Project ManagementAn Introduction to Agile Software Development

An Introduction to Agile Software Development

You have probably heard of Agile software development as a software developer. If you are not familiar with Agile software development, it is a programming methodology that emphasizes rapid and iterative software development approaches. The Agile method fosters software development in small, incremental steps.

This project management tutorial presents an introduction to Agile software development practices and answers the question: what is Agile software development?

What is Agile?

Agile software development refers to methods and practices that provide value quickly, efficiently, and consistently to customers as it relates to the software development lifecycle (SDLC). The ability to build and react to change is called Agile. It is a method for coping and, ultimately, succeeding in an uncertain and turbulent development environment. Within the Agile software development model, self-organizing and cross-functional teams work together to build and deploy solutions. Some of the popular Agile methodologies include Scrum, Kanban, and Lean.

Agile splits enormous software development tasks into smaller, more manageable parts called iterations. Agile differs from other software development methodologies in that it focuses mainly on the people performing the job and the cooperation, collaboration, and communication between them. Solutions emerge from collaboration amongst self-organizing cross-functional teams that use the best techniques available.

Instead of writing one extensive and comprehensive application, the Agile method involves breaking software applications into smaller, more manageable pieces. These pieces are built, tested, and deployed in iterations. Iterations are short, time-boxed periods during which you change your application’s features and functionality. Most importantly, you can implement these changes quickly.

Read: What is Agile Project Management Software?

What is Agile Software Development?

The Agile software development paradigm is a software development methodology comprising practices and approaches that thrive on iterative and incremental software development. In this development methodology, the requirements – as well as the solutions – evolve through collaboration amongst self-organizing, cross-functional programmer teams that may not or may not be collocated or remote.

The Agile approach fosters adaptability, evolutionary development, and delivery, as well as a time-bound, iterative approach and quick response to change. Agile promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary growth, early delivery, and continual improvement.

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Example of a Project Management Tool, Monday.com

Why Should I Use Agile?

Agile was established for the software industry to simplify and expedite the development process to detect and correct errors and difficulties swiftly. It enables teams and developers to produce a better product in less time by using short, iterative sprints or sessions. And, with more businesses transitioning to the digital workplace, being Agile is a perfect match for enterprises aiming to improve the way they generally manage projects and function.

The most significant benefit of the Agile development methodology is that it fosters shorter development cycles. So, you can get your products or features to market faster and start seeing returns on your investment sooner.

Agile also enables more collaboration between different team members, leading to a more cohesive team and better products. And finally, Agile allows you to get better customer feedback, which can help you make better decisions about what to build next.

Here are the benefits of the Agile methodology:

  • Shorter development cycles
  • Better flexibility
  • Faster, incremental releases
  • Adaptability
  • Improved quality
  • Better risk management
  • Reduced costs

Read: Project Management Methodologies

What is The Agile Lifecycle?

A typical Agile lifecycle consists of the following steps:

  • Project Planning – This helps your team understand the goals, the value to be delivered to the stakeholders, and define the project scope.
  • Product Roadmap – This helps to define a breakdown of all the features that are needed as part of the final deliverable.
  • Release Planning – This helps plan the future releases and revisit and reevaluate the release plans before a sprint starts.
  • Sprint Planning – This helps plan how the tasks in a sprint should be accomplished, by whom and the time it would take to complete those tasks.
  • Daily Scrum Meetings – These meetings are usually short and help the team know the tasks to be accomplished on a particular day, the roadblocks (if any) and assess if any changes are required.
  • Sprint Review / Retrospective Meetings – These meetings are usually held after every sprint to discuss what went well in the sprint and what did not or what could have been done better.

The principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto enable businesses to strive towards excellence. The manifesto promotes trust, transparency, collaboration, and consumer involvement. While software strategies may seem basic, it is always critical to work with experts that understand the significance of delivering a quality product and maintaining customer satisfaction. The Agile Manifesto has four key values:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Read: How to Become a Project Manager

What are Distributed Agile Teams?

Although communication is seamless in co-located teams, you may not have all the team members with the necessary expertise in the same location. Today’s development firms may have dispersed teams spread across the world.

Distributed Agile teams can help you lower costs and accelerate time to market while opening your options to allow you to have motivated, talented people spread across the globe.

Agile versus Waterfall Methodology

Changes may be made far in advance in the Agile methodology while staying within the project budget. Even when the scope is not predefined, the Agile method works well. On the contrary, the Waterfall method works well only when the project scope is well-defined in advance.

Typically, features are prioritized in Agile, and concerns are addressed according to their priority. This improves financing efficiency while avoiding project failures entirely. On the other hand, the Waterfall technique never prioritizes features, which results in either complete success or failure.

The Agile approach helps modifications occur intermittently throughout a process. The Waterfall approach does not enable adjustments throughout the project process, and, if a mistake is made, the project must be restarted from the beginning. Customers may be reached throughout the project thanks to the Agile methodology best practices. Customers’ availability is only required in stages in Waterfall.

Read: Best Project Management Software

Agile Software Development Summarized

Agile fosters collaboration, responsiveness to change, simplicity, and self-organization. It is a flexible, iterative, and incremental methodology that allows flexibility and adaptation to change. However, being Agile requires transparency and trust, and building this trust takes time. It would help if you had the right people who are motivated, organized, and who are willing to adhere to Agile principles. An Agile software development team that delivers value consistently can bring business agility to an enterprise.

Read more project management tutorials and project management tool reviews.

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