Insights on Different Stages of the Agile lifecycle and Tips to Improve Software Development Agility

The primary objective of using Agile is to deliver shorter development cycles frequently, unlike the traditional waterfall methodology.

Agile essentially is an iterative process in project management and software development. It helps teams to work on smaller goals to ensure speedy and efficient results. This helps everyone involved to adapt to the changes quickly.

There are numerous Agile architecture models available today. Scrum and Kanban are the two most commonly used Agile frameworks. Irrespective of the method chosen, each Agile methodology must follow certain steps like the ones mentioned below.

The 6 steps in the Agile methodology

1: Sprint Planning/Ideation

Every project begins with proper planning. This is the ideation stage where everyone involved, from stakeholders, business teams, developers, and potential users of the product are aware of the objectives of the company and individual roles.

With Agile, the project uses sprints that have shorter development cycles with features released at the end of each cycle.

It is seen that by developing project scope, it becomes easier to use Agile project management. It helps enterprises to define the goals of the new software, accurate documentation of user requirements, and allocate resources based on priority tasks.

2. Daily stand-ups

Holding daily stand-ups or short meetings will ease out a lot of confusion and makes everyone involved get a clear picture of the progress of the tasks and workflows. During these stand-ups, each sprint can be assessed, and each team member will get to talk about their accomplishments or pain points.

The meetings are short and should take up only 15 minutes. These are brief daily update meetings and not problem-solving sessions.

3. Sprint review

The teams must hold two meetings after the completion of each sprint. One is to hold a sprint review with all the project team members and discuss the completed product/service. This is a transparent and discussion phase where everyone communicates their POV. Any communication gaps can be bridged in this phase.

The second one will be a sprint retrospective meeting with everyone involved in the project. Here the discussion will be based on each sprint and what went well or what went wrong, the scope of improvement and changes needed, tasks and priorities, the workload on each member, and everything else related to the release.

4. Development

The next step after ideation is creating the first iteration of the software. This is called the development phase and includes all the ‘advancement’ phases of production, UX/UI, design, creating, and coding. The first iteration development is generally the longest stage in Agile application development lifecycle.

5. Testing

Post-development and before releasing, products should go through quality assurance. The Agile team tests the app and performs trial runs to ensure that code is error-free and fully functional.

6. Deployment

When the application is ready to be released, the agile team integrated it to the on-premises server or to the cloud.

7. Operations

Post all the work completion, operations will become an ongoing process. Timely maintenance helps to keep errors and bugs at bay. This is the phase where enterprises can collect user feedback and make changes or improvements before the next iterations

Tips to improve software development agility

Companies need to evaluate their enterprise in terms of competition and productivity. If companies are aligned with changing needs of customers and teams within then there are ample opportunities to improve and grow. Take a look at each of the five main areas that are responsible for driving speed and agility along with some suggestions.

  • Methodology

Make sure to improve collaboration between business and IT and allow for faster discovery of project requirements to ensure a quicker time to value. Allowing for quick adoption to changing business needs improves speed and agility throughout all phases.

  • Architecture

To facilitate the teams to create independent tasks and scale with less impact on the workflow, it is always better to design the solutions based on the principles of Microservices architecture. CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery) enables a seamless workflow between teams.

  • Automation

It is advisable to automate tasks that do not require manual involvement. The error rate is also comparatively lower when tasks are automated. Time and effort of the team members are saved, and they can concentrate on high-priority work.

  • Support

The infrastructure should support the workflow by being flexible and adaptable to dynamic changes. After immediate provisioning of servers, the next step is containerization. This leads to automated provisioning.

  • Technology

In the long run, it is the technology that facilitates agility in the SDLC. To leverage the most of it, companies should focus on all areas and assess goals frequently and select the tools and technology accordingly.

Frequent due diligence and a combination of two or more technologies can support an enterprise to be agile. Go for technologies that are open and easy to integrate and the ones that improve agility and bring overall growth to the enterprise.

When do DevOps come into picture?

Just integrating DevOps tools and practices will not make any organization agile. As mentioned earlier, each Agile software development phase comes with different objectives. They need to be approached and achieved differently.

DevOps team is assisted by Agile development along with low-code development platforms to grow and improve in a conducive environment.

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