A Comprehensive Guide about Agile Software Development

All startups and businesses need software competency to deliver excellent digital proficiencies. Agile development is an ace way to create software and apps faster.

Today every software development company seems to be practicing the methods of agile software development. Or at least these companies believe they are doing it. Whether you are a beginner in application development or have colossal experience in the Waterfall software development methodology, the agile method will significantly influence on work.

But do you know what the agile methodology is? And how should agile methods and models be practiced in software development? If NO, this article will give you a lot of information.

Agile was legitimately launched in 2001. At that time, 17 technologists wrote the Agile Manifesto. They wrote four great principles to develop better software:

  • Individuals and their interactions higher than processes and tools
  • Operational software rather than massive documentation
  • Collaboration with customers more than contract negotiation is more effective.
  • Quickly respond to change rather than follow outdated plans

The era of Waterfall Methodology

In the past Waterfall methodology considered as the standard of excellence for software development. The software development process required comprehensive documentation before the completion of coding. In this methodology, first, an ample document about the needs of the company is needed. Usually, these documents are extensive and detailing everything. Moreover, they’re functional and explaining the complete specifications of the strategy and the visual user interface designs.

After that, this documentation is tailored with some form of technical specification. It also acknowledged the application design and data structures. Moreover, it also allows object-oriented, functional designs, user interfaces, and other non-functional requirements.

Finally, the waterfall software development process will launch the coding, then the integration. After that, the developer will test before an application is considered ready for production. The whole waterfall software development process will take a couple of years.

Software development itself is not a piece of cake either at that time. At waterfall software development, developers have to learn all the ropes to get specialized training in development tools. In that era, there were no open-source or commercial software tools, APIs, and Web services. Hence, developers have to develop low-level things — for example, opening database connections and multithreading of data processing.

Even for basic waterfall applications, the large team is obliged while the communication tools are limited. The technical specifications were what the former developers aligned with. If changes are needed, subject entrepreneurs would have to pass a lengthy process of review and signing. Moreover, communicating changes within the team and correcting the code was an expensive process.

Since the technical developers develop the software on their skill basis. Firstly they refine the lower level artifacts after that they create dependent artifacts. Database engineers will build tables. Then application developers will code functionality and the user interface. The whole process will take months. After that, anyone could see the application. At that point, stakeholders became apprehensive and often keener about what they really wanted. No surprise, the changes can break the bank!

Everything you put in front of your users doesn’t necessary will work as you anticipated. Maybe users do not use any features of your app. Then it may become an additional investment. However, sometimes feature leaps and bound, but required reconfiguring to support the scalability and require performance. In the world of Waterfall, you will learn all these things only after the development of software. Even after all your efforts and expenses.

Agile Software Development

The waterfall approach was revolutionary and progressive. It had created a discipline in software development. It also ensures there was a precise specification to follow.

When the Waterfall methodology appeared in the software, the PC, and its applications, it generally becomes complex and bulky.

The Waterfall methodology anticipate changes as developers start working on Internet applications. Most of the early work was complete in startups. At that time, teams were smaller and often did not have traditional computer training. Financial and competitive pressures are applied to bring websites and applications quicker to the market. In response, various development technology and platforms are rapidly changed.

It has led many developers to challenge traditional development processes. As a result, they start to seek more effective ways. Indeed, it’s cumbersome to do all the comprehensive documentation. That’s why it’s vital to bring changes according to the requirements.

In 2001, a group of proficient software developers came together. They realized that they all are doing software development differently from the Waterfall methodology. Hence, they decided to utilize their skills and innovative capabilities to bring change in the world of software development. This group developed the Agile Manifesto. They also create a detailing of their shared beliefs about how a contemporary software development process must work. They emphasized collaboration rather than documentation. They also focus on self-organization in preference to rigid management practices. Moreover, they stress on the ability to manage constant change.

The agile methodology for software development grew out of these principles.

Roles in Agile Methodology

Agile software is an incremental and iterative development approach. It always begins with defining users and documenting a vision statement about the extent of problems. The product owner captures the use agile approach to control and incorporate vision and works with a multidisciplinary team (. Here are the roles in this process.

The user

Agile processes always start with the user or the client. Its main aim is to satisfy the need of patrons by enhancing customer services. Today, we often define them with user personas to illustrate different roles of different types of customer needs and behaviors.

