Agile is a collection of frameworks like Scrum, Feature-driven development, extreme programming, etc. that supports incremental development of the project during its lifecycle. It focuses on delivering the products in short increments. This is done in close collaboration with the development team and the stakeholders. The projects are broken down into various parts known as user stories. These user stories define the functionality based on which the developers can prioritize their work and deliver the product on time. As this development is done iteratively, additional functionalities depending on the stakeholder requirement can be added.
Agile is a mindset based on the various values and principles present in the Agile Manifesto. The Agile Manifesto was formed by a group of seventeen software developers in the year 2001 to address the problems faced by the software developers faced. The 4 values and 12 principles help them in understanding how to design and respond to change and also how to deal with doubt.
Organizations that concentrate only on the methods and the routines encounter challenges while working in an Agile manner. Agile is the best-fit when:
- The scope and time of the projects cannot be estimated.
- The development of the product must be done through trial and error as the exact requirements are not known.
- When the customer has no specific time limit and the fully working software need not be delivered at once.
Whereas, organizations that live up to the Agile Manifesto’s values and principles understand the advantages and see that managing in an Agile manner is not new and unusual. Rather, it is the way they work. Organizations tend to adopt agile methodologies these days and professionals with agile certification are in high-demand. This incremental way of delivering the product has many benefits because it allows teams to make new products faster, gather feedback from the customer feedback and easily test new features.
Benefits of Agile approach:
- The documentation time is less which in turn saves a lot of time and money.
- Rapid and continuous delivery of the products drives customer satisfaction.
- The close interaction between the customers, developers, and testers leads to a focus on the people than the focus on tools and processes.
- Issues can be resolved in advance as the daily meetings provide a platform for discussions which enable the developers to work on the product accordingly.
- The end product is delivered within weeks.
- The communication among the customers, developers and the testers is face-to-face which enhances the conversation.
- Technical perfection and great design are given more importance.
- Adapting to changes is easier.
- As the process of developing the software product is iterative, changes at any stage of the development can be made.
- The feedback provided during each iteration improves team spirit.
Many organizations have gained success with the help of Agile whereas there are few which have faced the difficulties too.
Pitfalls of An Agile Approach:
- Documentation might get distracted, which makes it difficult for new members to understand and work accordingly with the team.
- It is more challenging to measure the progress of a product in Agile than traditional method as the progress occurs across many iterations.
- Agile requires more energy and time as there must be constant interaction between the customers and developers.
- Projects might become endless.
- Customers who operate on a particularized schedule or budget do not know the actual cost of the project which might lead to
- The amount of unplanned work increases if additional functionalities are added.
- It is hard to estimate the effort needed to develop larger projects at the starting of the software development life cycle.
- Experienced resources are required.
- The repeated edits of the product reduce the efficiency and the possibility for scope creep arises.
- The developers can only work on the designated part of the project.
As we can see, the Agile approach is not for every organization. It is the best fit for small or medium-sized organizations with fewer people which makes it easier to decide and respond to change. The performance if any project mainly depends on using the methodology which suits the project. The agile approach is not always the best fit for projects. This is when the customer wants to work with a firm budget or on a strict schedule. Hence, an organization can always choose alternative methodologies for the delivery of efficient products.
I am Maria Thomas, Content Marketing Manager and Product Specialist at GreyCampus with eight years rich experience on professional certification courses like PMI– Project Management Professional, PMI-ACP, Prince2, ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), Big Data, Cloud and Six Sigma.