We’re all about delivering great business results, and agile software development delivers. Here’s why we’re obsessed with agile.
What if I said it’s time to change the way you approach software development? What if I said there’s a way to approach software development that doesn’t include scrambling for project changes, missed deadlines, and scrapping failed features after months of work?
Agile software development methodologies have a lot to offer, whether you’re using them in-house or relying on an outsourced software development team. Here’s why you should be obsessed with agile methodologies.
What is Agile?
To be agile is to create and respond to change. In sports, for instance, agility refers to the ability to effectively and quickly change the body’s position in response to a stimulus. In software development, agile methodologies are all about rapid responsiveness.
In technical terms, agile methodologies are basically iterative software development methods. This means that you execute work in smaller increments (sprints) lasting one to four weeks (as opposed to traditional project management, where large projects are planned up-front and executed based on the plan).
Collectively, agile software development is an umbrella term for practices and frameworks established in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Basically, you plan project sprints, execute the sprint, reassess, perform another sprint, and repeat until you’re done with the project.
Within agile software development, there are several frameworks a team might use, including Scrum, Feature-Driven Development, or Extreme. Which one you choose depends on your goals. Feature-Driven Development, for example, is ideal for long and complex projects. However, keep in mind that these are frameworks. Agile software development is a mindset.
Why It’s a Great Choice
It’s a relatively simple mindset, but it makes a huge difference in the way you tackle software development challenges. Here’s are some main reasons why you should choose it.
Iterative development is a key feature separating agile software development from traditional models. Unlike traditional project models, agile projects are deliberately iterative. They allow for repetition in software development activities.
This is also what makes agile useful as a project model, especially in software development. When you develop a new software application, you have to get the first version to stakeholders for review. If it takes too long, you’ll have frustrated stakeholders.
Iterative development allows you to get the first version done quickly. Then, when it’s time to make changes, your team can quickly incorporate those changes and return an updated version.
As you can guess, agile is much faster than traditional development. In fact, it’s built right into the system. The first principle of agile software development is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous project delivery.
It delivers on that principle through sprints. Sprints are the iterative element, deliberately designed to be short and fast–one to four weeks on average. This is why agile is a mindset. In order to succeed in an agile setup, you have to streamline your time management as effectively as possible.
That’s a big deal for project managers. Up to 64% of project managers agree that time management is their greatest challenge. In a traditional model, that’s not surprising. Traditional models are planned in advance, but they also leave a lot of nebulous time between goals. Agile works differently. In agile, you work entirely on short-term project goals that build toward the larger goal, and you only have a short window to get there. This forces you to streamline your time management, and it works out to the customer’s benefit.
However, agile’s speed doesn’t come with a quality tradeoff. Quite the contrary. That’s because agile has two features traditional models lack:
- Early testing
- Easy midcourse corrections
On an agile team, you have one to four weeks to deliver a specific feature. That doesn’t just mean raw code. The feature needs to be functional. That means agile developers have to test code early and often as they go–the exact opposite of traditional developers, who usually test as the last item on the docket before deployment.
Because agile demands early and frequent testing, it’s that much easier to spot problems. This gives teams the freedom to make midcourse corrections, whether they identify an issue in testing or because they realized during the last sprint that they need to focus on something different.
For the customer, that means a development team that’s always on the ball, testing and adjusting to make sure they give you a high-quality, fully functional product.
Another key benefit of agile software development is its flexibility.
Picture a traditional development plan. If the customer realizes halfway that a project isn’t what they wanted, they change the project goals. Unfortunately, that also means that the team has to scrap the plan they were already working with. That leaves a lot of blank spaces, question marks, and wasted effort as the team adjusts to moving goalposts.
In agile, the entire methodology is designed for shifting goalposts. After all, the team works in short-term bursts and sets new goals after each sprint. That means that if the customer decides to alter the requirements, the team is already poised and ready. There is no adjustment period and no frustration about changing goals on the fly. For the team, it’s just another sprint.
Let’s Put Agile to Work for Your Project
For companies that need fast, efficient, and effective software development (which is pretty much every company), then agile methodologies are the right choice.
For us, it’s part of delivering on our three main rules to get to our goals: do it on-time, do it within scope, and offer the best service at a lower cost than U.S. development centers. So if you need custom software development, we’re ready to put agile to work for your business goals. Get in touch today to learn more.
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