The Product Owner

It is the role of a person who must be the voice of the customer, including the internal stakeholders. This person distills all points of view, ideas, and comments to create a product vision. These visions are often concise and intuitive. However, they nevertheless give an image of who the client is. Cut to the chase. He performs various roles, including business strategist, product designer, market analyst, customer relationship, and project manager. Google’s original vision was something like “Allowing anyone with Internet access to find relevant websites and web pages with a simple keyword-driven interface and an algorithm that ranks trusted sources in search results.”

We call this person the owner of the product. His responsibility is to define this vision and then work with a development team to make it happen.

The product owner breaks down the vision into a series to work efficiently with the development team. These series of user stories spell out in more detail.

  • Who is the target user?
  • What is the solution for them?
  • Why it matters to them?
  • Which constraints and acceptance criteria define the solution?

The product owner prioritized these product stories, and the team gives reviews about it. It is just to ensure that they’ve a shared understanding of what the product owner asks from them.

The software development team

In agile, the development team made up of diverse groups of talented people. The responsibilities of its members differ from those of traditional software development. The team will create end-to-end operational applications to develop the database like business logic and user interface.

In addition to software developers, designers and other engineers, such as databases and back-end systems and analysts, are also included. Yet, it depends on the type of software project.

Scrum, Kanban, and other agile frameworks

Many agile frameworks provide details about agile development processes and practices.

Scrum is the most prestigious framework of agile. It focuses on a delivery rate called a sprint and meeting structures that include:

  • Planning
  • Engagement (where the team reviews a list or backlog of user stories and decides how much work will complete during the sprint)
  • Daily standup meetings (so teams can provide updates on their status and development strategies)

The product owner will discuss in a retrospective meeting with the team what went well and where improvement is necessary for the project.

Many companies employ the experts of the scrum to help teams manage the scrum process.

Although the scrum dominates, there are other agile executives:

Kanban functions as a fan-in and fan-out process. It mainly focuses on the process of improvement. The team pulls user stories from an admission tip and articulates them through a phased development process until they complete it.

Some companies adopt both an agile and waterfall hybrid approach. They utilize agile procedures for new applications and waterfall for older applications.

Several frameworks allow companies to scale practice across multiple teams.

Agile frameworks define processes, alliances, and collaboration. It’s development processes are specific to software development tasks that run in alignment with an agile framework.

For example:

Some teams implement pairwise programming, where two developers code together to generate superior code. They also allow more experienced developers to mentor younger developers.

Several teams are adopting test-driven development to confirm that the underlying functionalities will provide the anticipated results.

Many teams also adopt technical standards. The interpretation of a user story leads the developers to the desired functionality. Furthermore, it also responds to other technical standards like security, code quality, and naming conventions.

Why is agile methodology better?

Do you want to get a more reliable quality and faster app? No doubt, everyone wants. Take the cumulative of agile principles and implement them in a flexible framework. Further, use up to dated tools and implement agile development practices in your project. You will get better and quicker applications with better professional practices.

The prime reason for it is that Agile is developing for flexibility and adaptability. It doesn’t allow you to define all the answers as you do in the Waterfall method. But it will divide the problem into simpler components that you develop and then test with the users.

If something is not working properly or as you expected, or if the effort reveals that something is not taken into account, you can adapt the effort swiftly to get back on track promptly. Agile allows each member of the team to contribute to the solution. But for this everyone have to take personal responsibility for their work.

Agile software is better for numerous problems. Because the values, practices, and framework of agile are tailored to prevailing operating conditions. Agile frameworks and it development processes prioritize iterative provision of software. It also promotes user feedback to improve application and process. Therefore, we can say that Agile is best suited to today’s smarter, faster world.

Product owners may think they know exactly how to develop an app that fits their dreams. But they will not give up the opportunity to improve that idea when they talk to most of their users. Particularly after seeing how an application works really for them. Similarly, development teams think they know how to design a flawless and perfect application. But they can’t exhibit it until the entire application is assimilated and functionality is verified.

Agile development is also better because it promotes better planning and development evaluation. It also encourages continuous improvement. Imagine if Microsoft stopped the Windows development after version 3.1. Or if advanced search engine ended enhancing its search algorithms in 2002. The software needs a continuous update, support, and improvement. Agile processes are iterative for both a state of mind and a process of continuous improvement.

Lastly, it’s better because team members are more productive, dynamic, and feel gladder to work with it. Developers can proudly show their results through it. Product owners can see their vision earlier in the software that helps them change priorities based on the latest information. Users can get software that they need, in a way that improves their processes.

Today, enterprises need faster and prodigious quality software to deliver excellent digital experiences. It is a vital requirement to thrive in a hyper-competitive world. Also, it’s an ace way to get a great customer experience. Agile development will help businesses to achieve their targeted goals.

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