Understanding Agile software development

What is Agile?

Agile is a project management methodology that focuses on iterative development cycles instead of pushing towards one large end goal. The latter involves having to make costly changes once the project has already been implemented if necessary. In agile systems developers tend to have bi-monthly meetings to review issues like product features or user stories to ensure continuous product improvement, early delivery, and flexibility for example.

The word Agile itself in this context is an umbrella term for various software delivery methods, one of the most widely used being SCRUM. In the scrum agile framework developers work in 2–4 week “sprints” and have daily meetings to assess each teams progress. The project manager is called the scrum master and is in charge of keeping everyone on task with the clients wishlist or product backlog.


Why use Agile?

Before we go into the benefits of agile product management lets briefly review the origins of this methodology. Agile project management is based on the Agile manifesto created in 2001 by a group of 17 men later known as the Agile Alliance. It is based on 12 principles that revolve around these core values:

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


Traditional software development models such as waterfall, progress downwards like a waterfall through phases of design, implementation, verification, and maintenance. After the product is launched clients who may not have been able to communicate their desired end product effectively can request costly changes that involve redesign, redevelopment, and retesting.

Agile looks to prevent issues like this by keeping customers fully informed with incremental updates through, more product control, higher quality due to the ability to implement changes throughout the development cycle, and in the end reduced chances of product failure.


Applications

Lets go over an example workflow of an agile project to gain more insight into this methodology. Imagine “Super tech” company wants a new proprietary software developed that allows its clients to review gadgets for sale in full three dimensional detail before their purchased product arrives. Super tech decides to hire “Good Guys software solutions” for the job.

From a high level perspective, Super tech would define all of the requirements for the project with Good Guys management team. Good Guys would break the requirements list down into sections of individual features to be added then integrate them one by one. After a feature has been implemented, testing begins before the next feature takes shape. This process continues until the requirement list from Super tech is complete. The product is then released, reviewed and reexamined with the feedback from the client.

If the product is satisfactory it will be released into the market. In the event the product doesn't meet the clients expectations Good Guys will record the feedback to assist in making adjustments, re-prioritizing features and starting the next iteration of (re)development. This next iteration follows the same procedure stated earlier of developing a new functionality , integrating that into the product and conducting thorough testing before moving onto the next feature. Once again the product is reviewed for public release.


Closing notes

To recap Agile software development encompasses an array of terms for ways to create products with benefits like customer satisfaction, flexibility, and early delivery to mention a few. While Agile has its pros, it may not be the best method for every project. Agile methodology tends to work best with smaller projects although modified versions can be used for larger ones. The internet has many resources for learning more details about Agile management and how it can be of use to a project you're team is working on. If you learned anything from this article please press the clap button below and feel free to leave feedback or constructive criticism. Thanks !