Agile represents a well-known term these days, particularly in the IT universe.
Until recently, Agile has been seen as a set of management practices relevant to software development. It became a huge worldwide movement when the companies realized Agile represents the only way to deal with the chaotic customer-driven marketplace.
To be more clear, Agile is a technique of creating software alternatives (websites, mobile apps) focusing on providing high-quality working software, while minimizing project overhead and growing company’s value.
The Agile approach – common steps
When starting a project it’s essential to know the client’s vision. Agile software development projects begin with a set of Discovery Sessions and research in order to comprehend the client’s goals, issues that might occur, the business environment, customers and users. These sessions involve key members of the project (the client, the PM, the designer, the developer, product owner) to guarantee a shared understanding across the whole team.
The product backlog
Along the first stage, the team works closely and cooperates to create a high level Product Backlog. They put together a list with all the features that would be useful to the client.
Further, these features will be prioritized. By allowing the client to choose the order, the entire team will remain focused on delivering the highest level features, before moving on to lower value ones.
Are known as Sprints. This means that only after the team understands the vision of the client, and after they’ve created the highest level backlog of features, the features will be delivered through a series of time-boxed iterations with fixed duration of 1-4 weeks.
Continuing the cycle
In this phase each sprint is iterative and incremental. Based on the received feedback, the implemented features can be improved, while others can be added to the system.
There are all sorts of practice-oriented frameworks for Agile, but the most popular are Scrum and Kanban. These represent iterative work systems that rely on process flows and aim to reduce waste.
Both Scrum and Kanban allow for large and complex tasks to be broken down and completed efficiently. Also, they place a high value on continual improvement, optimization of the work and the process, sharing a very similar focus on a highly visible workflow that keeps all team members in the loop.
Photo Source: pluralsight.com
Keep in mind that integrating Agile methodologies into your software development process can have a great impact on the overall success of your program.
The benefits of using Agile development are huge.
Here are some of them:
The client is involved in every step of the project . There is a high degree of collaboration between the client and the project team. This way the team can truly understand the client’s vision.
Also, the client can prioritize the features to iteration planning and can propose new features. He is basically witnessing the work in progress.
Predictability of Agile delivery
As we mentioned earlier, the Agile technology uses fixed schedule Sprints of 1-4 weeks. During this time the new features are delivered rapidly and frequently, with a high level of predictability.
Cost and schedule
Taking into account the fixed duration, the client will not have any surprise. The cost can be predictable and also limited to the amount of work the team can perform in the established amount of time. Because the client can estimate the cost of each feature, the decision making process regarding the priority of each one is improved.
Allows for change
The overall product backlog can be refined and reprioritized based on client’s needs. The changes are usually planned for the next iteration, making it possible to introduce the new changes within a few weeks.
The focus is on creating value
The team understands what is the most important for the client. This way can deliver the features that provide business value.
The focus on users
Actually, every feature is focused on the needs of real users, and of course it will deliver value. This also gives the opportunity to beta test software after each Sprint, gaining valuable feedback early in the project and providing the ability to make changes as needed.
The project team can focus on high-quality development, testing and collaboration. Because the focus is on tests and reviews during each iteration, the quality is improved because the issues are spotted and fixed.
Agile represents a strong tool for software development, as long as you choose the best team to work with. As you can see, it can provide numerous benefits and it has the advantage of helping the team to deal with some of the most common project pitfalls such as cost or predictability, in a more controlled manner.