The agile methodology turned 21 this year. It was once a remote approach for startups collaborating in colocated margins with whiteboards, but is now a scalable and highly utilized group of agile software development techniques and tools.
The history behind agile development is rich. Some of the reason why businesses implement agile methodologies such as kanban and scrum is because it helps to modernize software applications, enhance customer experience, and implement digital transformations.
There is also a huge body of knowledge around agile approaches and their intersections with DevOps, design thinking, and product management.
Let’s explore what agile methodology is and learn more about agile approaches and the best practices to follow while cultivating an agile culture and delivering robust software solutions.
Defining the Agile Methodology
An agile methodology is basically a software development approach that encourages continuous iteration and testing throughout the entire development process.
This approach is aligned with the principles and values defined in the Agile Manifesto for software development. Principles of Agile Manifesto:
- Working software is the primary phase of improvement.
- Aim to satisfy the customer through continuous delivery of valuable products.
- Encourage sustainable development and preserve a steady pace indefinitely.
- A constant eye on technical superiority and the right design improve agility.
- Deliver working software, with a preference for the more transient timescale.
- Embrace changing conditions throughout the project.
The agile methodology aims to deliver the right software product and resolve complex challenges faced by the traditional waterfall approach of software development which illustrates the development process in a linear sequential flow, where each phase must be completed before the next phase can begin, with no overlapping in the phases.
In the agile methodologies, software developers frequently deliver small chunks of functionalities using cross-functional self-organizing teams that allow customers to give feedback frequently and course corrections as required.
When it comes to the agile model in software testing, both testing activities and development are concurrent just like in the waterfall model. Once you start working with the agile model, teams cycle through a process of planning, implementing, and evaluating.
In short, the agile methodology allows you to manage a project by splitting it into several phases. This makes sure that there is a continuous improvement at every stage and ongoing partnership with stakeholders throughout.
Agile Software Development Infrastructure
If you have ever worked in an agile infrastructure, you might be aware that it is one of the most widely used, effective, and simple methods executed by giant organizations to turn their vision into software solutions.
Basically, agile infrastructure is a word used to illustrate software development practices that enable flexible reactions to adjust and utilize continual planning, early delivery, better decision-making, team collaboration, and improvement.
In other words, agile infrastructure underlines four core values that include:
- Reacting to change by obeying a plan
- Functioning software over extensive documentation
- Separate as well as team communication over processes and tools to be used in the development process
- Collaborating with the customer over contract negotiation
Now that you are familiar with the agile methodology and what it entails, it’s time to move to the next step and explore the importance of agile methodology.
Value, Benefits, and Importance of Agile Methodology
The agile framework is a powerful tool that not only allows teams, managers, and clients to improve product quality, but also overcome pitfalls like scope creep and excessive costs.
By involving project owners, team members, and other stakeholders in the development process, the agile framework presents other key benefits that add value to software development, including:
1. Better project predictability
Due to the increased collaboration and communication to keep everyone on the loop during entire software development processes, anticipating risks and coming up with useful mitigation plans becomes more thorough and easier to execute.
With the agile framework, you'll find more ways to analyze and predict risks so that you can make sure that the project is running smoothly as desired. For instance, Scrum methodology uses sprint backlogs which helps to boost project visibility and allows managers to predict performance and plan.
2. Continuous Improvement
When you follow an agile approach, you look for continuous improvement and reflection, which is essential as it is one of the major principles of the agile manifesto. Continuous reflection and improvement works for each sprint and interacts with it to make processes better so that previous mistakes are not repeated.
Agile methodologies encourage open communication to exchange ideas and learn from shared experiences. Apart from this, it continuously refines the project and system to improve on the process itself and follow through with plans accordingly.
3. Increased customer satisfaction
If you're working in an agile ecosystem, your customers are always involved in the decision-making process, which improves customer engagement and ensures client satisfaction and retention is increased, while also not adversely affecting execution.
In the traditional waterfall framework, however, clients only get involved in the planning and last stages when each phase completely wraps up before the next phase begins, which can hinder the client’s ability to properly track the development lifecycle.
That can hinder the customers’ satisfaction levels regarding whether the product is developed according to their requirements and meets the desired goals.
4. Better project management control
With agile development, managers can have better control over their projects due to the quality-control features and the transparency.
Quality has always been the main factor for software, and it is assured throughout the process lifecycle in various ways, including daily progress reports and use of advanced development techniques and tools.
5. Increased flexibility
The agile approach offers teams unparalleled flexibility. In agile development, teams work in smaller chunks and are supplemented by the continuous improvement contributions of the project or product owner.
In other project management methodologies aside from agile, changes usually take more time and become costly because they are introduced at the very end. However, in agile ecosystems, your project is divided into small sprints that are flexible enough to allow the development team to implement project changes on short notice.
This is one of the main reason why modern businesses today choose to work with agile methodologies for their project.