Agile software development methodology involves cross functional teams working simultaneously on various areas like planning, requirements analysis, design, coding, unit testing, and acceptance testing. Compressing these five sequences of the conventional software development methods, for one three-week cycle (iterations). At the end of each iteration a working product is available.
Scrum is the most popular way of introducing Agility due to its simplicity and flexibility. Scrum emphasizes empirical feedback; team self-management, and striving to build properly tested product increments within short iterations.
The benefit includes increased visibility of project goals and how to achieve them. This clear characteristic of agile projects, inevitably contributes toward the even more significant goal of delivering software on time.
Need for fast delivery
No immediate requirement
Testing is integrated throughout the lifecycle, enabling regular inspection of the working product as it develops. This allows the product owner to make necessary adjustments gives the product team early sight of any quality issues.
Agile development principles encourage ‘user/client’ active involvement throughout the product’s development process. This provides excellent visibility for key stakeholders, both the project’s progress and the product itself, which in turn helps to ensure that expectations are effectively managed.
Early identification and resolution of issues
Small incremental releases made visible to the product owner and product team through its development help to identify any issues early and make it easier to respond to change. The clear visibility in agile development helps to ensure that any necessary decisions can be taken at the earliest possible opportunity, while there’s still time to make a material difference to the outcome.
Accommodating change due to volatile requirements (Flexibility / Agility)
In agile development, change is accepted. Instead the timescale is fixed and requirements emerge and evolve as the product is developed. Of course for this to work, it’s imperative to have an actively involved stakeholder who understands this concept and makes the necessary trade-off decisions, trading existing scope for new.
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Iterative releases, Communication, continuous integration
The active involvement of a user representative/product owner, the high visibility of the product and progress, and the flexibility to change when change is needed, creates better business engagement and customer satisfaction. This is an important benefit that can create much more positive and enduring working relationships.
Above all other points, the ability for agile development requirements to emerge and evolve, and the ability to embrace change, the team builds the right product. It’s too common in more traditional projects to deliver a “successful” project and find that the product is not what was expected, needed or hoped for. In agile development, the emphasis is absolutely on building the right product.
The active involvement, cooperation and collaboration make agile development teams a much more enjoyable place for most people. Instead of big specs, we discuss requirements in workshops. Instead of lengthy status reports, team collaborates around a task-board discussing progress. Instead of long project plans and change management committees, there are discussions on what’s right for the product and project and the team is empowered to make decisions. In my experience this makes it a much more rewarding approach for everyone. In turn this helps to create highly motivated, high-performance teams that are highly cooperative.
An Agile approach provides a unique opportunity for clients to be involved throughout the project, from prioritizing features to iteration planning and review sessions to frequent software builds containing new features. However, this also requires clients to understand that they are seeing a work in progress in exchange for this added benefit of transparency.
Early and Predictable Delivery
By using time-boxed, fixed schedule Sprints of 1-4 weeks, new features are delivered quickly and frequently, with a high level of predictability. This also provides the opportunity to release or beta test the software earlier than planned if there is sufficient business value.
Predictable Costs and Schedule
Because each Sprint is a fixed duration, the cost is predictable and limited to the amount of work that can be performed by the team in the fixed-schedule time box. Combined with the estimates provided to the client prior to each Sprint, the client can more readily understand the approximate cost of each feature, which improves decision making about the priority of features and the need for additional iterations.