What is Agile Methodology? How it works, best practices.

03 Jun, 2021

Today Agile is one of the Buzzwords in the software industry. Agile methodology has taken the software industry by storm over the past few years. Gartner Survey finds 85% of organizations practice agile methods to facilitate the development process. Let’s see what agile methodology is!

What is Agile Methodology?

Agile methodologies are approaches to product development aligned with the values and principles described in the Agile Manifesto for software development.

It’s a process of planning, designing, conveying, and testing the quality of software at the most minimal expense and in the fleeting conceivable time. The process is based on iterative development — particularly enabling teams to deliver faster with a more extraordinary ability to respond to change.

It is a result-oriented and people-focused approach for software development to meet the modern world’s needs and demands. Short-delivery terms, self-organization, and adaptive planning are the heart of agile methodology.

Agile Manifesto: Core Values and Principles

The Agile Manifesto is the guiding document that provides core values and principles to be followed for software development. It was set up in 2001. It is a declaration of 4 core values and 12 principles that serve as a guide for people in agile software development.

Source: Lynnecazaly

Four Core Values:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools: It emphasizes teamwork and communication. Tools are essential, but making great digital products depends much more on teamwork, regardless of the tools.
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation: Documentation can be a good reference for users and co-workers alike. But the primary goal of the software development process is to build software that delivers business benefits than extreme documentation.
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation: While working closely, development teams must also communicate proactively with clients frequently. For better product development, teams must listen and get timely feedback from clients to understand all stakeholder’s requirements.
  4. Responding to change over following a plan: In the software development process, changes are imminent. Hence, the approach must be flexible enough to accommodate changes at any stage of development as the situation demands.

Twelve Principles:

Following are the 12 principles mentioned in the Agile manifesto on which different agile methods or frameworks are based.

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. The team should reflect on becoming more effective at regular intervals, then tune and adjust its behavior accordingly.

Applications of Agile

The core application of Agile is empowering product owners to be more responsive to the market and the customers as Agile methods allow them to respond quickly to customer’s needs and expectations. This makes product owners able to pivot product strategy on time as the situation demands. Agile methods are helpful to maximize the delivery of value to the customers and minimize the risks of building products that do not – or no longer – meet market or customer needs.

The most crucial application of Agile methods is it reduces delivery times (delivering early, delivering often). It ensures that smaller vertical chunks of the product or minimum viable product (MVP) gets to the market sooner, enabling customers to provide feedback early. And ensure that the product they finally get meets their needs.

How Agile model works?

‘Agile methods of development’ works by first admitting that the old “waterfall” method of software development leaves much to desire. Waterfall methods have many shortcomings in a business environment where digital product experiences and expectations are frequently changing—agile works by walking the fine line between too much process and not enough.

Unlike the Waterfall model, in the Agile method, the design & development process is iterative, and the project is executed in short (2-4) weeks iterations. Planning and documentation are significantly less. Every iteration has its own testing phase. Testers and developers work together, and it allows implementing regression testing every time new functions or logic are released. Most importantly, the customer has early and frequent opportunities to look at the product, make decisions and changes to the project.

What are the different Agile frameworks?

Agile is an umbrella term for several frameworks and practices. The most popular and common examples are:

  1. Scrum
  2. Lean Software Development (LSD)
  3. Kanban
  4. eXtreme Programming (XP)
  5. Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)
  6. Feature Driven Development (FDD)

Software development organizations and teams generally practice one or two methods. Among these, Scrum is the most widely used methodology, which dovetails nicely. Let’s look into these popular methodologies in brief:

1. Scrum

Scrum framework is one of the most used methods created inside the 1990s by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.

Like an assembly-line approach, each group works on delivering “potentially shippable increments” of a product during progressive sprints, all typically enduring 1 to 4 weeks. Priorities are set up previously during a ‘product backlog,’ which may incorporate bug fixes, adding features, and so on.

2. Lean Software Development (LSD)

Tom and Mary Poppendieck acquainted with Lean software development. The Lean Software Development method is designed from the principles and practices of the Toyota Production System (TPS).

It was developed to address issues that affect manufacturing processes, like Muri (Overuse), Mura (irregularities), and Muda (waste).

Muri is to causes overburden, for example, excessive stress on the team and cycles. This is caused by Mura and other failures in the system, such as lack of training, unclear ways of working, and wrong tools. Mura is that the waste caused by unevenness or irregularity. Unrealistic demand leads to unevenness within the processes, which results in waste creation. Mura drives Muda. Muda is any activity or function that doesn’t add value. This can refer to a waste of time, resources, and money.

In the context of the digital product development process, the goal of lean development is to eliminate waste by asking users to pick only the truly valuable features of the system and then develop and deliver those in short batches. It emphasizes a quick go-to-market strategy through the concept of “failing quickly,” which allows user feedback as fast as possible and then reiterating.

3. Kanban

Kanban is a Japanese term for a signboard. It was also developed within the Toyota Production System or TPS. Agile has adopted the Kanban technique to reflect the throughput of a sprint or iteration. It grandstands the status of every client story within the sprint and helps measure the process duration and the throughput of the group.

Kanban boards also are utilized in most Agile software products, which are helpful for Agile distributed teams. It aims at helping teams visualize the tasks at hand and work on them without looking too far ahead, which causes them to overwhelm with a long list of tasks. When some in-hand task is finished, the next highest priority from the backlog is pulled into play.

4. eXtreme Programming (XP)

Kent Beck and Ward Cunningham, in the 1990s, created eXtreme Programming (XP) to answer to the significant expense of changing necessities and build up solid designing practices to improve software quality.

XP may be a software development-centric Agile method and focuses on implementing the simplest software practices. The aim of those practices is to make sure that customers receive what they need.

XP allows developers to reply to changing customer requirements at any point within the project lifecycle. In this process, the customer works closely with the team to define and prioritize user stories. Development and testing are done on an iteration-by-iteration basis with an endless feedback loop from the customer.

5. Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)

Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) was created during the 1990s to give more discipline to Rapid Application Development (RAD). The latest version of it is called Atern. It’s one of the earliest Agile methods and covers the whole project lifecycle.

This strategy is very detailed and guarantees the undertaking does what’s necessary to plan forthright before any activity begins. The Atern system fixes the timetable, cost, and quality while accomplishing possibility by fluctuating the highlights.

6. Feature Driven Development (FDD)

Feature Driven Development (FDD) is an iterative and incremental approach to software development developed in the 1990s by Jeff DeLuca and Peter Coad.

The team using the FDD method would first develop a prototype of the product and then build a list of features to be developed. Next, they would plan on how the product would be developed using an iterative and incremental approach.

It mainly focuses on developing one specific feature at a time that is most “useful in the eyes of the client.” If any feature takes more than two weeks to build, it will be needed to break down into smaller projects.

Conclusion

Agile Framework enhances & adds value to the organization’s product, for it continues to carry out release after every product discharge utilizing the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) guideline. This guarantees that every version can be utilized for tending to a specific business issue. At the same time, the additional items or subsequent cycles of the product add more features and address extra difficulties.

There are a variety of different models and development methodologies based on Agile principles. In recent years, a growing list of organizations credits the Agile methodology with its efficiency and success.

At MAXIMESS, we take advantage of Agile methodology to build modern software products for any domain regardless of startup, SMEs, or enterprise.

Are you ready to develop your product with an Agile Framework?

Get in touch with us to know more.

 

Written by Aaswad Waghmare

Product Growth Consultant

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