The Agile methodology has recently risen in popularity. Although many still stick to traditionally structured project development processes, a lot of managers find the Agile environment interesting. Even more people are getting encouraged to try it.
Aside from being an adaptable and less rigid approach, Agile also seems to boast a wealth of benefits—especially for teams operating within the digital landscape.
That being said, we’ve decided to cover five features of the Agile software development approach, and how they can boost your development team’s performance overall.
Why Use the Agile Methodology?
One of the most problematic aspects of structured software development (like the classic waterfall method) is its linear nature. It follows the development process step-by-step, and each step is dependent on the completion of the last.
There’s no denying the reliability of these methods. However, there is also no denying that their rigidity is their fundamental flaw. It’s great for getting things done via checkpoints, but in terms of adaptability?
It’s just not efficient.
The Agile software development method is a lot more flexible and forgiving. Rather than planning the entire project from start to finish, the agile method allows continuous construction.
This means that the development plan is just as much an on-going process as the actual software development.
It’s a much more dynamic approach that allows for changes and adjustments need to be done. And, it does so without compromising project completion. It’s also efficient, capable of yielding quick, viable results at a moment’s notice.
Such a feat is often favored in fast-paced industries such as technology, innovation, and development.
The Agile Methodology Benefits
Improved Collaborative Efforts
Teams that use the Agile methodology are usually comprised of several professionals working full-time and close-at-hand. Each member is an expert in his or her field. They are representatives of functional areas needed in the software development process.
But regardless of their existing expertise, Agile project management requires every member of the team to familiarize themselves with concepts from the other fields. So, an analyst working under the Agile methodology would understand some basics of software design, and a designer under the same development method would know common programming terms.
Because of this multi-disciplined approach, everyone is capable of helping everyone else. As a result, every member is equally accountable, culpable, and—in the event of a victory—successful.
Adaptability & Flexibility
As mentioned earlier, Agile project management is much more flexible than traditional software development methods. This allows the team to discuss changes in priorities or trade-offs during development with ease and modify the software as needed.
In turn, this flexibility makes for a more responsive development process where last-minute requirements can be submitted, considered, and implemented immediately. Agile shines in industries with sustainable and flexible work conditions that call for consistent quality.
Consistent Quality Assurance & Predictability
Although it’s not as structured as the waterfall methodology or other similar software development approaches, the Agile method is surprisingly predictable.
Because it calls for so many professionals to work together in close proximity, communication and coordination efforts are greatly improved. You have field experts from different functional areas collaborating on one project. This creates a dependable quality assurance system that is as predictable as it is reliable. Every member is held accountable for every aspect of the software development process. As such, they are constantly double-checking their work as a team, scrutinizing different stages, and working together to improve the overall outcome.
Consistent, High-Quality Results
This is directly in-line with the previous point. Since many professionals are working together to reach a common goal, there’s no shortage of expertise on the project. Each team member can draw on the knowledge and experience of their peers. The shared familiarity they have with each other’s fields also puts them in a unique position to provide perspective in the face of roadblocks or errors.
Related Content: The Agile Methodology: Understanding the Role Each Team Member Plays
This allows them to cover most or all possible solutions and find the one that works best for their situation.
Because the Agile software development method encourages experts to work in close proximity and use the same language, there is minimal opportunity for lapses in judgment. This minimizes—if not flat-out eliminates—the number of sub-par elements in the output.
By freely contributing their knowledge regarding every aspect of the project, the team can collectively create the smartest, most suitable solutions. This level of communication, coupled with the intrinsic features of the Agile method, helps eradicate potential flaws in the software. This, in turn, consequently produces high-quality results.
Better Time Efficiency
We’ve mentioned several times that project development teams using the Agile method tend to coordinate closely. This means that everyone can freely communicate with each other at every stage of the project development process. Aside from improving product analysis and assessment, this overall accountability and open communication help speed up the development process.
Other methodologies are restricted to single designated point persons per development stage. This restrictive approach gets in the way of efficiency and productivity due to the lack of shared accountability. Only a handful of people have the answers, act when an issue arises, and arrive at a decent conclusion.
In an Agile environment, there’s no such restriction. Everything is open to discussion, everyone can give and receive input, and anyone can ask—and answer—questions. This flexible, adaptable approach means that things like clarifications, change requests, and propositions can be raised and addressed immediately. Minimal time is spent waiting, and more are focused on producing results. Agile software development, though not as structured, is definitely more efficient.
More and more businesses are subscribing to the Agile methodology due to its numerous benefits, chief among them is productivity. The intrinsic flexibility of this software development process makes it a much more appealing option for many. Its dynamic, interactive, and highly-responsive nature makes it the best choice for managers operating in a fast-paced environment that demands quality yield within a tight turnaround.