Today, businesses need to synchronize their software development cycles in-line with the market demands and deliver the highest quality results in the fastest way. Agile Methodology is being used by organizations of varying sizes, across verticals, to reduce project cycle time, lower execution costs and mitigate the risks that are normally associated with the traditional development methods. Businesses are collaborating with their clients and getting them on board very early on right from project inception to implementation; prioritizing customer requirements and asking for quick feedback. Following automated and transparent processes helps to keep the clients informed about the project progress and makes the system responsive and flexible to change. That’s also where the Agile methodology derives its name from.
In this tutorial we’ll walk you through the basics of Agile methods, and why you should use them in your business. Of course, if you want to jump ahead, you can always hop over to our introductory course on Agile.
What is Agile Methodology?
The Agile Methodology uses iterative methods in the software development process to arrive at solutions through a continuous collaboration between various teams in the organization and customers. It helps the business to work efficiently in a changing environment with the use of simple tools, better communication – all working towards achieving technical and business excellence. Often mistaken to be similar to predictive processes like the Waterfall Method, Agile Processes are in fact more adaptive in nature, taking care of unpredictable situations and controlling the overall outcome of the project.
Main Features of Agile
- Iterative Processes
The project / solution development is divided into several incremental units, with each unit scheduled for completion within a stipulated time. The Scrum is the most popular tool to make your systems Agile as it uses short iterations and an empirical / adaptive feedback process. To get a better feel of Scrum, try out this introductory course to Agile Scrum.
- Continuous Customer Collaboration
One of the most important features of the Agile Methodology is to give highest priority to customer satisfaction by delivering high quality solutions in a short time frame. Scrum teams must essentially work closely, be self-organized, highly motivated and give the highest priority to meeting the customer’s changing requirements.
- Strong Communication Channels
Developers, architects and project managers need to establish a strong communication platform within the teams and also with their customers to convey the progress of the project, take quick feedback and accommodate changes quickly. Since the customer is involved in every stage of the iterative process, it is imperative to communicate face-to-face and provide transparent channels of communication.
- Sustainable Development
Agile teams work towards bringing about sustainable project development by following strict iteration deadlines, continuous monitoring of their efficiency and giving importance to the design and quality aspects of the project; thereby fine-tuning the process as it goes.
Agile keeps the development process simple by a focusing on flexibility to change, attaining technical excellence, and continual improvement.
Benefits of Agile Methodology
- Faster Deliveries
With Agile, businesses can start delivering valuable solutions almost immediately unlike in the traditional methods where teams would experience project delays and abundant pressure while moving towards a project deadline.
- Higher Customer Satisfaction
Since the customers are involved right from the beginning of the project, they have a better understanding of the final product and its quality; giving them better project value, shortening time to market and giving them better return on investment. The customer experience is extremely important for any business that wants to grow.
- Reduces Project Risks
Traditional systems are normally associated with risks such as delivery delays, higher project costs, lower quality, and usability. Agile reduces all these risks due to its adaptive approach to project management, enabling teams to make quick decisions and adjust their processes to achieve the common goals.
- Faster Revenues
Since the development cycle times are reduced drastically, businesses can market the products quickly in-line with the demands of the user thereby reducing the time in revenue generation and increasing profitability.
Why Should You Use Agile?
Delivering high quality software in short time frames and within the estimated budget is the most challenging of business goals for any software development company. Teams are generally guided with numerous plans at the start of the project, which might be altered considerably during the course of development due to the changing customer requirements. In such scenarios, project costs normally escalate; project schedules suffer setbacks thereby putting enormous pressure on the developers and testers. This could further lead to degradation in the quality of the project due to uncertainties in specifications, errors in development and testing, etc., thereby increasing the project risks.
All the above mentioned problems exist in the traditional methods of software development; however, the Agile methodology is free from these issues because the project plans are continually being improvised, tight feedback loops are in place, customer requirements are sought and accommodated as the project progresses and teams collaborate effectively to ensure the success of the project.
Moreover, Agile emphasizes on the technological and process improvements rather than the huge amounts of documentation normally required from the team. This brings in better accountability from team members and gives them a higher sense of achievement at the successful completion of a project.
If you’re a developer, or have been one, you’ve probably faced the frustration of constantly changing project requirements, and shrinking timelines. Agile can help you avoid those painful situations. Renowned software architect Neal Ford drills into the real details of Agile engineering practices from a pure development perspective, based on real life experience, in this must-do course.
Bottom line – Agile methodology helps you get things done, simpler, smoother faster. To learn how you can use Agile to get stuff done and enjoy work more check out this course.