Published: 23 Aug, 2022
Agile Software Development Process, in simpler terms, is nothing but a developer’s ticket to rapidly and efficiently deploy an application. The traditional method or the Waterfall approach, which development teams used until the initial years of the 21st century, took months and years of planning and subsequent implementation with no assurance of success—a risky road, isn’t it? Was there a better way to speed up the development process?
Gradually, the veer of development teams towards the Agile Software Development Process approach helped the product owner to have a happy, innovative, and productive team of developers—far away from the traditional monolithic and linear Waterfall approach.
The linear nature of the Waterfall approach did not allow the software developers to test the waters to see whether the product they are developing serves the customers. The formulation of Agile philosophy, through the Agile Manifesto, was a game changer for the software developers, allowing them to overcome these challenges and move towards a comprehensive approach.
However, it is not easy to acquire Agile Software Development overnight; it requires extensive teamwork. Our mobile app development company—NetMaxims, has years of experience in development via Agile methods.
Table of contents
Agile Software development reconstituted software development, centering around the idea of iterative development; this methodology enabled the product owners and developers to deliver value fast and with excellent quality. Agile methods are about an incremental approach toward product development by collaborating with self-organizing and cross-functional teams. The attitude of agile methodology is to undertake development in a more user-centric manner.
The philosophy of Agile has also aided the development of other software architectures such as micro-services, headless commerce, etc.
Following Agile practices, the process is divided into micro-services or chunks so that, when required, the services can be modified at any point in time. This gives development teams autonomy to each of these micro-services, thus making them independent from each other. Hence, if one of the services requires any alterations, the functioning of the rest of the services (and the product in its entirety) remains unaffected. The size of the modification doesn’t matter while working in agile. The whole purpose of creating agile methods is quick deployment. These modifications are contingent upon customer needs and the market dynamics, which are prone to alterations.
One of the most significant features of agile is that it works in sync with customer feedback. The Agile methodology works wonders because it reduces the chances of developing products or software which do not address the requirements and needs of the customers.
Such dynamic software development methodologies approach promote interaction with the consumer so that when an iteration is deployed, the developers can get quick responses and analyze whether the iterations are working (while developing software) in their favor before the product’s official launch. Also, this adaptive approach enables the developers to focus on a given chunk of iteration rather than working on the product in its entirety.
The best examples to understand agile processes are e-commerce websites such as Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, etc. Although we see e-commerce websites as one single unit, in reality, they are a culmination of different microservices.
The functionality like product catalogues, shopping cart, etc are developed and maintain as micro-services. These micro-services are loosely coupled with each other. This ensures different microservices have quite low dependency on each other.
So now, when the development team has to make some modifications based on the agile processes, let’s say, a Product catalogue, it will not impact the functioning of the other components of e-commerce. This approach will also enable to receive customer feedback and changes quickly, and inspect whether they work in favor of the customer’s overall experience.
The breaking up of the more enormous software development life cycle (or the final product development) into smaller chunks in agile processes, also called iterations, encourages a more sustainable development of the end digital product because it reduces the possibility of investing time and resources in the wrong direction—which might have the possibility of taking the software developers far from customer satisfaction.
A great way to begin the Agile Sofware Development process would be to start with a Minimum Viable Product. A Minimum Viable Product is the basic version of the desired digital product. An MVP has all the fundamental features that capture the essence of the digital product owner that can be rolled out for customers to use and receive feedback. Development of an MVP can be carried out rapidly to be tested. Moreover, it would be painless to modify or add new features to the MVP while it is still in the development stage.
‘Agile’ literally means to perform a task quickly, which is precisely what agile methodologies mean in software development. Agile development focuses on iterative software development and early and continuous delivery. However, numerous ways exist to achieve and undertake this dynamic software development.
Over the years, developers have come up with various methodologies. Let’s discuss them:
This is by far the most popular methodology of Agile Software Development. The concept of Scrum Agile Methodology could be traced in an article titled ‘The New New Product Development Game’ written by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka in 1986, wherein they discussed how the big multinational companies such as Canon, Honda, Brother, 3M, and Xerox were implementing integrated developmental approach (instead of a linear approach) which later became the foundational principles of the Scrum methodology.
