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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
You can create an Agile workflow in a few simple steps. Here’s how:
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.
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.
Now, you start assigning team roles. Assign different members to different sprints and clearly define what they will be working on. Agile projects involve:
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.