Agile Software Development

To offer winning digital experiences, businesses require software expertise. Enterprises will get there through agile development.

It is no surprise that technology evolves at a rapid pace. By allowing team members to break down extensive procedures into short pieces to build and test software, the Agile approach helps firms embrace these developments in the development profession. It allows the development team to deliver work more frequently and swiftly. The Agile approach advocates cross-functional teams to collaborate incrementally and iteratively on projects. Therefore, Agile Project Management courses are designed to help you lead projects and address cultural changes.

According to the State of Agile Report 2020,

“Agile development is preferred by 95 percent or 4000 respondents. In addition, the methodology encourages cross-functional teams within the organization, which aids in the growth process”

This article shall cover the Agile software development technique and everything relevant to the process throughout this iteration. 

What is Agile?

Agile refers to “the ability to produce and respond to change.” It’s a strategy for coping with and ultimately excelling in a volatile and uncertain environment.

Agile project management and software development is an iterative method that helps teams offer value to clients faster and with fewer headaches. An agile team delivers work in tiny, digestible increments rather than relying on a “big bang” launch. In addition, as requirements, strategies, and results are evaluated regularly, the teams are a natural mechanism for adjusting to change fast. 

It’s all about figuring out how to comprehend what’s going on in the environment you’re in right now, identify the uncertainty you’re dealing with, and figure out how to adjust to it as you go.

Now that you guys are aware of the word “Agile”, we shall have a look into the “Agile Methodology.

Overview of Agile Methodology

Mike Cohn, the Contributor of the Scrum Software Development Method, said:

“The worst thing you can deliver in a two-year project is what the customer wanted on day one. The Agile software development methodology allows backward tracking and enables the development team to build a broader feature set in time-boxed cycles”

Traditional methodologies such as Waterfall used to be dominant in the industry, but that is no longer the case. The lack of backward mobility is why Waterfall approaches begin to fade. There is no room for additional functionality, and maintaining the system is difficult.

Agile methodologies are product development approaches consistent with the Agile Manifesto’s values and principles for software development. Moreover, agile methodologies aim to create the best product possible by forming small cross-functional self-organizing teams that deliver small chunks of the functionality regularly, allowing for frequent customer feedback and course correction as needed.

The Agile Methodology is a cutting-edge method to software development that emphasizes flexibility and speed. The approach has introduced new iterative and incremental development processes to ensure flawless and quicker delivery. In addition, it follows a standard development process from requirement collecting to design, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance. On the other hand, the Agile technique modifies the strategy at each stage.

After understanding the term agile methodology, let us look into the “Agile Software Development”

What is Agile Software Development?

Agile software development refers to a set of iterative software development methodologies in which requirements and solutions arise from collaboration among self-organizing cross-functional teams.

Agile methods or Agile processes promote a disciplined project management process that encourages frequent inspection and adaptation, a leadership philosophy that promotes teamwork, self-organization, and accountability, a set of engineering best practices that enable rapid delivery of high-quality software, and a business approach that aligns development with customer needs and company goals.

A group wrote the Manifesto of fourteen software industry leaders, and it reflects their knowledge of what methods work and what approaches don’t work for software development.  

Agile Software Development – Benefits

The Agile software development community strongly emphasizes cooperation and the self-organizing team. That isn’t to say there aren’t any managers. Instead, it suggests that groups can figure out how to handle problems on their own. Those teams are cross-functional, in other words. Those teams don’t need to have specific jobs; instead, they should ensure they have all of the necessary skill sets when they get together.

Managers have a place in the world. First, managers ensure that team members possess or acquire the necessary skill sets. Managers create an environment in which the team may succeed. Managers usually take a step back and let their teams figure out how they will deliver products, but also step in when the teams try but cannot resolve issues.

When most teams and companies begin using Agile development, they concentrate on methods that aid in collaboration and task organization, which is wonderful. However, specific technical practices that directly deal with designing software in a way that helps your team deal with uncertainty are another important set of practices that are not widely followed but should be. These technical steps are extremely important.

After Understanding the key definition of “Agile Software Development”, let us look into the “Pivot of Agile Software Development.”

Ultimate Path of the Agile Software Development

In 1970, the waterfall methodology ensured that software development is disciplined by providing a clear set of rules. This assembly line was based on the 1913 assembly line innovations of Henry Ford, which assured that the end product matched the specifications at every step of the manufacturing process.

While using waterfall methodology, the computing systems and their applications seemed complicated and monolithic, demanding discipline and a defined objective to deliver. Requirements also changed more slowly back then than they do now, making large-scale projects less troublesome. In reality, systems are designed to expect that they would never change and serve as perpetual battleships. Multi-year timescales were widespread in software development, manufacturing, and other business activities. However, the Waterfall’s rigidity became an Achilles heel in the internet age, where speed and flexibility were essential.

