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November 20, 2020
10 Minute Comprehensive Guide on Modern Software Development with Agile Methods

When it comes to custom software development, Agile methodology is preferred because it focuses on the requirement of the customer and fast delivery.  The principles are applied to small software products developed by a single team, as well as big ones developed by programs that consist of more than ten teams.

The goal of any software development company today, as well as the clientele, is producing software at the lowest cost possible, in the shortest time and the best quality. The right planning and management of the development process and the correct methodology are critical to achieve your business goal. The Agile Methodology is a growing trend that’s exponentially growing.

Agile methodologies have helped many business organizations respond to the evolving market conditions fast, boost customer satisfaction, and boost efficiency. Still, so many organizations are facing hardships in comprehending and adopting Agile. For your brand to overcome the challenges, let’s check out an extensive guide explaining everything about modern software development with Agile methods.

Who is this Guide for?

This guide is intended for:

✔ anyone who wants to learn all the ins and outs of the agile methodologies

✔ anyone who seeks out knowledge on what agile is and why it’s monstrously awesome

✔ anyone who’s afraid of adapting the methodologies in their next software project

Your Comprehensive Modern Software Development with Agile

An Overview

Most of you probably already know that Agile has taken the world of software development and testing by storm. The majority of organizations are already practicing the software development methodology in some form. Agile, in simplest terms, is a way of managing projects.

It’s worth noting that although the approach could be used for just about anything, it was nonetheless founded originally in India. Unlike the Waterfall approach in which all the requirements are gathered from the start, and design is all done next, and then development is executed, the Agile method enables designers, developers, analysts, and stakeholders to work together simultaneously.

Traditional Waterfall Approach Limitations

The Waterfall Model was presented first by Winston Royce back in 1970, and it was intended to be used in developing government projects. It was called a waterfall because of its cascading activities with phases, which keep the development process going forward. Because of this nature, the model does not leave room for doing unexpected changes.

Making changes would be difficult and demands a lot of work as well as a waste of money and precious time. Furthermore, it also excludes the client from the project because its focus is mainly on the internal team. Today, clients want to be involved in the development process as much as possible, and since the Waterfall Model pays so little attention to the client involvement, this could mean high change requests in the development later on.

Agile—How it Works

In contrast to the traditional Waterfall Method, Agile Methodologies adhere to the iterative approach. Basically, Agile software development involves several cycles, typically called ‘sprints,’ which are individually designed, developed, and tested. To put it simply, consider every sprint as a miniature project with its own phases of design, backlog, development, testing, and deployment within a predefined work scope.

A possibly deliverable product is shipped at the end of every sprint. Simply, with the completion of each iteration, new features are being added to the main software, resulting in software growth.

Agile Misapprehensions

Even though Agile has been majorly adopted all over the world, still there remain misconceptions about the approach, including the following:

1. It’s very different

Agile could be an entirely new concept to your organization and the entire team. It also demands a bit of rewiring regarding how all stakeholders would remain on the same page during development. Nevertheless, all companies that adopt the methodology know that the new approach runs the entire development cycle smoothly and consistently.

2. It’s unpredictable

It could indeed be unpredictable at times. But it’s the same with other development approaches. Honestly, it’s entirely impossible to determine what the software should be at the start of the development exactly.

Nonetheless, unlike the traditional approach, Agile embraces unpredictability and uses it to its own advantage that leads to producing better outputs.

3. All features are prioritized by developers

There are still some people who believe that with Agile, developers decide what’s relevant, what must be implemented, and when. However, this is far from the truth since, at the start of every sprint, there is always an extensive spring meeting in which all stakeholders get to participate and decide the features that would be developed and delivered.

4. More short-term-focused

It’s hard to understand why, but some still believe that since the Agile approach splits up projects into short sprints or iterations, it doesn’t consider the long-term goals. The Agile methodology, in truth, provides a lot more benefits and provides a better way than the traditional one. Furthermore, earlier testing lets you indirectly make better decisions for your long-term goals.

5. Works only for Software and Developers

Indeed, it started out in the tech industry, but today, as it benefits an organization as a whole, it’s widely accepted even in non-software industries, such as in the field of communication, manufacturing, healthcare, and so on.

The Actual Benefits of the Agile Methodology

Today, a software development company uses the Agile methodology to stay competitive. Majority of clients anywhere in the world demand that their software solutions be developed using the methodology. Why? Because of the many benefits that it brings to the table. Check out these benefits.

1. Business Value Concentration

One of the major benefits of Agile is an increased concentration of focus on the delivery of strategic business value through the involvement of business stakeholders in the process. With this, the development team understands what matters most and could deliver the features that provide the most value to the brand.

2. Enhanced Quality

Another of the great benefits of Agile is the improved quality of a product. By dividing projects into manageable units, the team could focus on high-quality software development, high-quality testing, and collaboration. Moreover, by creating frequent builds and doing reviews and testing on every iteration, quality is enhanced by quickly finding and fixing defects, as well as determining mismatches in the expectation early on.

