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What Is Agile Methodology In Software Development

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Wazobia Technologies

October 07, 2022

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INTRODUCTION

Agile enables teams to provide consumers more quickly and without as many problems through an iterative project management and software development approach.

An agile team produces work in manageable, small-scale increments rather than staking everything on a "big bang" launch. In addition, teams have a built-in mechanism for fast adjusting to change since requirements, plans, and results are regularly evaluated.

Enterprises use agile approaches like scrum and kanban to upgrade applications, enhance customer experiences, and drive digital transformations.

Agile development has a deep history. Additionally, there is a vast body of knowledge on these approaches and how they relate to design thinking, product management, and DevOps.

Organisations seek to answer the question ' What Is Agile ?' to align their team with agile best practices to improve productivity.

This article is an introduction to agile approaches and their interrelationships.

Additionally, you'll discover how DevOps and agile relate to one another and best practices for fostering an agile culture within organisations and producing higher-quality software.

Here is an outline of what we covered in this article:

  • What Is Agile Methodology?

  • History Of Agile

  • Phases of Agile Model

  • Agile Testing Methods

  • When To Use The Agile Method

  • Roles In Agile Methodology

  • Skills Required For Agile Methodology In Software Development

  • Advantages of Agile Methodology

  • Disadvantages of Agile Methodology

  • Technical best practices for agile companies

  • Conclusion 

WHAT IS AGILE METHODOLOGY?  

"Agile process model" refers to an iterative software development approach. Agile methods divide tasks into smaller iterations or parts and do not directly involve long-term planning.

In simple words, agile means quick or adaptable.

The project scope and requirements are defined at the start of the development process. Plans for the number of iterations, duration, and scope of each iteration are clearly defined in advance.

In the agile process model, each iteration is regarded as a short time "frame," typically lasting one to four weeks.

In addition, dividing the entire project into smaller parts helps reduce project risk and overall project delivery time requirements.

Before a functional product is shown to the client, a team must complete a full iteration of the software development life cycle, which includes planning, requirements analysis, design, coding, and testing.

Agile software development is a group of software development approaches based on iterative development, where requirements and solutions are developed through cooperation amongst self-organising cross-functional teams.

Agile methods or Agile processes typically encourage a disciplined project management process that enables frequent inspection and adaptation, a leadership philosophy that encourages teamwork, self-organisation, and accountability, a set of engineering best practices intended to allow for rapid delivery of high-quality software, and a business approach that aligns development with customer needs and company goals.

Any development methodology that adheres to the ideas in the Agile Manifesto is known as agile development.

A group of fourteen influential people created the Manifesto in the software business, and it is based on their knowledge of what strategies work and don't work.

HISTORY OF AGILE METHODOLOGY  

In the late 1970s, personal computers exploded, granting the common individual access to contemporary computing. The increased consumer demand stimulated innovation, and businesses were challenged to match customers' ever-changing needs.

Unfortunately, the rigid approaches that formerly dominated the SDLC were incapable of delivering software quickly or efficiently adapting to changing requirements during the development process.

In the early 1990s, a small group of software industry experts began creating and pushing new methods to the SDLC that emphasized rapid response and adaptation to all changing requirements and technology.

Rapid application development (RAD), Scrum, extreme programming, and rational unified process (RUP) emerged as the new, extremely flexible and responsive development methodologies.

In 2001, a small group of seventeen industry executives convened in Snowbird, Utah, to explore these new and emerging methods.

Here, the phrase Agile software development was initially used to represent flexible software development that proceeded in iterative stages; it eventually became the umbrella name for the new approaches.

To differentiate Agile software development from conventional techniques, a group of industry experts created the Agile Manifesto, a set of values for using Agile.

Agile methodologies have grown in popularity since 2001.

As more and more businesses and teams adopt them, an ecosystem has emerged that includes all Agile software development practitioners as well as the individuals and organizations that support the process through training, consulting frameworks, and tools.

 

PHASES OF AGILE MODEL  

Here are the phases of the Agile Model:

1. Gathering requirements 

This stage requires that you specify the criteria. You should outline the business potential and schedule the time and resources needed to complete the project. You can assess the technical and financial viability based on this information.

2. Create the requirements

 Once the project has been determined, collaborate with the stakeholders to create the criteria. You can use a user flow diagram or a high-level UML diagram to demonstrate how new additions will function and relate to your current system.

3. Construction/iteration 

Work starts once the team determines the needs. Designers and coders get to work on their project, which aspires to release a usable product.

The product's functioning is straightforward and modest because it will undergo many refinement stages.

