Agile Software Development (ASD) is a collection of software development methodologies that promote adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, continuous improvement, and a fixed time to complete a part of work. Traditionally projects are delivered in a series of phases that are based on increasing levels of certainty around the system being built.
The traditional approach is not flexible to a customer’s changing needs. Time is also wasted in building redundant features. Also, the stability of a system cannot be determined until the end.
In ASD instead of phases, projects are broken down into releases and iterations. At the end of each iteration, you have a fully functioning system that could be released.
It involves a collaborative effort between cross-functional teams and their customers/end users. Product teams around the world use agile development to move fast and innovate. But what is it about this method that resonates and works so well? To answer this question, it is worth understanding the Agile movement’s origins. In 2001, seventeen software developers met in Utah to discuss these lightweight developments. They published the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. After discussion, they reached a conclusion on key values of ASD:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working Software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to Change over following a plan
The first value of interactions enables us to have a team of good developers who communicate and collaborate well, rather than a team of experts each operating in isolation. Communication between people working on software is a vital part of this value. The second value stresses the importance of working software rather than pages of documentation related to the technicalities of the software in development. The third value encourages the role of customers in software development. Feedback from end-users is vital to continuously improve the software. ASD has the flexibility of changing and improving software over the period of its development.
How Are Agile Software Development Projects Different?
In the waterfall model, there is always a separate testing phase after a build phase; however, agile software development testing is completed in the same iteration as programming. Because testing is done in every iteration — which develops a small piece of the software — users can frequently use those new pieces of software and validate the value. After the users know the real value of the updated piece of software, they can make better decisions about the software’s future. This iterative approach supports a product rather than a project mindset. This provides greater flexibility throughout the development process; whereas on projects the requirements are defined and locked down from the very beginning, making it difficult to change them later.
Iterative product development allows the software to evolve in response to changes in the business environment or market requirements. Agile is a repetitive and additional method of managing design and development. Its aim is to offer new services or product development in a highly flexible and common way. Software development is dynamic by nature, and Agile encourages rapid and flexible response to change. Because adaptability is central to its conceptual framework, teams using this approach are well-equipped to respond to changes throughout the development cycle.
Benefits of Agile Software Development
We can specifically talk about the top four benefits of agile software development:
- High Product Quality — Since the software is developed in incremental, rapid cycles it results in various releases, each better than the previous one. Each release is thoroughly tested to ensure high product quality. One also incorporates continuous integration and daily testing into the development process, allowing the development team to address issues while they’re still fresh.
- Higher Customer Satisfaction — The owner of the product is always involved, the progress on software development is visible implying customer satisfaction and engagement. During ASD, customers get early access to products which means that they can give feedback and suggest certain changes.
- Low-Risk Methodology — The evolutionary nature of ASD eliminates the chances of project failure. Agile gives freedom when new changes need to be implemented. They can be implemented at very little cost because of the frequency of new increments that are produced Agile commonly uses user stories with business-focused acceptance criteria to define product features. By focusing features on the needs of real customers, each feature incrementally delivers value, not just an IT component.
- Highest Return On Investment — The focus on business values ensures that the team understands what’s important to the client’s business and can return and deliver features in the most valuable order.
Statistics about ASD indicate that on average, the time for a product to hit the market is 37 percent faster than the average and the team working on the software has a productivity rate higher by 16 percent than that of average. So, Agile Software Development is not a bad option to create high-quality software. Escale Solutions is the leading software development company in Delhi that works on the concept of Agile Software Development.