3. Engagement of Stakeholders

Agile provides numerous opportunities for the engagement of the stakeholders and the team before, during, and after every sprint. Through involving various stakeholders each step of the way, there’s a higher collaboration degree between teams. The team will have more opportunities to genuinely understand the vision of a business, early delivery of working software, and boosts stakeholders’ trust often.

4. Predictable and Early Delivery

By using fixed, time-boxed Sprints of 1-4 weeks’ schedule, new features are quickly and frequently delivered, with a high predictability level. Also, this provides a chance to beta test or release software earlier than planned if there’s enough business value.

5. Enables Change

Unlike the Waterfall method, one of the key benefits of Agile is that it enables change. While the team has to remain focused on delivering an agreed-to subset of product features on every iteration, there’s a chance to refine and reprioritize the overall product backlog in a constant manner. Changed or new backlogs could be planned for the next iteration, providing a chance to introduce changes in a few weeks.

6. Transparency

Clients are involved throughout the software development project. This could include prioritizing iteration planning, features, review sessions, or frequent software builds that contain new features. This nonetheless requires the customers to understand that they’re looking at a work in progress in exchange for the added transparency benefit.

7. Predictable Schedule and Costs

Since each Sprint is a fixed duration, the cost is predictable and restricted to the amount of work that could be done by the team in a fixed-schedule time box. Together with the estimates given before every Sprint, the company could easily understand the approximate cost of every feature, which boosts decision making about prioritizing the features, and the need for more iterations.

Popular Agile Methods

Every organization differs, and so the internal and external factors that they face. Therefore, to meet the different organization requirements, let’s check out a couple of the most popular Agile methods. Which methodology works for you best would depend entirely on your internal and external factors.

Scrum

It’s a popular agile management method focusing on defining the major features and its objectives at the start of each sprint. Putting it simply, Scrum was introduced to minimize the overall risk in software development while providing faster value as well. Basically, it begins with the story or requirements, explaining how the particular features should work and should be tested.

Some of the most popular Scrum tools that help in increasing the teams’ productivity level are – Jira, Nutcache, monday.com, and ClickUp.  To manage teams & projects following Scrum methodology, you can choose monday.com. While on the other hand, Jira can also be your best choice for project management and creating customized work reports.

Benefits of Using Scrum Methodology

  • Increase in project visibility
  • Manage different priorities
  • Effective usage of money & time

Kanban

Originally, Kanban was developed by Toyota because of their need to boost factory productivity. It’s a very seamless, Agile methodology that could be defined as a prioritized, big to-do list. The requirements in Kanban, just like Scrum, are monitored by their present status as well, including in development, to-do, in a test, and delivery. 

Kanban tools offer the best services to software developers and project managers. They provide Kanban boards for the development teams. These tools are – Scrumwise, Kanbanery, Volerro, and Planview LeanKit.

Benefits of Using Kanban Methodology

  • Increases efficiency & productivity
  • Reduces work time
  • Continuous delivery approach

Lean Development

The Lean development methodology is created by Toyota and is used for the software development process. It offers conceptual frameworks and principles that enable software developers to apply the Agile development approach to their projects. This methodology’s seven essential principles are – quality development, differing commitments, fast delivery, deleting things that are not important, optimization, and respecting the team. 

Lean development offers some fantastic tools like Kaizen, Value Stream Mapping, 5S, and Focus PDCA. These tools enable the teams to improve efficiency and production levels.

Benefits of Using Lean Development Methodology

  • Strengthens knowledge
  • Optimizes value-stream
  • Eliminates delay in engineering  

Extreme Programming (XP)

Extreme programming is another very popular Agile development framework used by software development companies for various dimensions. This methodology follows the values like – simplicity, courage, respect, feedback, and communication to provide a perfect solution to the customers and satisfy them. The teams following XP methodology for their projects can choose any tool from – Project Planning & Tracking System, ExtremePlanner, and Targetprocess. Besides this, if you are a Java developer, you can select any tool from – JUnit, Maven & AntHill, and Cactus. For the .Net developers, the options are – NUnit and NAnt.

Benefits of Using XP Methodology

  • Increases product quality
  • Early product delivery
  • Empowers the team

Crystal

Crystal is a methodology that comes with different variations like Crystal Red, Crystal Orange, Crystal Yellow, and Crystal Clear. These variations specify the number of team members working on a project. It has a different range from 8 to 1000 (Clear to Red). Crystal methodology works on principles like – skills, community, talent, communication, and interactions. 

Benefits of Using Crystal Methodology

  • Flexible
  • Fewer team members required
  • Fixed-rate contract

Conclusion

Evidence reveals that the Agile methodology is very effective in modern software development these days. For most business organizations, the business and people’s results make the methodology well worth the effort.


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