Agile software development is an umbrella term which refers to several types of software development methodologies. These methodologies, which include things such as Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP) and Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) are incremental in nature, and each is unique in its own right.
However, each of the methodologies shares the same core vision and values. This vision, as written in the Agile Manifesto, maintains key principles when it comes to the development of software. These are:
“Individuals and interactions over practices and tools”
“Working software over comprehensive documentation”
“Customer collaboration over contract negotiation”
“Responding to change over following a plan”
While the latter parts of each of these sentences are important, an Agile system ultimately favors the former section of these statements. Why? By taking this approach, businesses can consistently make iterations and amendments as a project progresses, responding to change, feedback and problems along the way.
Agile in Project Management
Projects are often fluid in nature, and it’s important to continuously evolve alongside a project; else you run the risk of failing. The methodologies contained within the Agile approach are much more lightweight than many other traditional processes.
The benefits of this are that software can typically be turned around quicker, with software delivered in much shorter timeframes. At the same time, the needs of the customer are prioritized, and valuable deliverables are a must.
It takes much of the red tape and planning out of development. While planning and goals are still crucial, success is measured simply by working software. Not milestones or small wins. It favors simplicity, efficiency, and high productivity.
Clearly, there are big benefits of an Agile approach for businesses, but before you adopt this system, there are some key questions that you must first ask yourself.
Is Your Team Ready to Go Agile?
Are your management team ready to adapt the way that they operate? Agile systems focus less on metrics, and more on value. You and your organization will need to become more free-flowing, and more collaborative in your approach. Employees will have to work less in isolation, and more as a team.
This will likely mean that project managers have less power than before, and also means evolving all departments of an organization, from HR to sales to management. Are you ready for this level of change?
You will have to ensure that each and every team member throughout the organization is fully aware of what Agile principles are and, furthermore, that they agree with them too. A successful Agile approach will only work if all team members are on board with it, working together in tandem.
Your organization may have to also consider hiring additional members, such as a product manager, a business analyst, and a full-time delivery team. Are you able to make this space in your organization?
Agile: yay or nay?
The Agile Software Development approach can seem like a dramatic one, and in some cases, it does lead to a complete restructuring of an organization. Some businesses are used to a clear hierarchy of power and a top-down approach, but the Agile system sees a flatter, more open structure come into play.
This can be hard for businesses to adapt to at first. But, it has been found that projects, both large and small, are more likely to succeed if an Agile approach is taken. Ask yourself the key questions listed above, and consider making these changes in your own organization.
Co-founder and CEO of Ideamotive - custom software development company. Entrepreneur, who with passion spreads digital revolution all around the internet. Mentor and advisor at startup accelerators. Loves to learn and discover new business models.
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