When developers started working on online apps, software development methodology shifted. This is because many of the early startups, where the teams were smaller, collocated, and many people didn’t have typical computer science backgrounds. In addition, there were financial and competitive demands to get websites, apps, and new features to market as quickly as possible. As a result, development tools and platforms evolved quickly.

The Beginning of Agile Software Development

Many startups began to doubt the waterfall technique and explore ways to be more efficient. Professionals felt difficult to afford to complete all of the thorough documentation upfronts, so a more iterative and collaborative method was required. Of course, one could raise as much money as one wanted. Still, one wouldn’t be able to attract brilliant software developers who could work with quickly evolving internet technologies if you treated them like slaves who slavishly followed “the spec.” 

A group of seasoned software developers got together in 2001 and realized they were developing software that wasn’t following the usual waterfall process. They also weren’t all working for startups. So this group, which comprised technological heavyweights Kent Beck, Martin Fowler, Ron Jeffries, Ken Schwaber, and Jeff Sutherland, drafted the Agile Manifesto. It detailed their common beliefs on how a modern software development process should operate.

The agile software development technique arose from these concepts. So, let us now understand the “Manifesto for agile software development” at a greater depth.

Manifesto for Agile Software Development

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development and its 12 principles is an umbrella title for a set of concepts and activities based on the ideals and principles articulated in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. It’s generally a good idea to live by these values and principles while approaching software development in a given way and utilize them to help you calculate what to do in your scenario.

The Agile Manifesto’s writers chose the word “Agile” as the moniker for this entire concept because it reflected the adaptability and reactivity to change that was so vital to their methodology.

Twenty years ago, in Snowbird, Utah, 17 software engineers gathered to suggest a new approach of producing software: “by doing it and helping others do it.” The signers of the Agile Manifesto realized how much these concepts would aid them in software development as a result of their work, but they had no idea how quickly their ideas would spread outside of their profession. As a result, the Manifesto’s creators listed the following values as the most important:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Working software over comprehensive documentation

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Responding to change over following a plan

Since then, many organizations use the original paper, including developers, Boy Scout troops, marketing departments, and restaurants. Its universality stems from a set of agile concepts, which are simple to acquire and are rarely entirely mastered.

12 Principles of Agile

Here are the main 12 principles for incremental development that have made agile what it is today before it spreads to every part of the globe:

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference for the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Please give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on becoming more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

These Twelve Principles of Agile Software, also developed at the Snowbird summit, expand on the values’ few phrases. That’s all there is to it. Since then, the Agile Manifesto website has changed very little, if at all. On the other hand, the world around agile could not be more dissimilar.

After understanding the agile Manifesto in software development, let us look into “How is agile better.”

Why is the Agile Methodology Better?

You usually get better-quality apps, faster-developed applications, and better technical approaches when you combine agile ideas, execute them in an agile framework, use collaborative technologies, and follow agile development practices.

The main reason for this is the creation of agile with flexibility and adaptability in mind. The problem is broken down into digestible components, which are then build and test with users, rather than defining all of the answers upfront as in the waterfall method. As a result, if the effort exposes something that is not anticipated, you may immediately adjust the effort to get back on track—or even change tracks if necessary.

In today’s world of operating smarter and faster, agile frameworks and development procedures prioritize producing working software repeatedly and encourage feedback to enhance the application and process. In addition, agile development is superior for many challenges because its ideas, methods, and techniques.

Also read: Top 10 Misconceptions about Agile Development

Product owners may believe they know exactly how to design an application that achieves their vision. Still, they rarely want to give up the chance to modify that vision as they speak with more users and observe how an application operates in their hands. Similarly, development teams believe they know how to create the ideal program. Still, they won’t show it off until the complete application has been integrated, functionality demonstrated, and changes have been made. The CSPO certification training will assist you to enhance the product value by enhancing the delivery process, effective communication with the development team regarding what you actually want the product to do and improve the project ROI. 

The Agile Software Development Cycle

The Agile software development life cycle refers to a set of steps that a product goes through from conception to completion. The six phases are concept, conception, iteration, release, maintenance, and retirement.

Depending on the project management methodology, the Agile life cycle will differ differently. Scrum teams, for example, work in sprints, which are short periods similar to iterations. However, they also have explicitly defined responsibilities, such as Scrum master. On the other hand, Kanban teams have a more continuous flow with no needed roles. Extreme Programming is another example in which teams work in shorter iterations and emphasize engineering methods.

Concept

The concept entails identifying commercial opportunities in each proposed project and estimating the amount of time and effort required to complete it. This data can then rank projects and determine which ones are worth pursuing based on their technical and financial viability.

