You might've heard of Agile Methodology as a term carelessly thrown around, but do you know how it can benefit your business' software development? Let's talk about it.
We live in an intense time. It is quite demanding and fast-paced and that means you need to adjust and adapt very fast in order to get even and get through. There is no place where it is more apparent than software development. It might be unforgiving but it is totally justified if you want to get over. That is why Agile Development is considered to be one of the most viable options out there.
But before going Broadway on this, let me ask you something. Have you ever wondered about arcane inner workings of the software development process? If so, you might have asked yourself things like “how does it comes together so neatly?” Well, now is the time to get it once and for all.
Long story short – Agile Development process is a method of managing software development. In its heart lies more fluid and flexible approach to organizing the entirety of the working process including the interaction with the customer.
In practice, it means that the project is not molded into once-and-for-all conceptualized form and instead embraces the seeming state of flux.
First and foremost it is the overall increased role of collaboration in the working process.
- Every element of the project is decided, discussed and subsequently estimated in a collaborative effort
- Through collaboration, the project and its features can be gradually improved over time along with the overall progress of the project and the development of its particular parts.
Collaborative approach changes the role of the customer. In an agile development cycle, he is not just a passive spectator who patiently waits until the job is done - the customer is an active participant in the project. He is always in the know and can suggest things to be changed or added or else according to the current state of things.
Hands-on approach positively affects the flexibility of the project. It opens up the development of changes.
How? It is made possible by breaking down the working process into smaller digestible sessions known as iterations. Every iteration is a thing-in-itself. This kind of approach is extremely beneficial for the development team as it enables to keep the tasks realistic and under control. On the other hand - the breakdown of stages makes the project's budget easier to estimate and so the customer can decide which features he wants to add.
The whole process of refining existing features and adding the new ones is easier to manage and consequently show to the customer. The product can be easily adjusted to customers wishes without throwing the wrench into the workflow and extensive start-stopping.
The main benefit of such way of development is that it allows the team to present a ready-to-use version of the product at the end of each iteration. It gives the customer the opportunity to survey and evaluate the progress of the project stage by stage. Because of that, there is a space for maneuver if any significant alterations are to be implemented.
Another advantage is that the working version of the product can be presented on the market in an early access test run. In many cases, it gives vital information about the ways users perceive the product. This information helps to adapt the product to actual market demands.
Another big innovation of agile development methodology is a change of focus from document-based development to product-based. What does it mean?
Traditionally, the project is thoroughly described and defined in numerous design and requirements documents prior to the start of programming. They form the backbone of the project. This process is rather time-consuming due to a considerable amount of detail. Another problem that comes with it is that whether there are any changes to be made - everything should be presented in documentation first and only then put into production.
Switch to the software is elaborate “show, don’t tell” - it lets the product itself to do the talking instead of piles of paper filled with tangled words in twisted sentences.
However, it doesn’t mean that documentation is completely useless (read about tech specs' vital role for the project here.) It is just that it is simplified in favor of more direct showcase of results. In the agile method, documents start off barebones and grow flesh (i.e. conceptualized) on the go.
The software-based approach gives fluidity and speeds up the workflow. The entirety of the project is presented in a form of an active backlog. It directly shows what is going on with the project and allows the team to prioritize the tasks depending on the current situation.
That is what Agile Development is about in the nutshell. It is a way of getting things done the most reserved and balanced way possible without hot-shotting to oblivion and gushing all over the place.
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