Agile Software Development
A Comprehensive Guide to Agile Software Development
As a software developer, you have days where your hands fly across the keyboard creating new features at a maddening pace—you wonder how it is that they pay you to do something so easy! Then there are those days where you wonder if Dunkin Donuts is hiring because, clearly, you are not cut out to be a software developer when you can’t follow the simplest of directions!
Sometimes stuff just does not work. But no worries–it’s not you! It’s not because you’re inexperienced or unintelligent or don’t have talent–it’s the dark side of coding.
The most common software developer positions entail writing front end, back end, or mobile code—for detail pages, dashboards, displaying lists, forms, and admin panels. There is a myriad of great libraries and frameworks to help you to do this.
This comprehensive guide discusses the most common questions about Agile Software Development, its principles, its advantages and disadvantages, and how it compares to Scrum, DevOps, Kanban, and Waterfall through a series of Q&As.
What does Agile mean in software development?
In software development, Agile is a framework and practice that refers to software development methodologies based on iterative development. Through collaboration, self-organizing cross-functional teams develop the requirements and solutions of a project found in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development.
The most significant aspect of Agile that separates it from other approaches to software development is its focus on the programmers and how they collaborate to achieve solutions. Although cross-functional, by utilizing their respective practices for their contexts, team members have the agility and flexibility to determine their approaches to solutions ahead of any testing.
What are the 12 Principles of Agile?
1) Satisfying customer through timely delivery of valuable software is our highest priority
2) Agile processes focus on welcoming changing requirements, regardless of when they are received during the process; harnessing these changes helps customers keep a competitive advantage.
3) With a preference for shorter timescales, deliver working software frequently—from a couple of weeks to a couple of months,
4) Developers and businesspeople must collaborate and work closely daily for the duration of the project.
5) Give motivated individuals the support and environment they need and trust them to build your projects.
6) Face-to-face conversations are absolute—they are the most effective and efficient methods for conveying information within a development team.
7) An excellent measure of progress is working software.
8) Agile processes nurture sustainable development; developers, sponsors, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
9) Provide sustained attention to good design and technical excellence to enhance Agility.
10) Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
11) Self-organizing teams tend to produce the best requirements, designs, and architectures.
12) Periodically, the team needs to assess measures on becoming more effective and adjust its comportment accordingly.
How Agile is used in software development
As Agile Software Development grew in popularity, software development managers (and others) sought to apply Agile ideology in their line of work. With teams collaborating throughout the iterative process, the end-product was deemed more robust and functional due to the wealth of testing involved.
What is Agile and Why Agile?
Agile is a mindset as well as a framework. It can therefore be extended to such areas as Business Agility, for example. Executives may discuss how they might structure and operate their organizations in ways that allow them to respond to change when dealing with uncertainty.
In any case, where Agility is deployed, the entire organization needs to support that mindset. Agile software development only became a reality when organizations consciously changed their operations to function cohesively in uncertain environments.
Continuous change methods and mindsets deliver value to customers in this uncertain, customer-driven, and complex world. It enforces accountability and cultural change of all team members, setting aside command-and-control management styles.
Highlights of the Agile framework:
1) Ability and flexibility to change
2) Continuous communication
3) Continuous feedback cycle
4) Focus on quality and speed
5) Incremental and iterative
Which is better Agile or Scrum?
If your project can utilize the Agile approach, you may want to consider Scrum as the best Agile methodology. Projects that are likely to experience change do not have precise requirements and require frequent testing may benefit from Scrum methodology.
Disadvantages of Scrum
As with any framework, nothing is perfect—Scrum is no exception and has its disadvantages. However, if combined with other project management techniques, may mitigate some of these drawbacks :
- Due to the lack of a project end-date, Scrum may induce scope creep
- Large-team adoption of the Scrum framework is challenging
- Team members become frustrated with daily meetings
- Team members leaving during a project can have a significant negative impact on the project
- Uncommitted or uncooperative team members increase the chances of project failure
- Unless the team goes through an aggressive testing process, may compromise quality
What are the 4 values of Agile?
The Agile Manifesto states the four core values of Agile software development, as follows:
- Customer collaboration takes precedent over contract negotiation
- Individuals and interactions take precedent over processes and tools
- Responding to change takes precedent over following a plan
- Working software takes precedent over comprehensive documentation
What is an Agile example?
Adobe is seeking to develop a competing product to Microsoft Word that provides all the same features and other features as requested by the Adobe marketing team. The new product needs to be ready in 10 months.
This project is an ideal candidate for an Agile framework. By collaborating, analyzing, reviewing, and testing each step of this project within an Agile framework, the teams will achieve their goals within the specified timeframe.
Is Scrum easy to learn?
Simple to Understand, Challenging to Master
The framework is easy to understand. However, just like the game of chess, it is easy to learn the rules of the game. However, when you play against someone with experience, you quickly realize that you have no idea how to apply that knowledge. It would help if you practiced gaining the required skill set to play a good game—therefore, it is challenging to master.
The two foremost reasons Scrum is difficult to implement are:
- Scrum requires a lot of skill, training, and coaching
- Scrum roles are much broader than plan-driven frameworks
What are Waterfall and Agile?
What is Waterfall methodology?