4. Testing 

In this step, the Quality Assurance team evaluates the product's functionality and searches for bugs.

5. Deployment

During this stage, the team distributes the product in the user's office setting.

6. Customer input

This is the final step before a product is released. This allows the team to receive and process feedback on the product.

 

AGILE TESTING METHODS  

Agile Project Management employs a variety of approaches, and this section will cover the most prevalent ones.

These methodologies utilise the underlying concepts of Agile but develop distinct frameworks to achieve specific outcomes.

In a firm, multiple approaches are permissible, but before settling on a single strategy, you should evaluate which alternatives make the most sense for your company.

Here are the various approaches to Agile Methodology:

  • Scrum

  • Kanban

  • Scrumban

  • Crystal

  • Dynamic Software Development Method(DSDM)

  • Feature Driven Development(FDD)

  • Lean Software Development

  • eXtreme Programming(XP)

Kanban, Scrum, and Scrumban are the three most essential techniques, but we will also briefly discuss a few others.

SCRUM

Scrum is an agile development process emphasising effective work management in team settings.

The three participants' tasks are as follows:

  • The scrum master's job is to oversee the entire master team, facilitate meetings, and eliminate obstacles.

  • The product owner is the person that creates the product backlog, sets priorities for the delay, and is in charge of how features are divided up between iterations.

  • Scrum Team: Within the Scrum paradigm, the team is accountable for managing and coordinating to finish the sprint or cycle promptly.

The Standard Scrum procedure is as follows:

  • A Simple Sprint

  • Sprint Preparation

This is required when a backlog develops and is intended to assist in getting back on track.

  • Daily Scrum

Regarding deadlines and assigning work.

  • Sprint Review

It ensures that everything is completed correctly.

  • Sprint Retrospective

Understanding what you performed well and what you need to do better.

KANBAN 

The Kanban approach, developed initially in Japan, involves arranging cards on a whiteboard to represent various tasks.

Every job is laid out in a workflow chart, allowing everyone to know exactly where they stand regarding company-wide productivity.

The team benefits from this since it provides a visual representation of the organisation and the division of responsibilities within it.

In addition, everyone involved in a project may maintain constant communication and awareness of its development.

When everyone's work routines are visible, it's easy to spot slow spots and figure out what needs to be done about them.

SCRUMBAN

Scrumban refers to a hybrid methodology that combines Kanban and Scrum. Scrum allows for greater adaptability and continuous communication across all teams.

The Kanban component also provides a visual representation of the process, which helps teams stay motivated and not get overwhelmed by the project's magnitude.

Team members that are interested in making the switch from one version of Agile to another will find this management approach to be a helpful resource. Many individuals find a sudden change too upsetting, but since all three approaches are part of the Agile family, making the transition is easy.

CRYSTAL

In reality, crystal methodology is a subsection of a subsection. There are numerous sorts of Crystals, like Yellow, Orange and Red.

Regardless of your choice, the method prioritises people and workers over systems and procedures. This allows individuals to operate in a setting that best suits their needs rather than adhering to a rigid template.

The colours reflect the numbers in each group, with each hue employing a slightly different way to aid with clarity.

This technique consists of three concepts:

  • Chartering: This phase involves a variety of tasks, including the formation of a development team, the execution of feasibility analysis, the creation of blueprints, etc.

  • Under cyclic delivery, there are two more cycles, which are:

The team revises the release schedule.

A product that is integrated gives to its users.

  • This phase performs deployment, and post-deployment, according to the user environment.

FEATURE-DRIVEN DEVELOPMENT (FDD)

Feature-Driven Development (FDD) is a software development strategy in which a new model is produced every two weeks.

Though it requires work in design and development, this model will result in comprehensive records of your strategic acumen.

The "Designing and Building" phases are the focal points of this approach. When compared to other intelligent approaches, FDD details the individual tasks that need to be obtained for each function.

This approach allows you to use software tied to your plans rather than the other way around, resulting in a construction that performs precisely as you need.

 

DYNAMIC SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT METHOD (DSDM)

DSDM is an agile project distribution structure and a rapid application development methodology for software development.

The basic characteristics of DSDM are that users must be actively engaged and that teams have been granted decision-making authority. These are the approaches utilised in DSDM: 

  • Time Limiting

  • MoSCoW Rules

  • Prototyping

The DSDM project is comprised of seven phases:

  • Pre-project

  • Feasibility Analysis

  • Business Study

  • Functional Model Iteration

  • Design and Construction Cycle

  • Implementation

  • Post-project

It is essential to the DSDM that not all requirements be deemed significant. Each iteration should include non-essential things that can be eliminated without affecting higher-priority requirements.

