The Agile Method and methodology is a particular approach to project management utilized in software development. This method assists teams in responding to the unpredictability of constructing software. It uses incremental, iterative work sequences that are commonly known as sprints.
Agile Process and Method Overview
Each of our web design teams utilizes portions of the Agile and Scrum methodology within our projects. Below you will find an overview of the Agile process and a simple definition of the Agile methodology for beginners starting in software design and website development or those who may want to integrate the methodology into their enterprise SEO strategy or web design process.
List of widely-used Agile methodologies:
- Agile Scrum Methodology
- Lean Software Development
- Extreme Programming (XP)
- Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)
- Feature Driven Development (FDD)
The Agile Method Defined
A sprint is a period allocated for a particular phase of a project. Sprints are considered to be complete when the period expires. There may be disagreements among the team members as to whether or not the development is satisfactory; however, there will be no more work on that particular phase of the project. The remaining steps of the project will continue to develop within their respective time frames.
The General Principles of the Agile Method
- Satisfy the client and continually develop software.
- Changing requirements are embraced for the client’s competitive advantage.
- Concentrate on delivering working software frequently. Delivery preference will be placed on the shortest possible period.
- Developers and business people must work together throughout the entire project.
- Projects must be based on motivated people. Please give them the proper environment and the support that they need. They should be trusted to get their jobs done.
- Face-to-face communication is the best way to transfer information to and from a team.
- Working software is the primary measure of progress.
- Agile processes will promote sustainable development. Therefore, sponsors, developers, and users should maintain an indefinite, constant pace.
- Constant attention to technical excellence and good design will enhance agility.
- Simplicity is considered the art of maximizing the work that is not done, and it is essential.
- Self-organized teams usually create the best designs.
- At regular intervals, the team will reflect on becoming more effective, and they will tune and adjust their behavior accordingly.
History of Agile Method
Many of the Agile ideas surfaced in the 1970s. Studies and reviews were conducted on the Agile Method that explains its emergence as a reaction against traditional approaches to project development.
In 1970, Dr. William Royce published a paper that discussed the managing and developing of large software systems. The document outlined his specific ideas about sequential development. His presentation stated that a project could be developed much like a product on an assembly line. Each phase of the development had to be complete before the next phase could begin—the idea required that all developers must first put together all of the requirements of a project. The next step was to complete all of its architecture and designs. This is followed by writing the code. The sequences continue in increments. As these steps are completed, there is little or no contact between specialized groups that complete each project phase.
Pioneers of the Agile Method believed that if developers studied the process, they would find it the most logical and helpful solution to software development.
Companies that Use the Agile Method
Although there is no official list of companies that use the Agile Method for their projects, IBM is one of the companies that openly uses this method to develop software. Many companies will adopt this method within their development structure, but they aren’t always open about using it.
According to IBM, the use of the Agile Method means that significant organizational changes will take place. They believe that many Agile software development teams will increase their chances of success by partnering with a trusted guide. They help clients implement their own Agile software development strategies for their projects. They provide critical guidance to help Agile software development teams avoid common adoption, expansion, and implementation pitfalls.
Benefits of Using the Agile Method
The Agile Method grew out of the experience with the real-life projects of leading software professionals from the past. Because of this, the challenges and limitations of traditional development have been discarded. Subsequently, the industry has accepted the Agile Method is a better solution to project development. As a result, nearly every software developer has used the Agile Method in some form.
This method offers a light framework for assisting teams. It helps them function and maintains focus on rapid delivery. This focus assists capable organizations in reducing the overall risks associated with software development.
The Agile Method ensures that value is optimized throughout the development process. The use of iterative planning and feedback results in teams that can continuously align a delivered product that reflects the desired needs of a client. It easily adapts to changing requirements throughout the process by measuring and evaluating the status of a project. The measuring and considering allow accurate and early visibility into the progress of each project.
It could be stated that the Agile Method helps companies build the right product. Instead of market software before it is written, the Agile Method empowers teams to optimize the release during its development. This allows the product to be as competitive as possible within the marketplace. It preserves the relevance of the critical market, and it ensures that a team’s work doesn’t wind up collecting dust on a shelf. This is why the Agile Method is an attractive developmental option for stakeholders and developers alike.
The Agile Method has many critics; however, this method produces results that clients can take to the bank. Although a project may not turn out exactly as the client envisions, it will be delivered when it needs to be produced. Throughout the process, the client and the team are changing the requirements to produce the quality required by the client. Clients are happy with the results, and the team satisfies the client’s needs. The ongoing change can sometimes give both the client and the team more than they had initially envisioned for the product. The Agile Method is a winning solution for everyone involved in software development.
Criticism of Agile Development
- It is developer-centric rather than user-centric.
- Agile focuses on getting requirements and developing code and does not focus on product design.
- Agile methodologies can also be inefficient in large organizations and specific projects.
Difference Between Agile and Traditional (Waterfall or Spiral) Development
Traditional: Systems are fully specifiable, predictable, and built through meticulous and extensive planning.
Agile: High-quality, adaptive software can be developed by small teams using the principles of continuous design improvement and testing based on rapid feedback and change.
Traditional: Individual—favors specialization
Agile: Self-organizing teams—encourages role interchangeability
Traditional: Guided by tasks or activities
Agile: Guided by product features
Traditional: Life cycle model (Waterfall, Spiral, or some variation)
Agile: The evolutionary-delivery model
Desired Organizational Form/Structure
Traditional: No restriction
Agile: Favors object-oriented technology
Glossary: What is Meant by Agile Methodologies
Acceptance Test: An acceptance test confirms that a story is complete by matching a user action scenario with the desired outcome. Acceptance testing is also called beta testing, application testing, and end-user testing.
Customer: A customer is a person with an understanding of both the business needs and operational constraints for a project which guides development.
Domain Model: The domain model is the application domain responsible for creating a shared language between business and IT.
Iteration: An iteration is a single development cycle, usually one week or two weeks.
Planning Board: A planning board is used to track the progress of an agile development project. After iteration planning, stories are written on cards and pinned up on a planning board priority order.
Planning Game: A planning game is a meeting attended by both IT and business teams focused on choosing stories for a release or iteration.
Release: A release is a deployable software package that is a culmination of several development iterations.
Release Plan: An evolving flowchart that describes which features will be delivered in upcoming releases.
Spike: A spike is a story that cannot be estimated until a development team runs a time-boxed investigation.
Stand-up: This is a daily progress meeting; literally, everyone stands up and meets to keep engaged and motivated. A stand-up is traditionally held within a development area.
Story: A particular business needs to be assigned to the software development team. Stories must be broken down into small enough components to be delivered in a single development iteration.
Time-box: A time-box is a defined period during which a task must be accomplished.
Velocity: The velocity is the budget of story units available for planning the next iteration of a development project. Velocity is based on measurements taken during previous iteration cycles.
Wiki: A wiki is a server program that allows users to collaborate in forming the content of a Web site.