In today's unpredictable social and economic climate, being agile is absolutely crucial. In broad terms, it means having the ability to process changes in a certain environment and adapt to them. The opposite would be stubbornly sticking to your path of action, despite them not working in a changing environment. But, what does the term mean in the software development world? Is agile software development the best approach for projects? Find out everything you need to know about the agile development methodology below...
Everything you need to know about agile software development
What is an agile approach?
Rather than thinking about software development as a linear execution of steps, think of the process as three-dimensional or circular. The agile software development methodology is all about continual planning and adaptation, team collaboration, learning and considered delivery. The process includes constant testing and tweaking of the product, which might mean that there are several versions or iterations before the project is completed. It's a dynamic, feedback-driven process that relies on constant agility.
Here's a flow diagram to help demonstrate...
What are some of the principles followed?
According to the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, there are 12 basic principles that guide this development methodology. These include accommodating changes or new requirements, even late in the development process. All parties should also be in regular contact and communication so that the project can be delivered as efficiently as possible. The timeline is always important.
Other principles include working as a self-organising team and regularly reflecting on how the product can be more effective - then adjusting accordingly. And finally, the foremost priority is being able to reach the customer's expectations quickly and efficiently to best satisfy their software development requirements.
How can it benefit your software development process?
Not all software developers follow the agile development method, and that shouldn't be a problem. Each team or company uses the approach that best suits them and their offering. However, if your development company is following the agile philosophy, here are some of the benefits you could expect:
Increased communication and transparency Because stakeholders are constantly involved and giving feedback, there's less room for misinterpretation. If there is a communication glitch, it'll be identified and solved quickly.
Easy adaptation to change One of the fundamental advantages to agile development. Because each functionality is developed and then tested, there's opportunity to make changes before moving on. Each 'step' allows time for feedback and change.
Possible early delivery Rather than working solidly for a few months to make a perfect final product, and then starting the integration and testing process, agile development is much more time-efficient. Defects are spotted and eliminated constantly so that when the product is completed, there shouldn't be cause for further testing.
Better overall quality All of the above benefits ultimately lead to a better product. In order to work quickly and effectively using the agile methodology, developers need to constantly be striving for technical excellence. They work smart, always keeping in mind the cornerstones of simplicity and efficiency.
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