Some of the principles of Agile Development have been around since the 1950’s. But it has only been in the last 15 years that true Agile Development has been used in software development. You may have heard of it and you may wonder: what is Agile Development?
Once a tool limited only to software development, other businesses have discovered what is Agile Development. They also saw how it can help them streamline processes and increase cooperation. Meanwhile, it is improving quality and profitability.
What Is Agile Development?
Agile Development represents a series of tools, techniques, and procedures to rapidly develop quality software. An incremental and iterative development ideology defines what is Agile Development. It focuses on development that is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Agile answers the question what to change and provides a methodological path to implement that change. Through iterative, simple, incremental changes, a complex system can be created. It’s an open standard that any business is free to use.
Agile is a term first coined by the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. This is a seminal programming manifesto co-published by 17 leaders in the programming community in 2001. What is Agile Development can also be summed up in 4 Values suggested by the Agile Manifesto:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
- Working software over comprehensive documentation;
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation;
- Responding to change over following a plan.
Who Uses Agile Development
Agile Development forms the backbone of many large and small software development projects. The biggest names in software utilize Agile Development techniques to:
- Improve software quality;
- Reduce development time;
- Get products to market faster.
Agile focuses on software development. But some businesses have found the tools useful outside of software development. In fact, all of the 12 Principles of Agile Development are applicable to any business that produces merchandise.
Businesses that use Agile Development find that they are better able to deal with a changing business environment and can more rapidly meet the needs of industry. Technology changes rapidly and it’s easy to miss the boat. Smart businesses know that they need to keep on top of changes and respond to market needs quickly. Agile helps ensure that they meet these market changes.
Ways in Which Agile Development Can Help Your Business
Agile Development can help your business in several ways, no matter what kind of industry you are in. While the examples given are primarily focused on software development, you can easily change the examples to fit your own line of business.
- Agile Development can streamline your processes. Agile can help you streamline your processes by getting rid of extra processes that are slowing your business production down.
- Incremental development ensures that your business is manufacturing a product that is continually improving and offering more features. But it is not creating so many bugs that you need to call an exterminator.
- Your business is able to get to the market faster than the competition. This is because you are not wasting time adding every feature under the sun, whether potential users actually need it or not.
- Agile increases the level of cooperation throughout your business. Software developers regularly communicate with management and the client representative. This is to ensure that everyone is on the same page and focuses on the same goals.
- Your developers know what you expect from them and know that they have a support team. With regular meetings, your developers can get help from other developers to overcome impediments and roadblocks in the project.
5 Practical Tips for Successful Agile Development
1. Focus on Quality
Good software begins with a focus on quality. All Agile principles focus on ensuring that they produce quality software. Methodical testing is a large part of this quality focus.
Methodical testing means testing software using established methods and procedures. This ensures that the software conforms to established quality standards.
2. Value Team Communications
In Agile Development, it’s important that good communication between team members is maintained at all times. Communication should happen with regular face to face interactions at meeting to discuss the progress and reiterate goals.
All client relations should pass through a designated client representative.
3. Keep Development Evolutionary
Agile Development favors incremental and evolutionary changes rather than abrupt and revolutionary changes. A drastic change in code structure requires more testing time and more work to rollback if the changes don’t deliver the desired result. On the other hand, evolutionary development keeps development pushing forward at a steady pace. This limits the amount of necessary testing.
Incremental changes mesh very well with methodical testing. Make the incremental change and see if the changes work as expected. If the change didn’t achieve the anticipated result then roll back the change. Incremental changes reduce the chance of new bugs and ensures that time is used effectively.
4. Keep Cycles Short
Agile Development needs quick turnaround times. Since changes are evolutionary, they are quickly tested and feedback cycles are fast. Daily stand-up meetings help this along by having team members talk about what they did the previous day to meet the team’s goal.
You can discuss and deal with any problems in reaching the goal.
5. Embrace the MVP
While not solely an Agile Development term, the Minimal Viable Product embodies a spirit that represents what is Agile Development. It’s a product with the minimum number of features to make it to the market.
Extra features that increase development time don’t need to make it into the initial product. Features can be added to the product in an evolutionary and incremental basis after the product goes to market.
As this article draws to a close, it’s clear that Agile Development can help your business meet new challenges in the marketplace. Your business can streamline its processes through an incremental and iterative method. This method that embraces change and cooperation.
How do you think you’ll benefit from your newfound knowledge of Agile Development? If you’re an Agile Guru, what is Agile Development to you? Feel free to share your feelings on Agile Development and how you’ve benefited from it.
The images are from depositphotos.com.