During the second step, inception, the team members are identified, funds are provided, and the customer’s initial needs are addressed. A timeline is required to explain the various roles of teams and clearly state when each sprint’s work is expected to be completed. A sprint is a designated period during which specific work must be completed and reviewed.

Inception

Once defining the concept, it’s time to assemble the software development team. A product owner will verify the availability of their colleagues and select the most qualified individuals for the project, as well as provide them with the required tools and resources. The design process can then begin. First, the team will create a mock-up of the user interface and sketch out the project architecture. The inception stage comprises gathering more information from stakeholders in order to fully flesh out the requirements on a diagram and determine the product’s functionality. Regular check-ins will verify that all requirements are accounted for during the design phase.

Iteration

Iteration/construction is the third step, in which teams begin developing working software based on requirements and ongoing input. Agile software development cycle uses iterations — or single development cycles —  to build on one another. It leads to the next phase in the overall development process until the project is finished. In addition, each iteration is typically two to four weeks long and has a predetermined end date. At the end of each iteration, the goal is to have a working product to launch.

Release

Release refers to the verge of releasing the product. However, the quality assurance team must first do several tests to guarantee that the software is completely functional. Next, these Agile team members will test the system to ensure that it is bug-free. The developers will address them as soon as possible if any potential problems or defects are discovered. Finally, the team will draw up the project architecture and construct a mock-up of the user interface. In order to properly flesh out the requirements on a diagram and identify the product’s functionality, the inception stage entails gathering more information from stakeholders.

Maintenance

Maintenance, Customers will now be able to use the software after fully delivered. It now enters the maintenance phase as a result of this operation. The software development team gives ongoing support to ensure that the system runs properly by resolving any new defects. They’ll also be on hand to provide users with further training and understand how to utilize the product. Moreover, new iterations are made throughout time to update the existing product with updates and new features. 

Retirement

The two reasons for “why a product enters retirement” are replaced with new software, or become obsolete or incompatible with the organization over time. Users are notified first by the software development team that the software is about to decommission. Next, after finding the replacement, users will move to the new system. Finally, the developers will complete any outstanding end-of-life tasks and discontinue support for the existing product.

There are several iterations in each phase of the Agile life cycle to polish deliverables and provide excellent results. Now, let’s look at the two most important “Agile Development Models.”

Agile Development Models

Agile teams employ a variety of ways to produce software. However, there are two main methods:

  • Scrum methodology
  • Kanban

Scrum Methodology

The most well-known and straightforward way is Agile Scrum Methodology. According to the State of Agile Report, 56 percent of teams use this Scrum technique. It’s a methodology for creating and maintaining complicated products. Moreover, the Scrum Guide contains the definition of Scrum and the concept behind it.

It is based on the following principles:

  • The Scrum approach relies on the Scrum Master’s role in assisting the Product Owner in identifying and prioritizing targets
  • The cross-functional team evaluates the backlog and selects Sprints for delivering “possibly shippable increments” of software. A Sprint might last up to four weeks
  • Daily standup meetings are essential to ensure clear communication between team members and keep everyone updated on development progress
  • After each sprint, the team examines the backlog and gathers for a demo meeting to show the capability of the product owner and his stakeholders
  • A retrospective meeting is a final step in the Agile Scrum technique. The team discusses the situation at this meeting

Kanban Method

Kanban is another common strategy. The development teams follow this strategy to emphasize continuous delivery and keep things simple in order to avoid overworking.

It works this way:

  • The teams use Kanban boards to visualize their workflow. Kanban boards make use of cards and columns to assist teams in making their work visible, displaying it to others, and finishing the job. The team can also use software such as Jira or Atlassian. The software features a “board”-style interface that allows teams to see their “to-do” and “in-progress” tasks
  • A Kanban system‘s best feature is that the team knows exactly how much sprint is usedso nothing extra will be added. This ensures that the work is balanced and keeps teams motivated without being burned out
  • The Kanban approach ensures that the team understands what will happen next, preparing for half of the activities ahead of time. This is beneficial

Also read: Agile vs Kanban: Understanding Differences and Similarities

Conclusion

The Agile Software Development Methodology is the most effective method for focusing on speed and flexibility. Because of the multiple advantages it offers, an increasing number of development businesses are adopting this methodology.

Following the Agile Methodology while simultaneously adopting the Agile attitude is the key to creating market-ready software. The strategy is the best way to implement change in the marketplace. It’s all about responding to consumer input as rapidly as possible without delaying the completion of your project. It’s all about preparing and distributing modest, frequent increments of your product so that there’s always space for improvement at a low cost.

Pick the Agile method and keep moving forward!

We at Invensis Learning will provide certifications for Agile Project Management-related courses. In addition, we offer certification courses for:

If you have any remaining queries concerning the Agile technique and would like expert advice, you can contact us.

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