Agile Software Development: Everything You Need To Know

Information Technology
Written By :
Rome Chopra
Published On :
February 20, 2023

The Agile methodology involves managing any project by breaking it up into many measurable phases. It involves making constant collaboration with all the stakeholders and continuous improvement at each stage. Once the work begins, groups cycle through a method of designing, executing, and evaluating. Continuous collaboration is important, each with team members and project stakeholders. So what's Agile methodology in project management? It’s a method for managing a project that involves constant collaboration and dealing in iterations. Agile project management works off the idea that a project will be ceaselessly improved upon throughout its life cycle, with changes being created quickly and responsively. Agile is one of the foremost well-liked approaches to project management because of its flexibility, ability to alter, and high level of client input.

Since adopting Agile software development technology, businesses all around the world in just about every niche are experiencing tremendous success in meeting customers’ constantly changing needs in today’s market. 

This software development technology embraces and accounts for continual changes during development, making it easy for teams to break down complex requirements and test phases into much smaller segments. This has allowed teams to deliver error-free, working software quickly and consistently. Agile software development is set to play a significant role as the market increasingly buys into digital adoption

This whitepaper shall discuss Agile software development technology in detail, including:

  • What is Agile software development?
  • The history of Agile software development
  • Agile software development vs Waterfall software development
  • Agile lifecycle phases
  • Agile Iteration workflow
  • How to create an Agile workflow
  • Agile development training for customer onboarding

What Is Agile Software Development?

According to Agile Alliance,

“Agile Software Development is a set of methods and practices where solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams.”

What makes Agile different from other software development approaches is a focus on the people doing the work and how they do it. Agile solutions come about through collaboration between a variety of cross-functional teams. 

The History Of Agile Software Development

Agile was born in 2001. 17 technologists created the Agile Manifesto and came up with four principles for Agile project management to develop better software. The four principles are:
 

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Responding to change byover following a fixed plan
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

In the early 1990s, software development faced a crisis. It was also known as an ‘application delivery lag’ or ‘application development crisis.’ There was a significant time gap between a validated business need and the production of an application for this need. This gap was generally 3 years or more.

This posed a major problem because businesses back then operated quickly with ever-changing business requirements, systems, processes, and so on. In other words, these applications would become irrelevant by the time they were developed.

As a result, tons of projects were being canceled in the beginning or mid-way because these applications did not meet the business’ new needs, even if they were aligned to the original objectives of the business. In industries like aerospace and defense, this application lag was a staggering 20 years.

Thought leaders like aerospace engineer Jon Kern became frustrated with these lags and decided to look for a more efficient approach. Kern said, “We were looking for something more timely and responsive." He was one of the 17 software thought leaders who drafted the Agile Manifesto. 

Agile Software Development Vs. Waterfall Software Development

The Waterfall development model follows distinct phases, the original requirements, and the design plan created at the start of the project. Under the Waterfall software development model, a project manager puts resources, milestones, features, and other relevant specifics in place while planning the project. 

The Waterfall model is sequential, which means that the project team can move on toonto further stages if the previous ones are complete. 

However, with the Agile development model, there is a continual iteration of development and testing during the software development process. This model involves increased communication between customers, managers, developers, etc.

Here are some of the primary differences between the two software development models: 

Agile

  • The project life cycle is divided into sprints. 
  • This model is known for its flexibility.
  • These projects are considered a collection of multiple projects.
  • Agile development is an interactive process since planning, development, and other phases may occur multiple times. 
  • Agile projects tend to have changing requirements.
  • There is a high degree of coordination and synchronization between dedicated teams. 
  • Product owners tend to brief their team members on the requirements every day. 
  • The Agile model follows an incremental approach. 

Waterfall

  • The Waterfall software development process is divided into distinct phases. 
  • This model is known to have structure, which means it can get rigid. 
  • These projects are generally considered one single project, as opposed to a collection of multiple different projects. 
  • The development phases in this model, like designing, testing, etc., are completed once.
  • This model is for projects that have fixed requirements. 
  • This model involves very low team coordination and synchronization. 
  • With the Waterfall model, business analysis prepares the requirements before the project starts. 
  • The Waterfall model is sequential. 

Benefits Of The Waterfall Software Development Model

  • The Waterfall model is easy to manage because it is divided into distinct phases with specific deliverables. 
  • This model often ensures relatively faster delivery of the project. 
  • This model is for projects where the requirements are clear and fixed. 
  • The Waterfall model process and results are to document properly. 
  • It is the ideal model for shifting teams.

Limitations Of The Waterfall Model

  • The Waterfall model does not tend to hold up for large projects. 
  • It is not the ideal model for projects where the requirements are not fixed in the beginning. 
  • It is difficult to go back to the previous phases of the project and make changes. 
  • You can only start testing after the development is over, which means there is a high chance of finding bugs. 

Benefits Of The Agile Model

  • The Agile model focuses on the client. The client is involved in every stage of the development. 
  • Since the Agile model is based on incremental progress, both the client and team know how much is complete and what they have left. In other words, there is a very little risk during development. 
  • Considering that there are small but dedicated teams under this model, they are likely to bring stellar results. 
  • Ultimately, the Agile model stands a high chance of maintaining the project’s quality and development. 

