Software development conventionally stands on two “pillars”: on the one hand, this is professional technical knowledge and the experience of specialists, on the other hand, it is a correctly selected methodology managing and monitoring the implementation of the project. There are various methodologies, starting from the classical ones, which have become “progenitors” for many approaches, as well as relatively “young” systems that are gaining popularity among developers.
Each methodology has its strengths and weaknesses. That is why the agency is primarily faced with the task of choosing the project management system that will achieve success. One such methodology is Agile. Let's take a closer look at this approach.
What is Agile Software Development?
Agile methodology is one of the most advanced and popular systems for organizing and managing projects. An Agile approach is reflected literally in all aspects of the software development work, starting from setting goals for the customer and ending with maintaining communication within the project team.
Agile development consists of short sprints (iterations). In most cases, the iteration lasts from 1 to 4 weeks and necessarily ends with a presentation of the work performed to the client. Each of the cycles is repeated and consists of planning, development, testing, demonstration. Thus, development and testing go “shoulder to shoulder", so that the customer can get a working code or a minimally viable product. This allows you to test the application in real time, analyze its strengths and weaknesses, and adjust the further development strategy.
Fundamentals of Agile Methodology
The key priority for agile software development is not the initial settings of the brief, but a quick response to changes in customer needs, market conditions and other factors. This way of working allows you to integrate new solutions, improve functionality directly in the software development process. It doesn’t matter at what stage changes will be required: agile development provides for the correction of decisions even in the last cycles.
Due to its adaptability, Agile is great for large projects whose implementation process involves changes. It can be online stores, computer games, operating systems.
Advantages of Agile Methodology
Many software development companies use Agile methods as the basis for project management. This allows the team of specialists to identify the "pitfalls" of the project, to eliminate possible errors in time and to propose optimal solutions based on the changed tasks of the client.
The key advantage of a flexible approach is the combination of a quick release of the software with a business approach, the characteristic features of which are a quick response to changes in market conditions, focus on the “pain” of the end-user and focus on the result.
Also, the advantages of Agile software development are:
- continuous interaction: maintaining communication between the customer and the project team throughout the entire development life cycle is a determining component of this method. Thanks to this, product development is completely transparent to all interested parties. The possibility of active participation of the client in product development allows you to build a common vision and strategy for the development of the project, even in the face of unforeseen changes.
- increased quality of the final product: dividing application or software development into short iterations allows you to focus on a given amount of work. Also, the quality of the software product increases several times due to the detailed testing of the developed solutions on each cycle.
- early release: the Agile method allows you to run a minimally viable software product or conduct beta-testing without waiting for the project to finish. Thanks to this, an Agile software development agency can identify the weaknesses and strengths of the working code, make changes as necessary.
- predictable costs: thanks to fixed sprints, the client can tentatively calculate the desired budget for the implementation of a particular amount of work. Also, if necessary, the customer can freeze the progress of software development for a certain time. Other methodologies, such as Waterfall, do not provide such an opportunity, which significantly limits the rights of the client.
- the ability to make changes: Agile development allows you to change the priority of tasks, make adjustments at any stage of work on the product. Thus, the Agile methodology is fully focused on solving business problems, continuous improvement of the technical side of the product.
Disadvantages of Agile Methodology
Despite a large number of strengths, Agile software development has some shortcomings that may be encountered by both the customer and the agency. These include:
- high risk of endless product changes: the desire to constantly “twist”, improve working code can lead to a deadlock in product development. Constantly delaying the deadlines for the final delivery of the application can stretch the work of the agency for several months.
- the difficulty of calculating the total amount for the project: due to the constant introduction of changes to the tasks of the project team, the total cost of developing software at the output can exceed the client’s planned budget several times.
- risk of client failure during the development process: if the customer does not have a clear vision of the tasks and the need for a product to develop his business, he may refuse or freeze the project.
What is The Difference of an Agile Approach to Software Development?
