There are various methods used in software development. They include Waterfall (Traditional), System Development Life Cycle (SDLC), Rational Unified Process, and Agile to name a few.
Among all these methods, none is so impactful, challenging, rewarding, and important as the Agile.
What is the Agile Method?
It all started in 2001 when a group of software developers decided that they needed a new and fresh workflow. They formulated and wrote the famous “Agile Manifesto,” which contained twelve principles that described the overall approach of the method. This can be best viewed using four simple statements:
- Emphasizing Individuals and interactions instead of processes and tools
- Using Working software instead of comprehensive documentation
- Resorting to Customer collaboration instead of contract negotiation
- Utilizing the method Responding to change instead of following a plan
Simply put, the Agile method involves working through iterative and incremental cycles. These incremental cycles or iterations are short time boxes that attempt to minimize risk. Each of them are like mini-software projects of their own.
Instead of following the traditional way of developing a system, which tends to get frustrating for developers, the Agile method breaks down the process into smaller cycles or iterations, which can be summed up in four stages:
By doing this, the group re-evaluates project priorities at the end of every iteration, so that the final product can be released faster in the market. In return, feedback on the product can be collected. It is a crucial and necessary way of determining how you can improve your application and make it more tailored to your audience.
The Agile method promotes a more collaborative way of approaching software development. For example, in a traditional way of working, designers pass on their design to a developer, never to see it again. In an Agile method, which consists of iterations, designers will see themselves sitting side by side, next to the developer, and working together to achieve each goal for the software application. Added to this is the openness to change, making this method popular among old and new developers in the industry.
Listed below are some of the best benefits of the Agile methodology:
#1 Quality is king
Testing is integrated during iterations in the Agile method, which means that there are regular checkups to see whether the product or application is working during development. This is highly favored over the traditional way of building a system first before testing it, which would waste a lot of time and money.
#2 Customer Satisfaction is key
The client or product owner is part of the team, which implies engagement and feedback, leading to the satisfaction of the audience or users. This means that the product or application has high visibility and flexibility when it comes to accommodating change, making the development easier and more cohesive.
#3 Overall Control
Having face-to-face communication when following the Agile method helps each member and even the product owner have a more open communication regarding the development of the product.
#4 Minimal Risk
In the Agile method, the chance of the project failing is zero to none. Why? It is because the development process is broken down into smaller “projects,” giving the team freedom to implement new changes on how to improve the product. This also gives the power of adaptation, enabling the product to be tailored best to the specifications of the client and to the preferences of the customers or users.
#5 Faster Return of Investment
Because of the iterative nature of the Agile method, features are delivered one at a time. As such, benefits are seen early on, while the product is still in its development stage. This enables developers to gauge the customers’ reactions and collect their feedback immediately so that changes can already be made to the product.
Applying and using the Agile method not only makes your team more efficient in creating software, but also in other related fields. For one, it is faster and more productive. It also ensures quality in every step of the process, with integrated testing between iterations. This in turn ensures minimal risks, reducing the possibility of error. Because of the open communication between team members, it allows for more overall control over the whole process. On the financial side, it provides for a faster return of your money.
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