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Currently, a leading number of software companies worldwide are using Agile Software Development Methodologies. We explore the reasons behind this trend.
The Traditional Waterfall Model
Earlier software development followed the Waterfall Model. In this each stage must be fully completed before the next stage can start. The stages include requirements gathering, design, development, testing, deployment and maintenance. Note that there is no overlapping in the stages. The Waterfall Model follows a linear and sequential process.
Major Drawback of Waterfall Model
The Waterfall Model cannot accommodate the changing requirements of the market and/or the client. If there are changes in the technology or business requirements at the end of the project, then the software development team has to start over again. This results in major losses in terms of effort, money and time.
Overview of Agile
Agile is a technique used for management of projects. For your information it can be used in any domain. Today, most software development projects use this methodology. In this approach stakeholders and the software development team work together simultaneously.
Unlike the older Waterfall approach, the whole project is not developed at one time. Small prototypes containing subsets of the project are developed and presented to end users for feedback. The changes are then incorporated into the next iteration. The process is repeated until the full and complete prototype is developed.
Myths About Agile
This is a popular myth. The reason behind this is that the project works in short iterations. However, since testing is done early then in the long-term the project deliverable’s quality is better and up-to-date with the latest technology and business requirements.
Agile involves more collaboration between team members. Also, it is not easy to get everybody to agree to any particular decision. However, the outcome is superior software produced in lesser time and lesser expenses.
This is simply not true. Before developing any prototype, all stakeholders meet to decide the functionality which will be produced in that particular iteration. The meeting comprises of designers, software developers, the software project manager, the client and at times the end users.
This is not a quality unique to Agile. Other software development methodologies too are unpredictable. At the start of any software development, no one can predict what the end product will be. It is widely acknowledged that Agile is better equipped to manage unpredictability than other software development approaches.
This myth is not backed by any evidence. Agile assigns designated resources for each iteration. For your information each iteration has a fixed expense taking into account the number of the members taking part in the iteration.
While this approach may be new to some software enterprises, it is relatively easy to understand and use.
By producing frequent prototypes and performing testing and reviews in each iteration, quality is boosted by identifying and fixing flaws quickly. Also, there is early identification of mismatches of client expectations which when resolved improves the quality of the final software.
Agile employs user stories having business focused criteria to define the functionality of the software. By aligning functionality with the requirements of real users., each functionality incrementally provides value and is not just a software component.
Changes are accommodated early in the software project development lifecycle. Valuable money, time and effort is saved as changes are made early in the lifecycle of the project.
In Agile, Client decides which feature is important. Thus, the software development team has clarity on what’s most valuable to the client’s business and provides the features that have the most business value.
As each iteration is of fixed duration, the expenses can be predicted of each iteration. The client is better informed about the approximate cost of every feature. This leads to better decisions regarding the priority of every feature and the necessity for more iterations.
Leading Agile Methodologies
Every enterprise is different with varying internal and external factors. What Agile methodology suits one business may not suit other businesses. So, the need for different Agile methodologies. We take a look at a couple of leading Agile methodologies used in the market today.
The term ‘Scrum’ is likely to be known by those in the software industry and at least heard of by others. Before going further let us understand the term -‘Sprint’.
A Sprint is a short, fixed time period when a Scrum team puts in effort to finish a pre-decided amount of work. Sprints are the foundation of Scrum and Agile practices. Done properly, Sprints enable software development teams to generate superior quality software with relatively less problems.
Scrum is designed to minimise overall risk in any software development project along with quicker delivery of value to the clients and end-users.
How Scrum Operates?
This methodology starts off with the needs or a story that describes how the specific features should operate and how each should be tested. When the project team members comprehend and have knowledge of the expected results, a set of sprints is conducted that deliver value fast as well as consistently.
This is an extremely straightforward Agile technique which is described as a big and prioritised to-do list. Work tasks are put visually on a Kanban board giving the software team members the ability to see the status of each task at any point of time.
How does Kanban Operate?
Kanban is not time-based like Scrum. Instead, it is completely based on priority. For example, when the software development team is free for their next task, they move a task from the to-do column to the development column. Remember as there are relatively less meetings in this Agile process, it is vital for each stakeholder to be very close to the remaining stakeholders.
In simple words, Kanban is a pull system. Work is moved into the system when the development team has capacity for executing the former as opposed to tasks delegated from the top.
Focaloid is a stellar software development and services company catering to clients in the US and UK. We have the experience and expertise to execute software development projects leveraging different Agile Methodologies. Contact us at the earliest to know how we can help you. You can rely on us to deliver high-quality, quick and flawless software products and/or services.