Limitations Of The Agile Model

  • This model is not the best for small projects. 
  • Implementing the Agile model for projects tends to cost a little more than the other models.

  • Projects under this model need an expert to do most of the decision-making. If there is no expert, the project can go off track, resulting in a lot of confusion. 

 

Agile Lifecycle Phases

The Agile lifecycle is a series of phases that a product goes through during development. Its phases are namely, concept, inception, iteration, release, maintenance, and retirement

  1. Concept

The concept phase is the first phase of the software development lifecycle. Here, it is up to the product owner to determine the features and functions of the product, and the work to be done to deliver such a product.

Once done, the product owner discusses the requirements with a client, and creates an outline of the requirements, supported features, and expected end results. The product manager also estimates the capital and time required for the project to determine if it is feasible or not before starting it. 

  1. Inception

The inception stage comes right after the project has an outline. In this phase, the product owner checks for colleagues available to do the project and chooses the best people for the job. The product owner provides them with all the tools and resources necessary for the project. The team drafts a mock-up of the User Interface (UI) and the project architecture as the design starts.

It is also worth noting that the stakeholders tend to give further inputs during this stage and determine the product’s functionality. There are also regular check-ins to make sure the design process incorporates all the specified requirements. 

  1. Iteration

The third stage is the iteration or construction phase, which tends to be the most extended phase-out of the lot. Most of the work happens here. During this stage, the developers and UX designers work to incorporate product requirements, customer feedback, etc.

The bare functionality is generally ready by the first sprint or iteration, and additional features can be added with each subsequent iteration. The iteration stage distinguishes it from all the other software development models because it allows for quick, significant improvements to ensure client satisfaction. 

  1. Release

At this point, after multiple iterations, the product is ready to be released, but not before the Quality Assurance (QA) team performs tests to ensure the software is ready. Tests need to be conducted to make sure the code is devoid of bugs and defects. If there are bugs, the developers rectify them quickly. User training also happens during the release stage, which means there is generally some required documentation. Once all of this is done, the product is released. 

  1. Maintenance

The product is now available to customers, which means that it is now in the maintenance phase. The maintenance phase requires the software development team to provide ongoing support to keep the product running seamlessly. Besides this support, they also offer users web-based training to show them how to use the product. 

  1. Retirement

The retirement stage is the final stage of any product. This stage exists for two main reasons - the product is being replaced with new software, or the product itself has become completely irrelevant with time. During this stage, the development team notifies the users that this product is being retired and helps them migrate to a new system if there is such a provision. After the end-of-life activities are taken care of, they terminate the support for this product. 

Agile Iteration Workflow

The difference between the software development lifecycle and the iteration workflow is that the life cycle outlines the entire process. However, the iteration workflow or sprint development cycle is the workflow of each iteration within the development lifecycle. Here’s what the iteration workflow looks like: 

  1. Requirements: This stage involves defining the iteration requirements based on the product backlog, customer feedback, stakeholder feedback, and sprint backlog. 
  1. Development: This stage involves designing and developing the software based on the specified requirements. 
  1. Testing: This involves QA testing, documentation development, internal and external training, etc. 
  1. Delivery: The backlog items are delivered before the final stage of testing.
  1. Feedback: This is the final stage where you accept customer feedback and stakeholder feedback and add them to the requirements of the next iteration. 

How To Create An Agile Workflow

You can create an Agile workflow in a few simple steps. Here’s how: 

  1. Forming

Your team will need to understand Agile principles and adopt the practices accordingly. At this stage, you ought to focus on understanding Agile specialtyspeciality roles and events like sprint planning and retrospectives, daily standups, and so on. 

  1. Storming

At this stage, you will need to look at your product backlog and segregate the backlog items into sprints. However, you will need to ensure your sprints are planned out and you do not have too much going on in each sprint. Be sure to figure out what your team is comfortable with to define their roles with ease. 

  1. Assigning Team Roles

Now, you start assigning team roles. Assign different members to different sprints and clearly define what they will be working on. Agile projects involve:

  • A product owner who communicates with customers and retrieves feedback. 
  • A project manager who gets the feedback from the product owner and guides the team accordingly. 
  • The project team that works on the projects. 
  • Stakeholders who are not actively working on the project but give valuable feedback. These stakeholders are often senior managers, marketers, etc. 
  1. Performing

This is the final stage of the workflow. It is vital to follow the Agile principles (linked earlier) and optimize your development process. The best way to check up on developments is through daily stand-ups. Once the product owner relays the feedback to the team, they can work on it, conduct a sprint review, and move on to the next iteration. 

You are bound to get high-quality, faster-developed applications using Agile software development principles and practices because Agile is flexible and adaptable. These are two prerequisites in today’s business world, where business requirements are constantly changing. Finally, Agile is here to stay because it facilitates continuous improvement. Thanks to its sprint or iteration-based approach, products can be constantly updated and tweaked with the help of customer feedback.

Copyright 2022 @Ziplyne. All rights reserved
Copyright 2022 @Ziplyne All rights reserved