In the era of tech innovation, many organizations are migrating to the digital workplace. During this transition, the agile methodology in the software development life cycle perfectly works for companies that are looking forward to change their way of project management and operation as a whole.
Let’s take a closer look at the agile software development life cycle method and how it can benefit your project.
Defining the Agile Model
Agile is a software development life cycle method that focuses on what really matters. Instead of wasting hours or days to come up with a detailed plan that may or may not be suitable for the project’s execution, agile teams can start right away with a small portion of work. A progress assessment will be followed before gathering enough feedback to determine if they are on the right path.
The agile methodology is based on giving the highest priority to customer participation from the very first step of the software development life cycle. The main goal is to keep the client involved throughout the process until they come up with have a product that satisfies their needs and expectations. By adhering to this method, the client saves time and money because they get to test and approve the product at every stage of development.
In case there are obstacles or defects along the way, changes can be made right away, which makes agile an ideal model for many teams in different industries.
When to Use Agile
In any kind of project, the quality of execution mostly relies on selecting the most suitable methodology. There are cases when agile is the best option—but not always. Here are the following scenarios where the agile model may be applied:
- the customer needs to launch the product and commercialize it immediately
- the final product function is not yet completed
- there is no limit to the timing and budget, or estimation of timing and budget is impossible
- the team can work even with new challenges and function independently
- the client is willing to communicate with the development team on a regular basis
- any changes will be made throughout the development process
On the other hand, if a client does not want to work on a rigid schedule and tight budget, this approach may not be applicable. The agile approach may also not be the best option if the client cannot change the project’s content and size once the development team begins working on it.
Benefits of Adopting the Agile Method
1. Increase in Software Quality
Agile breaks down the project into multiple, manageable units. Doing this enables the team to focus on high-quality development, collaboration, and testing. During iterations, frequent builds, testing and reviews are conducted. All of these help in improving quality by identifying and solving defects right away, as well as catching expectation mismatches at the earliest stage of development.
2. Opportunity for Changes
When working on an agile method, the team needs to remain focused on producing an agreed-to subset of the software’s features in every iteration. This gives teams the chance to refine and reprioritize the complete product backlog continuously. New or changed items in the backlog can be planned for the succeeding iteration, allowing developers to make changes within a specific timeframe.
3. Progress Transparency
With an agile approach, clients have the unique opportunity to have a high level of involvement throughout the project. They are given a part in the process, from prioritizing functionalities, planning iterations, review sessions, to frequent software builds that include additional features. It’s worth noting, however, that this benefit requires clients to understand that they should manage their expectations since they are still dealing with a work in progress.
4. Predictable Schedule and Costs
Each sprint in an agile process is a fixed duration. This means the cost is predictable and limited to the amount of work that can be executed by the team within a fixed time schedule. As presented with the estimates provided in each sprint, the client can readily understand the average cost of each feature. This important step does not only improve the decision-making about the prioritized features but also the need for more iterations.
5. Early Delivery Through Sprints
Sprints, on average, last about one to four weeks. Using this schedule allows teams to deliver new features quickly and more frequently with a high level of predictability. This also gives them a chance to execute a release or do beta testing on the software earlier than planned as long as there’s sufficient business value.
6. Engagement with Stakeholders
The agile method offers several opportunities for team and stakeholder engagement before, during, and after every sprint. Since clients are involved in all aspects of the development, there is a much higher degree of collaboration between the project team and the client. This opens more opportunities for the team to have a deeper understanding of how the client envisions the final product.
Through early and frequent working software production, teams will more likely get trusted by the stakeholders on their ability to come up with high-quality working software. It also encourages them to be more engaged in development.
7. Priority on Business Value
Because the client is free to identify the priority of features, the team can determine the most important thing to the client’s business. Therefore, they can deliver features that produce the most business value.
8. User-Focused Process
Agile focuses on providing the real needs of users. Because of this, each feature gives increment value instead of being a mere IT component. Moreover, it presents an opportunity to beta test software after every sprint, enabling teams to gain valuable feedback early in the project and offering the ability to implement changes as necessary.
Software Development Life Cycle: Why Go Agile
There’s no doubt about it: agile is a powerful and efficient method for software development. It does not simply offer benefits to the development team but also has business advantages to the client.
With the agile software development life cycle model, teams can easily handle many of the typical project pitfalls involving costs, scope, and conflicting schedules in a more controlled way.
By organizing and reinventing activities related to custom software development, agile achieves its many objectives in a leaner, more efficient, and more business-focused manner.