managed and tracked all through the project making adjustments to the timelines at every sprint. At times the projects are delivered way before the deadline!
Now that we’ve looked at the merits of Agile methodology of software development, it’s also important to consider when you can apply the process to your project and plan to hire remote developers. This is applicable when new changes need to be incorporated or to implement new features with incremental development cycles, are some of the instances of employing Agile methodology to software development. Besides both stakeholders and developers feel the need to have the autonomy and flexibility of employing this model rather than the rigid method of development is also an important mindset shift that’ll be needed. After all agile is a powerful mindset that simplifies the complexities everywhere