Successful implementation of the project, achievement of the tasks assigned to the agency is possible only with a correctly selected software development methodology. In most cases, when choosing a methodology, the agency proceeds from a whole range of aspects, including the specification of the software product, the amount of work ahead, etc.
In addition to Agile, there are more than 20 different methodologies. Some of them are independent decisions, while others act as a subspecies of larger methodological systems. The TOP 3 ranking of the most popular methodologies include:
- Scrum is one of the subspecies of the Agile methodology, consists of a series of iterations and is used for a software product with frequently and rapidly changing requirements from the client.
- Waterfall is based on the concept of strict adherence to the sequence of stages of software development.
- DevOps is a software development management model that optimizes product creation and deployment through close collaboration between developers and IT operators.
Agile vs Scrum
Scrum can act as an independent methodology and as part of Agile implementation. It provides for the division of software development into stages, the result of which is a working version of the product. Unlike Agile, a Scrum-team can start working without clearly formulated requirements from the customer. After receiving feedback about the product, before each new sprint, the team conducts a retrospective, the main purpose of which is to determine ways to improve the development process.
|This is an independent development methodology, which is a holistic project management system.
||It can be used as a stand-alone methodology and as part of Agile implementation.
|The methodology has tighter control. Although changes may be made at the latest product development sprints, their number is limited.
||This is a flexible approach. The customer can offer any number of changes.
|The interaction within the project team is based on the communication of all specialists who are involved in the work process.
||Before the start of the first sprint the functional role of specialists is indicated. The team includes Product owner, Scrum master, Scrum team (programmers, testers, analysts, designers, and other specialists).
Agile vs Waterfall
Unlike Agile with its adaptive approach, the Waterfall model provides a linear, consistent approach to software product development. Each new stage begins after the approval of the previous one and does not provide for a return to make changes in connection with the emergence of new requirements from the customer. For example, if the application is in the testing phase, it will be impossible to modify the code.
The difference between the two methodologies also applies. If Agile is more suitable for large, long-term development projects, Waterfall is an excellent solution for small application.
|A software product can radically transform during the development process due to changes in tasks and customer requirements.
||The methodology is focused on the result. We do not accept a departure from the tasks and requirements that were agreed with the customer before the development of the software product.
|Due to regular changes, the client cannot accurately calculate the total cost of software development. If necessary, the customer can “freeze” the development of the project for a certain period.
||This methodology provides for the establishment of fixed payment for a project at the stage of signing a cooperation agreement.
|Product testing is carried out simultaneously with the development of software, which allows you to identify errors and quickly eliminate them.
||Software product testing is carried out at the final development phase.
Agile vs Kanban
First, these methodologies differ in their approach to structuring and conducting the work process. The main feature of Kanban methodology is the visualization of all stages of the development life cycle. Kanban is a Japanese term and means “cards on the board.” Participants in the production process write on the board tasks that must be performed by another specialist (backlog).
If the Agile methodology is more focused on continuous communication with the customer, an important component for Kanban is constant communication within the team. The Kanban model is an excellent solution for performing current tasks, for example, the work of a technical support team or the development of small projects. Agile, in turn, is suitable for large projects with a long development time.
|Software development is divided into iterations. Each sprint lasts from 1 to 4 weeks.
||Each task runs through 5 statuses: To do, In progress, Code review, Testing, Done.
|A small team of specialists is required to develop a software product. Cross-functional communication is the basis of the methodology: each team member is directly involved in the development of solutions that will help achieve progress in the implementation of the tasks.
||The team has several roles: it is a project manager, a development and testing team. The project manager determines the number of tasks that may be in a particular status, thus controlling the amount of work in development and tracking the timing of their implementation.
|The deadline for the project is agile and can be changed during the production process, based on additional customer requirements.
||The main metric is the average time to close the task.
Thus, Agile software development provides great opportunities for both the agency and the customer. This project management model allows you to simultaneously maintain the highest possible level of development quality, introduce progressive solutions and respond quickly to changes in business and market tasks.