Agile is an iterative approach to software development and project management. This methodology allows teams to deliver value to customers in a more agile and effective way, and to improve the quality of deliverables. Its strengths lie in the way it works. Teams are multifunctional and self-organized and collaborate in a dynamic of small steps, where plans and results are constantly evaluated. This new way of approaching projects allows greater adaptability to changes and a better response to problems.
This methodology is based on 4 values and 12 principles, detailed in what is called the Agile Manifesto, a guide that stipulates the do’s and don’ts of software development.
The 4 values
- Individuals and Interactions Over Processes and Tools
- Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation
- Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation
- Responding to Change Over Following a Plan
The 12 principles.
#1 Satisfy Customers Through Early & Continuous Delivery
#2 Welcome Changing Requirements Even Late in the Project
#3 Deliver Value Frequently
#4 Collaboration between the business stakeholders and developers 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 Effective Way of Communication is Face-to-face
#7 Working software is the primary measure of progress.
#8 Maintain a Sustainable Working Pace
#9 Attention to technical detail and design enhances agility
#10 Simplicity-the art of maximizing the amount of work not done- is essential.
#11 Self-organizing teams encourage great architecture, requirements, and designs
#12 Regularly Reflect and Adjust Your Way of Work to Boost Effectiveness
The main reason why organizations choose Agile is because of the quick response capacity to changes requested by the customer or because the market or the situation warrants it. But adopting agile is not only a change of processes, it is a change in the organizational culture, the key in this methodology is people and the collaboration between them. Teamwork and customer work are fundamental pillars, accompanied by shared values and a clear vision of expectations in terms of quality, speed, and the definition of “successful delivery”.
There are several types of agile methodologies created from their values and principles. If they have something in common is the approach to adaptability and constant improvement during the project´s development. The main characteristic of these models is the formation of collaborative teams and their communication flow, they are small, self-organized, and aligned with each other with a joint vision.
The most common ones are:
- Agile Scrum development methodology
- Lean Software Development
- Extreme Programming (XP)
- Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)
What are some of the benefits of the agile development methodology?
Better quality product
By having a dynamic of constant evaluation in all phases of the projects, together with customer active participation in the development process, the teams learn and improve continuously, thus achieving a better quality of the final product.
Customers are involved at all stages: early deliveries, development, and detail correction. The combination of transparency and involvement throughout the project leads to higher customer satisfaction.
Because the models are iterative and incremental, changes at each step of the project are easier to make and teams can adapt better and faster. This dynamic gives them greater flexibility, by dividing projects into small steps it is easier to implement changes and give constant feedback.
Transparency and control
Two aspects of this methodology that feed each other. Throughout the entire development process, there is a constant exchange between the client and the team, every small or large advance is reported by the latter and can be evaluated by the client, thus generating transparency that enriches the final result of the product. The members of the development team, in addition to receiving the client’s opinions and requirements, can offer suggestions, recommend changes or improvements and give constant feedback. Working in such a close way allows clients to have more control over their projects, which usually results in greater satisfaction at the end of the project.
Continuous improvement and risk prediction
Continuous improvement is one of the principles of these methodologies. Working with iterative methods and constant feedback, hand in hand with frequent testing, allows teams to continuously improve both the processes within the project and the operational part of their way of working.
The combination of iterative dynamics and clarity in the visibility of the progress of the projects, favors the prediction of risks and the elaboration of plans to mitigate them.