LEAN SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

Lean software development is an additional iterative technique that emphasises effective value stream mapping to ensure the team delivers customer value. It is adaptable and ever-changing; there are no strict principles or regulations. The Lean technique is based on the following fundamental principles:

  • Boosting education

  • Facilitating teamwork

  • Fostering integrity

  • Waste removal

  • Realising the whole

  • As late as feasible in making choices.

  • The fastest possible delivery of the merchandise

In order to provide rapid and effective development workflows, the Lean methodology relies on prompt and dependable customer and programmer input.

In lieu of depending on a hierarchical control structure, it delegated decision-making responsibility to people and small teams.

To eliminate waste, the Lean method requires users to prioritise and deliver features in small batches. Lean software development also supports the concurrent writing of automated unit tests and code and focuses on maximising the productivity of every team member.

eXTREME PROGRAMMING (XP)

The extreme programming (XP) methodology is a disciplined approach that emphasises rapid delivery.

It emphasises enhanced consumer interaction, quick feedback loops, constant planning and testing, and close teamwork. Typically, every two to three weeks, the software is provided. The objective is to enhance the responsiveness and quality of software in response to changing client requirements.

The XP methodology is founded on the core ideals of communication, feedback, simplicity, and bravery

Customers define and prioritise their requested user stories closely with their development team. Nevertheless, the team is responsible for producing working, iteration-tested software for the highest-priority user stories.

The XP methodology provides users with a lightweight, guiding framework that facilitates the deployment of high-quality enterprise software and increases productivity.

WHEN TO USE THE AGILE METHOD  

You can employ the Agile Method when:

  • A customer is always available for meetings in software development

  • The project is minimal

  • Regular shifts are essential.

  • There is a group of experts at your disposal.

ROLES IN AGILE METHODOLOGY  

An agile development process involves several responsibilities.

A vision statement outlining the range of issues, possibilities, and values to be addressed is always documented as the first step in an agile software development process.

This vision is captured by the product owner, who then collaborates with a diverse team (or teams) to carry it out.

Agile Portfolio Manager

An Agile Portfolio Manager functions similarly to a Traditional Portfolio Manager in that they examine the products and objectives of each Scrum and devise techniques that enable many teams to collaborate.

Agile differs in that decentralized control, transparency, and the ability to experiment are incorporated. The culture of openness permits individuals to raise concerns without fear of condemnation or punishment. Instead, the focus is on resolving the issue and moving ahead.

As the Portfolio Manager is not a member of a specific team, he or she will not prefer or expect more from any particular group.

Engineering Manager

The efficiency of your team's work depends on the engineering managers you employ. They are responsible for eliminating bottlenecks and rerouting any accumulations so the team can operate efficiently. The timely completion of high-quality work.

Typically, this entails concentrating on external factors that can impact the workload of a team. A competent engineering manager understands that a healthy team cannot consistently perform at 100 per cent. This involves ensuring sufficient slack in the task to prevent burnout.

 Users

The user or client is always the first consideration in an agile process. Therefore, user personas are frequently created today to show various workflow roles or consumer wants and behaviours.

Product creator

The duty of the product owner is to represent all internal stakeholders and the customer. This person distils insights, suggestions, and feedback to produce a product vision.

Although product visions are sometimes brief and straightforward, they nonetheless present a picture of the user or client, the values being addressed, and a plan for doing so.

The product owner divides the product vision into several user stories to collaborate with the development team. The target users, their problems, the need for the solution, and the limitations and acceptance criteria that define it should all be mentioned in the user story.

The product owner must define the vision, however, it may be, and then collaborate with the development team to make it a reality.

For the team to have a common idea of what is expected of them, the product owner prioritises these user stories and evaluates them. 

SKILLS REQUIRED FOR AGILE METHODOLOGY IN SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT  

A number of abilities are necessary for effective participation in an Agile project. These could be taught in schools, emphasized in culture, and discussed in meetings.

T-Shaped Product Administration

Each member of a team or Scrum should possess the same fundamental subject expertise.

As a result, as a product manager, you must guarantee that every team member covers the fundamentals. To do this, you may reassign team members' responsibilities so that fundamental knowledge is not lost or forgotten.

The lengthy horizontal line is fundamental knowledge in this "T"-shaped comparison. The vertical line signifies an in-depth understanding of something more particular. Each team member should have their speciality. This may depend on experience, skill, or specialized knowledge.

This enables the Scrum team to collaborate and rely on one another's specific knowledge to solve a problem.

