Agile Software Development: Main Use Cases
According to the annual PMI’s Pulse of the Profession report, 48 percent of projects miss deadlines, 43 percent exceed budget, and 31 percent fail to meet the project’s initial goals.
Modern project managers are obviously struggling to find a road to success, which is why an increasing number of them are implementing Agile methodology for their software development projects.
Agile is one of the simplest yet most effective methodologies for delivering high-quality software development services and solutions. When used correctly, Agile allows for efficient, flexible, and error-proof software development teams management. However, somewhere along the way, people begin to overcomplicate things.
Below are the most frequently asked questions about Agile methodology, answered by our key experts.
What Is Agile Software Development?
Agile methodology differs from the once-dominant Waterfall approach. Software development teams that use the Waterfall process create highly detailed specifications (SRS) and functionality requirements. After that, the software development process is divided into milestones and is conducted until a “finished” product is released.
The more sophisticated the software is, the more difficult it is to create upfront specifications that cover all the details and foresee what features users will really need. As software is becoming more and more complicated over time, Agile software development methodology is becoming more prevailing than a Waterfall approach. With the constantly changing requirements, it is difficult to predict what features users might need in the end. Thus most businesses prefer to create an MVP version to test drive their solution and get user feedback at the very beginning. That’s where the Agile approach comes into place, being an iterative methodology that allows for developing software that focuses on delivering a minimal viable product (MVP) and then modifying and adding features in phases based on user feedback. This methodology helps to reduce the risk of wasting the budget and producing a digital product based on erroneous assumptions about the functionality that users need. Besides, cross-functional team collaboration is an often practice in the Agile methodology.
In a non-Agile methodology like Waterfall, there can be minimal collaboration across development teams. It’s a much more linear process, similar to what you would find in a manufacturing production line, where the development team conceptualizes, designs, and develops comprehensive specifications for a product. The specifications are then forwarded to software developers and designers, who create their own pieces, which are then assembled. After that, the software is passed on to QA and testing teams, followed by an operations team that deploys the software as a live product.
Agile vs Waterfall: which project management methodology is better for software development? Read here.
Agile facilitates a disciplined project management process that enables regular checks and modifications, a leadership philosophy that encourages teamwork, and a business approach that aligns development with customer needs and company goals. In Agile development, there is constant back-and-forth interaction and frequent cross-over between teams. It is a cyclical process, where first the team creates an MVP, then revisions it and plans future changes.
What Is Agile Used For?
Many companies are utilizing Agile methodology to improve team performance, customer satisfaction and increase project flexibility. Companies that have adopted Agile are able to adjust more quickly to market changes and complete more projects effectively. Priorities and requirements can easily be adjusted throughout the project to meet the needs of the stakeholders.
Agile is a great approach to clear up any misconceptions and misunderstandings and speed up the development process. Agile projects place a greater emphasis on completing tasks rather than planning and documenting them. With each iteration or sprint, the team’s efforts are focused on producing and delivering working software.
When the product concept or features aren’t clearly defined, Agile is the right approach to use. It allows business owners to change requirements and objectives as the project progresses, allowing them to leverage opportunities and ultimately deliver a better product.
Download our Full Guide and learn more on the 12 Agile Principles.
Key Agile Software Development Phases
The Agile software development life cycle is a set of steps that a product goes through as it progresses from conception to completion: concept, inception, iteration, release, maintenance, and retirement.
Stakeholders examine the whole project to determine the amount of time and resources needed to complete the development process. At the same time, the owner evaluates the risks and prioritizes the various functions based on their importance to the company.
The business owner meets with the software development team and walks them through the requirements outlined in the first step. The team then determines the sequence of development steps and chooses the tech stack. During this stage, the software development team can prototype the desired user interface.
Development and Coding
After the client and the team have agreed on the plan, the team starts building the product. The product is delivered in stages, with each sprint aimed at improving the current version of the product. The initial release is likely to undergo many changes to provide maximum functionality. Each cycle includes testing, and the final product should undergo final testing.
Integration and Testing
At this stage, the team must run a number of tests to confirm that the product is fully functional. If any potential bugs or flaws are discovered, the developers will resolve problems right away. The development team also gathers user feedback at this phase.
Implementation and Deployment
Customers can now access the software because it has been fully deployed. During this stage, the software development team provides ongoing support to ensure that the software functions properly and doesn’t have any bugs in it. Over time, the development team may need to update an existing product or add other functionality.
During the retirement phase, the software release is removed from production. This happens either because the business owner wants to replace it with a newer version or because the software becomes redundant, obsolete, or incompatible with the company’s current strategy.
SCAND team mostly uses Agile methodology (including Scrum and Kanban) for customer projects to provide predictability and full transparency of the software development progress.
More information on the benefits of using Scrum and how to use it is here.
Kanban is a less rigid methodology that focuses on a single board with all of the team’s tasks. It’s great when the project is already delivering new features on a regular basis. It’s primarily useful for feature-oriented continuous delivery.
Daily meetings and regular demonstrations of the results keep the development process on track. We work with only estimated tasks and stories. We also actively manage the number of tasks/stories on the board for a clearer product roadmap and better team cognitive relief. Besides, we also use a backlog of planned tasks and stories for “feeding” the main boards.
In addition, to be efficient we use the following principle when helping customers: working with expectations and consequences of all actions. To help with their upkeep, we maintain Project Management Office practices that allow for the development of key PM skills and the exchange of knowledge across all departments.
Software development is a fast-paced industry, so companies need to be flexible and proactive in all aspects of project development. Agile methodologies allow building cutting-edge solutions and cultivating innovative experience while maintaining products aligned with market trends and customer requirements.
However, there is always a place for diversity. The choice of the right software development methodology depends largely on your team size, goals, and other factors. Here is an overview of the most widely utilized software development methodologies to help you decide which is right for your team.