Also known as the Liner Sequential Life Cycle Model, as the name suggests, the Waterfall model follows a specific sequential order. Development teams can only progress to the next phase if the previous phase has been completed.
Is Kanban an Agile?
As an Agile method, Kanban provides flexibility in task management and strives for enhanced workflow and continuous improvement. Additionally, Kanban ensures that the amount of required work matches the team’s work capabilities.
Is Scrum an Agile?
Scrum is a scaled agile technique that connects many teams who need to work together to deliver complex resolutions.
What are Agile skills?
Four of the most valuable Agile skills are:
- The innate ability to cut through unnecessary work,
- Focus only on essential work,
- Display sound judgment under pressure,
- Remain calm under pressure, and
- Possess strong motivation and coaching skills to guide and support teams.
What is Agile in simple terms?
Agile development is a framework that takes an incremental approach to every aspect of program development. Testing software features early and continuously is vital to product improvement. Testers attempt to get through as many tests as they can in an iteration; tests are prioritized, and automated testing helps clear any testing backlog.
Why is Agile used?
Agile methodology is now applied across many platforms and industries due to its comprehensiveness in final product outcomes. Team cohesiveness ensures that everyone is working towards the same goals, errors are detected and corrected sooner. The results meet or exceed the client’s needs, ensuring customer satisfaction and retention.
Is Kanban Agile or Waterfall?
As an Agile method, Kanban follows the same protocols as Agile, with the additional aspect of matching work required to the team’s capabilities.
In a traditional Waterfall model, the client does not see the final product until the project is complete; often, this is too late in the process to make any significant changes.
- Project teams spend 15% of their time gathering requirements/analysis
- 20% of their time on design
- 40% on coding and unit testing
- 20% on System and Integration testing
The project may also have an additional two weeks of User Acceptance testing by the client’s marketing teams.
Is DevOps an Agile methodology?
Agile test strategies are supported in DevOps by enabling teams to build, test, and release software faster and more reliably through improved collaboration between operation and development teams, as well as increased automation. One of the most evident differences between Agile and DevOps is the absence of operations in traditional Agile, which is an integral part of DevOps.
In DevOps environments, operations and developer teams work alongside throughout the entire process.
Why is Scrum Agile?
Scrum is considered an Agile project management framework; this framework incorporates roles, meetings, and tools that work together, helping teams structure and manage their work.
A sprint, just like in a foot race, is a short “jaunt”; the Scrum team works to complete a specific amount of work within a specific amount of time; sprints are critical to Scrum and Agile procedures.
Megan Cook, Group Product Manager for Jira Software at Atlassian, says it best: “With Scrum, a product is built in a series of iterations called sprints that break down big, complex projects into bite-sized pieces….Sprints make projects more manageable, allow teams to ship high-quality work faster and more frequently, and gives them more flexibility to adapt to change.”
Why Agile development is bad
Critical Disadvantages of Agile Methodology
Becoming aware of the disadvantages of Agile procedures is essential to its successful execution. If the disadvantages outweigh the benefits, keep in mind that there are alternative procedures for delivering products more efficiently.
A few disadvantages of Agile follow:
Poor resource planning
Agile presents some severe challenges in predicting certain efforts, i.e., time, cost, and resources required for the entire project at its beginning. As projects get bigger and more complex, this challenge becomes more pronounced.
- Limited documentation
Documentation In Agile occurs throughout a project, not the beginning, and often “just in time,” resulting in less detail.
- Fragmented delivery
The complete output often becomes very fragmented due to the incremental delivery used to bring products to market sooner—a significant disadvantage of Agile.
There is no clarity on what the “final product” will look like; Agile requires minimal planning. Instead, focusing on flexibility makes it easier to get distracted while delivering new, unexpected functionality. It can also mean that projects have no pre-determined end.
- Agile delivers in increments
- Tracking progress requires looking across cycles
- The “see-as-you-go” aspect obscures KPIs at the onset of the project
- Measuring progress can become difficult
Taking a leaner approach can help mitigate some of these disadvantages:
- Deliver value through a quality end-product vs. a working product
- Manage a transparent process for delivering that product
Why Agile model is best
- Agile enables development teams to release software on shorter cycles, improving product quality
- Errors can be found and fixed more quickly, reducing the risk of missing a deadline due to a last-minute problem
- Delivering regular releases is greatly appreciated by clients, improving retention rates.
You can better manage the scope of each release by prioritizing features for each iteration, allowing you to deliver the most important ones first.
When should you not use agile?
Agile is not for everyone.
In traditional software development (Waterfall), each software developer does their job and hands it over to the next job function. The previous job function signs off, validating completion before passing it on. Each job function is considered a “Phase.” Testing occurs at the end.
If your software development cycle functions better within this platform, Agile may not be the best choice for you.
In an Agile framework, there are no separate phases; all the work is done in a single phase, and each feature is completed in terms of design, code, development, testing and rework, before the feature is considered finished.
The objective is to identify issues and fix them quicker, thereby reducing costs. The testing team and development team function as one cohesive unit; software development and testing are performed concurrently as part of a sequence of activities, resulting in a higher quality product turnout.
For more information on the different frameworks and how your company can benefit from some of the best program developers, contact Sonatafy and talk to one of our experts today!
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