As everyone is an expert in fundamental knowledge, they can rely on each other for the project, and as experts in other disciplines, they can call for assistance when necessary.

Excellent communication abilities

Each team member must communicate effectively for anything in Agile to function as intended. They must feel comfortable exhibiting a problem, regardless of its origin, and explaining how it affects the project.

Since Agile Project Management is intended to indicate how each team member is performing and facilitate discussion of the subject matter, the ability to articulate your rationale is a crucial skill. However, with free communication comes the possibility of misunderstanding.

To prevent this issue from occurring regularly, each team member must possess excellent communication skills.

Capable of Adaptability

Since Agile Project Management enables the workforce to adapt to change as it occurs, individuals must also be adaptable.

This requires acquiring new skills when they become necessary, updating technology and staying abreast of these developments, and recognizing that change need not impede progress.

Good Organization

Due to the importance of adaptability in Agile Project Management, linear work is improbable in the workplace.

Self-organization is required to stay on top of your duties and ensure that they align with other Scrums and Sprints.

This requires recognizing and maintaining your priorities. Without this ability, it is simple to forget details or tasks, causing problems for your team.

Problem Solving

The ability to recognize a problem and devise a solution is a crucial part of agile project management.

It takes a team effort to create solutions, but it is essential to approach the problem with a proactive perspective. 

Although many believe they possess exceptional problem-solving abilities, this perception results from an active desire to resolve problems.

Creating team days emphasizing problem-solving might be advantageous for teaching or maintaining problem-solving skills. Escape rooms, puzzles, and other enjoyable team-building games are examples.

Time Management

As many Agile Projects are self-contained, each team member must be capable of self-management.

This requires monitoring the due dates of their work, the duration of their projects, and the team's productivity pace.

This may also need managers to monitor the transfer between projects. If they anticipate a huge project, they must manage their staff to accommodate the increased workload.

Risk Management

In Agile Project Management, balancing the desire for the reward and the risk associated with the pursuit is one of the greatest hazards.

As a stand-alone project, it can be simple for team members to take on tasks that align with their interests while leaving undesired tasks behind.

However, this might result in job delays and social conflict. As a manager, you should redirect the team if it veers off course

This results in prioritization hazards, in which management fails to prioritize work effectively. This may result in a backlog, a bottleneck, or additional delays.

Keeping an eye on the group dynamic and workflow can prevent this danger.

ADVANTAGES OF AGILE METHODOLOGY  

The following are the advantages of the Agile Methodology

  • Deliver regularly

  • Direct interpersonal interaction with customers or clients

  • Its design is both effective and satisfies the need placed by the company

  • Any time is efficient for making adjustments

  • It minimises the amount of total development time

DISADVANTAGES OF AGILE METHODOLOGY  

Here are the disadvantages of the Agile Methodology:

  • Due to the lack of formal records, there is a misunderstanding, and critical decisions made during multiple phases can be misconstrued at any point by team members.

  • After the project is over and the developers are moved on to other projects, it can be challenging to maintain the finished product due to a lack of proper documentation.

TECHNICAL BEST PRACTICES FOR AGILE COMPANIES  

Scrum is the fundamental procedure for team collaboration, planning, and delivery; nevertheless, it does not address technical best practices, organisational standards, or building and driving agile cultures.

Today, many technical best practices include the definition of the software development lifecycle (SDLC) and implementing DevOps procedures.

The SDLC outlines best practices for writing code, maintaining software assets, and developing technical standards.

DevOps automation such as CI/CD, Infrastructure as Code (IaC), and continuous testing allow for a more dependable path to production.

Other methods, such as shift-left security practices, observable microservices, feature flagging, canary releases, and AIOps, offer a more adaptable and dependable delivery methodology.

CONCLUSION  

Often, the Agile methodology is misunderstood as a solitary practice. Nonetheless, this investigation has not discussed hundreds of approaches and techniques.

Agile teams have been shown to boost profitability by 37 per cent and produce 30 per cent more revenue than non-Agile organizations, regardless of the specific methodology and practices they employ.

In addition, many firms are adopting Agile due to the increased speed, adaptability, and productivity gained through these methods.

The extremely fast-paced nature of the software engineering industry necessitates adaptability and responsiveness in all aspects of project development.

Agile approaches permit the delivery of cutting-edge goods and the cultivation of novel user experiences while keeping the product in sync with market trends and customer needs.

However, variety has a permanent position in society. Therefore, depending on the needs and objectives of your firm, you may still profit from employing the Waterfall approach or a hybrid of the two.

author

Wazobia Technologies

Content Writer

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