Faster development of software, increased revenue, and more releases–who wouldn’t want the benefits of the Agile methodology? Well, similar to any kind of method or tool, Agile has its unique pros and cons. And even though it’s used by big names like Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Google, it’s important for you to know what lies under the surface before you jump in headfirst, yourself.
In this article, we will discuss the core principles and values of Agile, its six stages for project management, and how it can benefit your organization.
Agile Methodology Overview
Agile is a methodology that follows the set of principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto. It is an iterative approach to software development and project management that enables teams to deliver results to their customers in less time and with fewer problems.
Rather than betting everything on one major launch at the end, Agile teams deliver work in smaller increments. Plans, requirements, and results are evaluated on a regular basis, which means teams will, naturally, have time and a way to respond to changes along the way.
Six Phases of the Agile Methodology
By learning the stages of the Agile methodology, you can determine whether this model will be suitable for the needs of your team.
The first step in an Agile process is to determine the project vision. The product owner usually performs this step, which clearly states what the project is, who will benefit from it, how it will support the business, and how it will benefit others.
During the second step, a project roadmap is created. Also the responsibility of the project owner, step two is necessary to ensure that the methodology will work.
Project requirements will be determined, along with an approximate timeframe for the product. Prioritization is one crucial part of this stage but everything should be considered a rough estimate so the team can easily adapt to the customer’s feedback.
The third step in the Agile process is creating a release plan that indicates a timeframe for every sprint. Sprints are defined as the iterative release of the service or product made by the team in an effort to get customer feedback. The release plan would then indicate how often the iteration is released to customers for feedback.
Next is the releasing stage. After going through quality assurance testing, documentation, and external and internal training, the iteration is finally released. Each sprint is planned and executed. Requirements are prioritized according to the original product roadmap and customer feedback.
After the software passes through all stages without any problems, it will undergo a maintenance phase where it will be updated from time to time to adapt to alterations.
The production step involves providing ongoing support once the software has been released. The team should be capable of keeping the system running smoothly and educate users on proper usage. This stage ends when support is no longer provided or when the product is planned for retirement.
In the retirement phase, the system is officially removed from production. This is usually done when a new system is meant to replace the old one, or when the system becomes obsolete, redundant, or no longer beneficial to your business model.
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Benefits of the Agile Model
According to the Agile Manifesto, genuine human interactions have more value than rigid processes. Teammate and customer collaboration is more essential than arrangements that have been predefined. Instead of prioritizing complicated documentation, the Agile model’s goal is to deliver a working solution to the customer’s problem right away.
An Agile team operates under one mission and tries to achieve it in the best way possible. Also, there are specific standards for each team when it comes to usability, completeness, and quality.
While this approach can seem intimidating at first, company leaders later realize that once they put all their trust in an Agile team, the team members feel a bigger sense of ownership. This motivates them to rise up and be equal to or even exceed the management’s standards and expectations.
Agile Vs. Traditional Methodologies for SDLC
Unlike traditional SDLC models that rely on a predictive approach, Agile is based on adaptive methods for software development. Predictive teams often start with a detailed plan and a complete forecast of features and tasks to be delivered throughout the product life cycle.
With predictive methods, teams solely rely on the planning and analysis conducted at the start of the cycle. Changes are required to go through strict control management before being implemented.
Agile, on the other hand, adheres to an approach in which no detailed planning is necessary. The clarity for future tasks is only in regards to what kind of features will have to be developed. Development is primarily feature-driven and the team adapts to changing product requirements in a dynamic manner. The product also undergoes frequent testing, reducing the risk of huge failures down the road.
Agile methodology hinges on customer interaction and open communication, so there is minimum documentation involved in the usual Agile environment. Teams work in close collaboration with each other, with most of them located in one geographical location.
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Many companies are choosing the Agile approach because it embraces the different changes that take place in the development of technology. Teams can freely break up lengthy requirements, create, and test each phase in smaller segments, resulting in faster and more frequent software delivery.
The key to a successful implementation of the Agile methodology is to ensure that your team is well-trained and has a clear understanding of the model’s basic principles. In any Agile project, continuous interaction is required among all stakeholders. Team members will have to regularly make decisions while also sharing their insights to further improve the product.
Naturally, Agile methodology will not work if there’s no proper project management. Because there are multiple teams contributing to a huge software project, a manager should be capable of providing proper coordination between everyone involved and seamlessly merging the results of their work to come up with a high-quality product.