In the last decade or so, the adoption of agile methodology has increased remarkably, primarily due to the fast-paced nature of businesses these days. Using Agile methodology in software development empowers companies to build the right product from scratch. The product is developed in small releases, which allows the teams to improve the software quality at each release and adapt to the changes quickly. But what exactly is Agile methodology or Agile software development and what are the advantages of Agile methodology? We’ll find out today in this blog post.
Agile development is an iterative process or approach that focuses on building the product incrementally rather than building it entirely at once. Agile methodology breaks down the project into short, time-boxed iterations known as sprints. Each sprint consists of some product functionalities which are prioritized and then continuously delivered in the next 2-3 weeks cycle.
Rather than spending months developing a product that may get outdated by the time it gets released in the market, an organization leveraging the Agile methodology for their project would be able to release the first iteration within two weeks. They could then continue to release updated, adaptive versions over the next few months, thereby resulting in a more effective, relevant, and useful end product. The approach has been adopted by a wide variety of industries today.
Some of the key advantages of agile methodology are-
Agile is based on the notion that customers demand change and that teams must be able to quickly and easily adapt to the changes. Working in sprints means that the development team doesn’t need to wait for a major requirement change, review, and approval process. Changes are added to the backlog and are addressed in the forthcoming sprint based on their priority and business needs.
In traditional software development, product testing is left for the end of the project. This approach keeps teams unsure as to whether the potential customers like the end product or not. Using the Agile approach for software development helps the team to get feedback almost on a daily basis and act on it quickly. In other words, changes can be adjusted immediately in the agile methodology. This helps deliver a customer-centric product as there is value produced at each release.
This is another benefit of agile methodology. Unlike the traditional development approach where teams may rush to complete all the required product features, the agile approach does not require developers to complete all features at once. Instead, the features are divided into smaller subsets of features for each sprint. The team also has more time for product testing in comparison to the traditional waterfall approach. Developing a product incrementally (in sprints) ensures a better-working and high-quality end product.
Since each sprint consists of a fixed duration, the cost involved is quite predictable and limited to the amount of work that can be done by the development team in that given interval. The client can easily understand the approximate cost of each feature which they would have been told about prior to each sprint. Put simply, the costs are predictable in agile software development which otherwise can exceed the budget if the product is developed in one go rather than in sprints.
One of the many benefits of agile methodology is better stakeholder management. Agile software development creates better engagement between the team and stakeholders- during, and after each sprint. In Agile, the client is involved in every step of the project, and thus there is better collaboration between the two parties. This allows the development team to truly understand the client’s vision, and the client to understand the team’s thought process. Also, providing a working software early and frequently boosts stakeholders’ trust in the team’s ability to deliver high-quality working software and encourages them to be more deeply engaged in the project.
Technical debt, also known as code debt, encompasses the cost of additional rework or tasks caused by selecting an easy (limited) solution instead of using a better approach that would take longer. These tasks comprise defect resolution, refactoring, and testing. In a traditional approach, this technical debt can accumulate very quickly as the team keeps its focus on new feature development to maintain the pace with the project timeline.
Using Agile software development helps keep technical debt to a minimum. Any issues, feature changes, or other maintenance tasks are added to the product backlog. The team reviews the backlog at each sprint planning session to find out what to address next.
In agile software development, teams work together, along with the product owner, to determine what goes into each sprint. This way, both parties are on the same page about what exactly needs to be delivered in a particular sprint. The chances are very rare that any unplanned feature makes it into the build.
Regular meetings keep the team members and the owner aware of the project status so that the issues can be detected and addressed quickly. Also, the retrospective meetings help the team learn from previous sprints and apply new methods to improve in upcoming sprints.
Agile isn’t just about adapting to change but also about delivering what’s important to the customer. In Agile development, user requirements are represented as user stories. These stories are used with business-focused acceptance criteria to define actions or features that provide value to the customers. When features are focused on the needs of real users, each feature incrementally delivers value. This also opens the opportunity to beta test software after each sprint, thereby allowing the team to obtain valuable feedback early in the project and make changes as needed.
Using the agile approach in software development provides ample benefits not only to the development team but also to the clients or product owners. It helps the teams to deal with multiple project pitfalls in a much better and more controlled way. Also, with Agile methodology, teams can quickly adapt to the requirements without affecting the release dates. Ultimately, agile software development improves client and customer satisfaction and helps build a great quality product.
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