Software development has been one of the pillars driving digitization around the world. Custom software development has helped numerous organizations build business-specific applications to cater to their customers in the best way possible.
If you are planning to design and develop a software application, you should definitely be aware of the Agile process of development. It is a modern development methodology that enhances software development and allows you to build robust, responsive, and efficient applications. Incorporating Agile development in your project provides you with better flexibility, scalability, and time-to-market as compared to the conventional approach.
If you are willing to get on the digital bandwagon, make sure you are well-versed with Agile development and its contribution to the world of software development.
What is Agile Methodology?
Agile methodology is a modern software development methodology that focuses on flexible development, seamless collaboration, and the logical building of applications. It revolves around working on individual aspects of software development to leverage the overall development process.
Through Agile development, you and your team can focus on the different elements involved in building an application while keeping the business value and logic intact. It encourages multiple team members to work in perfect synchronization to bring a project to fruition. Agile development is all about assigning specific roles to dedicated employees and managing their processes while carrying out software development in distinct phases.
The Agile development process makes you feel confident about your finished product as a lot of work goes into building each of its components with thorough testing conducted every step of the way. This way, you can rest assured that the final product developed by your team would be powerful, efficient, and in sync with your business requirements.
Types of Agile Development Methodologies
Depending on your approach towards software development, a lot of ways of handling projects can be termed Agile development methodologies. A range of different frameworks and platforms allow you to indulge in Agile development while building your software applications and programs.
However, here are some of the most common types of Agile development methodologies that are followed by software developers around the world.
Figure: Types of Agile Development Methodologies
Scrum is one of the most commonly used Agile development methodologies around the world. It is a prescriptive framework that specializes in managing incremental and iterative development projects.
Scrum involves a project manager who creates a product backlog allowing them to work in sync with their team for identifying and prioritizing system functionality. This product backlog includes a list of all the tasks that need to be accomplished during the course of the project, delivering an efficient and working software platform.
This list includes elements like bug fixes, application features, and other functional and non-functional requirements related to the project at hand. Once the manager has defined the product backlog using Agile methodology, no more changes can be made to the same by anyone except the corresponding team.
Once the owner of the project and the development team have finalized the clearly-defined priorities, cross-functional teams join the bandwagon and start delivering working software increments in distinct sprints (phases). After every sprint, the project backlog is reassessed for finalizing a new set of deliverables for the next phase.
This Agile development process is simple, systematic, and holistic in nature. This is what makes it one of the popular methodologies around the world.
2. Extreme Programming
Extreme programming (XP) is another highly popular Agile development methodology that focuses on speedy and continuous delivery. It focuses on sufficient customer involvement, continuous planning, steady testing, close teamwork, and faster feedback loops.
Here, the project is delivered at regular intervals, ideally once every two or three weeks. Project managers make sure that the clients stay involved in the project and are always kept in the loop. The primary goal of extreme programming is to enhance the quality of the software being developed and its responsiveness to change when faced with changing customer demands.
This approach to Agile development relies on the core values of communication, feedback, simplicity, and courage. These values ensure that your software is developed on time without making any compromises to its quality and functionality. Here, the clients are encouraged to work closely with the developers to discuss the priorities and objectives to be achieved throughout the course of the project.
To enhance the overall productivity of software, the XP methodology provides you with a lightweight and supportive framework that guides you in developing and deploying quality enterprise software.
3. Lean Software Development
This is a more flexible Agile development process as compared to XP and scrum. It follows fewer and more lenient guidelines, methods, and rules. However, it is not without principles.
Lean software development is based on a set of principles created to ensure efficiency and value in the development of your product. Essentially, these principles came into being in the mid-20th century and have been carried forward to software development.
Here are the key principles lean software development relies on:
- Empowering your team
- Fostering the spirit of integrity
- Encouraging learning
- Removing waste (unproductive time and irrelevant tasks)
- Understanding the whole project
- Delivering the finished product as quickly as possible
- Delaying final decisions as much as possible
The lean development method lays a lot of emphasis on a reliable and quick feedback loop between the clients and the developers. This is to ensure quicker and more efficient development workflows for building software. Instead of having a big team that follows the hierarchical control flow on board, this Agile process recommends working with a smaller team with high decision-making authority.
Moreover, to eliminate the “waste” as described above, this approach to Agile development encourages developers to select only the features that are valuable for the end product. It also gives a lot of importance to automated unit tests to be written along with the code while an application is being developed to make sure that every member of the development is always productive, leading to faster development.
Kanban is an Agile development methodology that is highly visual in nature. It is a workflow management system that focuses on allowing teams to actively manage the development process with an emphasis on continuous product delivery. The Kanban methodology also focuses on preventing the team members from creating unwanted stress on the software development lifecycle.