In Scrum, the project is divided into smaller, manageable blocks called sprints. However, the first step in Scrum methodology is to define a Product Backlog, which is then divided into smaller iterations that are prioritized depending on the product development timeline. Thus, creating a Sprint Backlog.
After defining and prioritizing the Sprints in Sprint Backlog, you move on to the Sprint Planning—which includes visualizing the end product, Daily Sprints— discussions and execution of daily tasks, and Sprint review—where the developers run the code, conduct demos, and test the implications of the developed code.
Generally, a Scrum cycle lasts for two weeks. This methodology encourages the rapid deployment of code and enables developers to test the code and get feedback in the development environment itself instead of waiting till the final product is completed.
The foundational ideas of Extreme Programming were developed by Kent Beck in the 90s, who later became one of the authors of the Agile Manifesto. In fact, Scrum is the modified version of this fundamental version.
Extreme Programming entails a basic set of Agile Principles. It focuses on communication, simplicity, feedback, respect, and courage. In Extreme Programming, the developers parallelly communicate with the customer and cross-functional teams. This allows them to promptly respond to the required change or modification.
The primary idea behind Lean Methodology is to reduce or eliminate waste while developing software. The elemental approach of lean methodology was derived from the principles of Lean Manufacturing, which focuses on increasing profits by focusing on sales and, at the same time also, reducing cost.
This methodology focuses on reducing or eliminating tasks that do not provide value to software development. This agile development methodology includes reduced waste, efficient time management, reduced costs, and improved quality.
Kanban was created as a simple planning methodology by a Japanese Engineer and Businessman, Taiichi Ohno. It is similar to Scrum, but instead of working in separate Sprints, all the tasks related to agile development are displayed in one place for the self-organizing teams and then performed, tested, and launched simultaneously by the development team. Therefore, Kanban can be better understood as the continuous development and implementation of the software.
Get a more clear understanding of Scrum and Kanban.
Agile Manifesto is a document containing the imperative principles and values of Agile Software Development, which acts as a guide for software developers. It was formulated by prominent software developers in 2001, who identified themselves as Agile Alliance. These developers wanted to develop more simplified and efficient software development methods because the traditional method (the Waterfall Method) was focused more on documentation than on being responsive.
The values and principles stated in the Agile Manifesto aim to build an environment of agile development that encourages the software development team to be efficient and effective while simultaneously achieving business goals and customer satisfaction.
The Waterfall approach is linea in nature, wherein the developer focuses more on planning and detailed documentation of the software development process and only then moves on to the consummation of the product. Often, the result does not meet the desired output or is entirely wrong—this does not mean that the software development team did an inadequate job or did some mistakes in the development of the code. The development team yields wrong results because they are based on misguided assumptions—which might not be your end user’s requirements.
The Waterfall method was rigid in its approach to software development in terms of budget, scope, time, and quality. As stated above, this form of software development did not allow interactions with the customers or identify customer needs. Hence, the developers remain alien to the customer’s needs till the final product is launched.
The Waterfall method also stopped software developers from experimenting and accommodating new ideas they might have during the software development process. Hence, the Waterfall method not only yielded unsatisfactory results for the target consumer but also made the developers bummed out with the entire process.
Therefore, the four values and principles of the Agile Manifesto are considered a game changer for software developers. These values and principles brought in the possibility to create things differently—incrementally and in an iterative manner. The agile practices enhanced the possibility of attaining consumer satisfaction with faster deployment.
One of the significant differences in both these methods is how the interaction with the consumer is undertaken. In the Waterfall method, the developers wait until the end product is ready and launched to see whether the product they developed meet their consumer need and solve their problems. Whereas, when agile methods are employed, owing to their iterative methodology, faster deployments of changes, and simultaneous collection and consideration of feedback, the chances of developing a digital product that meets customer requirements and solves their problems.
Therefore, to conclude, the Agile Software Developement process revolutionalized the software development methodology in terms of both the user and developer experience. Although some companies still use the Waterfall method for their software development, observations have shown that Agile Software Development is by far the most excellent software development method, which was introduced in the Agile Manifesto two decades ago.
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