Characteristics of Agile Software Development
Humans are imperfect. We know it, we accept it, and it’s part of what makes us human. Regardless of how careful we are, a few of these mistakes shall always remain in the product. What we need is a system that allows for mistakes – one that not only takes miscommunication and hiccups during a design process into account but one that actively incorporates such mistakes into the planning itself!
It takes a lot of time and effort just to figure out how to approach the development of an app, let alone the amount of actual work that goes into the whole process! That’s why one of the first things a developer considers before starting to work on an app is: which software development methodology is the best choice for this particular project?
There are many different methodologies for software development, and each has its pros and cons. Therefore, the selection depends on a variety of aspects like team size, project size, the goals of the project, or simply just the developers’ preference. One of the methodologies we, here at Redvike, find ourselves using often is the Agile Software Development Model.
Why do we keep coming back to it? The answer to that demands a small intro to Agile.
What does Agile stand for?
The term “agile” is defined in the English dictionary as “the ability to move quickly”, and – at its essence – it’s exactly what the agile software development methodology does! One of its core principles is an iterative approach to project development, which allows for a quick response to changes in the development process. What this means is that the project can easily adapt even to large modifications late in the project development stage, making the agile approach to software development extremely flexible and efficient.
The favorite methodology of software houses
Since its introduction, the agile software development methodology has become the industry norm, with a vast majority of organizations adopting this approach in their project management. Now that it’s become the golden standard, developers like to throw the term around, just to let you know that they’re in tune with the times. However, while the agile approach to software development works very well, it does so only when implemented properly. Here at Redvike, we learned the method by heart and we don’t need to brag about it. We just know how to deliver awesome products!
Advantages of Agile software development
As we already mentioned, the agile software development model uses an iterative approach of short development cycles, promoting continuous improvement of the project. Let’s check out some essential advantages of agile software development!
Significantly reduces lead time
For any company, and especially a startup, it’s very important to get the MVP up and running as soon as possible without compromising on the quality of the product. Shorter development times mean lower costs, and spending less money always makes customers super happy. Such results will definitely make the client want to work with you again!
Promotes good communication practices
As you may have noticed in our other blog posts, we are big on communication – we think it’s extremely important for there to be an open and transparent line between client and company, as well as between teams and team members. Communication is also one of the core principles of the agile software methodology!
When the clients are involved from the beginning to the end of the project – problems are eliminated sooner, changes can be implemented without too much hassle, and trust and customer satisfaction is guaranteed. On the other side, when inter-team communication is on point, efficiency is higher and allows developers much better control over the entire process.
Good communication is the key to all the other advantages and core principles of the agile software development philosophy! Whether it be faster time-to-market, higher chances of product success, higher productivity etc., practically everything can be traced back to a constant exchange of valuable information!
The repetitive short developmental cycles that are typical of the agile approach lend great flexibility and adaptability to the project. Product features can be changed and added even in later stages of development, which is naturally vital for the client. Customers want to know that they don’t need to compromise on their vision for their product! Using the agile methodology, team members can react swiftly to customer feedback and make the necessary changes without it becoming too time-consuming and expensive.
While Agile may be the current favorite for many software developers, we shouldn’t ignore other methodologies, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. Just because agile software development is great, it doesn’t mean that it’s the suitable choice for every project out there. Some of these other models are: Kanban, Waterfall, Lean Development, Scrum, Feature Driven Development, etc. How are they different from Agile, you ask?
Waterfall is the “traditional approach” to software development, the one used before the advent of Agile. The model takes a linear approach to project development, dividing the process into several distinct and subsequent stages or phases. A phase does not begin before the previous one is completed. While this kind of approach is much clearer in terms of project timeline and the team knows exactly how much has been done at any point in time, the rigidity does not allow for any (large) changes during the development. This is essential to many customers as well, as they can also track the timeline and make changes to their plans accordingly. Usually, the full scope of the project is defined with the customer in advance.
Kanban uses Agile development principles such as continuous improvement but implements them in a distinct way. The Kanban methodology adopts a visual representation of the task workflow through a so-called “Kanban board”, which is divided into 3 sections – “To Do”, “In Progress”, and “Done”. While this approach has proven effective in the detection and successful elimination of bottlenecks, Kanban lacks any structured framework which can lead to poorer productivity.
Agile is not everything
We clearly have a thing for Agile (maybe you can already tell by the glowing review that we have shared here!) and we use it on a lot of our projects. However, despite its popularity, it’s not the solution for all problems. Clients shouldn’t make the mistake of choosing a company solely based on whether or not they use Agile. If the project requires it, a good developer will know when to use it and when not!
Finally, while it may seem like Agile can work miracles, it won’t do much unless you have strong team communication practices and inter-team collaboration. This kind of approach to software development requires intense commitment and works best when team members are completely dedicated to the project.