Kanban operates on the following major principles:
- Improving the workflow
- Limiting the work in progress
- Visualizing the workflow throughout the course of the project.
- Managing the workflow
- Implementing feedback loops
- Making the process policies more explicit
- Encouraging collaboration
Just like Scrum, Kanban helps your team members work in unison with each other as they move towards common organizational goals. It encourages continuous collaboration between all parties involved and allows you to define the most suitable workflow while ensuring ongoing improvement and learning.
Crystal is the most adaptable and lightweight Agile development process. As opposed to the techniques and tools involved in software development, it focuses more on the interactions between the people involved in your project.
This approach to Agile development works on the principle that every development project has unique characteristics and needs a set of policies, processes, and practices tailored for the same. Crystal is made of different Agile process models, such as Crystal Clear, Crystal Orange, and Crystal Yellow. Each of these models has its own unique set of features that depend on factors like team size, project priorities, system criticality, etc.
Like all other Agile development methodologies, Crystal focuses on frequent deliveries, high client involvement, getting rid of bureaucracy, high adaptability, and more. Communication, simplicity, and teamwork are the three principles that act like pillars for Crystal.
6. Feature-driven Development
Feature-driven development (FDD) provides businesses with a framework for efficient software development that begins in the form of an overall model and keeps getting granular on the way.
FDD blends some of the best software development practices such as code ownership, development by feature, domain object modelling, etc. for creating a short-iteration, model-driven, and cohesive process. The Agile process begins with defining an overall model shape which creates a comprehensive feature list. It then moves on to iterations that last for almost two weeks and revolve around planning, designing, and building by feature.
If a feature takes too long (ideally, longer than two weeks) to build, it should be broken down into smaller features that need to be focused on by the team of developers. One of the biggest benefits of feature-driven development is that it makes the development process more scalable, irrespective of the size of the team and the scope of the project.
7. Dynamic Systems Development Method
Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) originated back in the 1990s and has now matured into a robust Agile development process. Essentially, it is a response to the need for a unified industry framework for quicker and more efficient software delivery.
The DSDM relies on eight major principles and failing in any one of them increase the risk of jeopardizing the completion of your project. Here are the eight principles DSDM relies on:
- Timely delivery
- Seamless collaboration
- Demonstrated control
- Steady focus on the business needs
- Continuous and clear communication
- Creating increments from solid foundations
- Iterative development
- No comprise on quality
The DSDM approach to Agile development involves building rework into the development process while all changes are reversible. This makes the process very flexible for the developers.
Here, the system requirements are prioritized using the MoSCoW rule that ranks priorities as follows:
- M – Must have
- S – Should have
- C – Could have (not critical)
- W – Won’t have at the moment (but can have later)
DSDM makes sure that not every requirement is considered to be extremely critical to the project. It acknowledges the fact that every project would have requirements and elements that are less critical and can be done away with at the moment.
Benefits of Agile Development that help you get on the Digital Bandwagon
If you are planning to drive digitization within your organization, here are some of the major benefits offered by Agile development you should be aware of:
Figure: Why should you use Agile Development for Digital Transformation.
1. Continuous Testing
Agile development gives a lot of importance to testing the software being developed before it is launched. All Agile methodologies encourage testing and QA at different phases throughout the development process. This helps you be double sure about your software being powerful and suitable for the industry standards.
2. Better Response to Changes
Agile development is highly flexible in nature, allowing developers to make necessary adjustments and respond to changes in the market or within the organization. Modern software development encourages shorter planning cycles and adaptive governance throughout the development process that is carried out in different phases.
3. Focus on Collaboration
Agile development focuses on seamless collaboration between the developers and clients. It ensures that all parties involved in the development project are on the same page and all the decisions made are transparent.
4. Focus on Customer Satisfaction
All Agile development methodologies focus on providing the best services to the end-users and the utmost customer satisfaction. They encourage a holistic feedback loop and allow developers to work on the feedback obtained from users to make necessary improvements. This allows you to build healthy and sustainable relationships with your customers.
5. Empowering the Team Members
Agile development divides a project into smaller sections and allows every team member to take full responsibility for handling each section. This empowers the team members to shoulder important responsibilities and work with complete dedication towards fulfilling the common organizational objectives.
6. Implementing Latest Features
Owing to the high flexibility of Agile development, it allows you to implement the latest features in your software and stay in tune with the ongoing technological advancements in the industry.
The Final Word
If you are willing to get on the digital bandwagon by developing powerful business-specific software, Agile development should be your go-to approach. It allows you to build a robust software application while focusing on your core business objectives, the collaboration between your team members, and the satisfaction of the end-users.