Agile Software Development, what it is and why it is worthwhile
With any software development, it requires structure for the results to be the best they could be. In the past, there have been several approaches developed to add structure to the software development workflow, one of these methodologies is ‘Agile development’.
What is Agile Software Development?
Agile software development is about collaboration. It is an iterative approach, where software development teams work in small but consumable increments. Given the constantly evolving functional and technical landscape, agile development focuses on the delivery of individual pieces of software instead of the entire application – offering a framework that will help teams deliver applications while providing the best business value.
With agile development methodologies, everyone is involved in the business process, including the business and operational stakeholders. This collaboration and communication ensure that everyone is involved in the development process to ensure the project is carried out promptly and effectively.
Lean product design methodology also compliments the agile development process. Research with users provides the product owner with data to support the product vision. Interaction designers create many possible solutions before the best product designs are selected for development. This research forms the basis of the project and can provide a guide and a roadmap for software development.
Why an agile approach, is it worth it?
Compared to something like a ‘Waterfall’ approach, once a business decides to use agile software development, it helps them gain a competitive advantage in several ways.
The agile approach has a built-in ability to accommodate change, handle complexities that may arise and focus on team collaboration and capabilities. Instilled in the process is collaboration, valuing individual interactions, allowing tech and commercial experts to work closely together to get the best results.
For every agile software project, all aspects of development are related to the business goals. It focuses on having clearly defined themes, goals and metrics to ensure the notion of shared understanding across the teams. Agreements on priorities, timescales and processes are all agreed upon before starting – this makes sure everyone working on the project will be on the same page.
Each project is divided into smaller manageable sprints, and each team member can see how their contribution or tasks feed back into the overall goal. Sprints allow flexibility in the process, as teams can respond to changes such as market trends or feedback from clients and make quick adjustments without derailing months of work.
The sprints also provide more opportunities for testing, giving a continuous feedback loop from involved departments and clients and resolving issues rapidly before the software application goes live. This process works well when businesses are adding additional functionality to existing software applications.
One of the internal benefits is employee’s morale, as agile teams are self-organised and managing. They have autonomy over the project and can collectively decide how to approach the tasks at hand. Team sizes are limited to 5 to 7 members, so agile cultivates an environment where teams are close-knit and flexible. The retrospective nature of the process means teams can regularly check their progress for any areas of improvement and working together to resolve any issues. Ultimately if employees are happy, then it will have a positive impact on productivity.
The agile approach is not just for software development - it is a flexible and scalable approach that can be used for different departments and businesses of all sizes.
Watch our on-demand 'Agile Product Management' webinar to find how agile software development methodology can be utilised for your business or contact us to find out how Zoosh can help with your software project.