Agile Software Development Methodology Easily Explained

It’s an obvious thing today to associate software development with the Agile development methodology, or one of its version.

It does not matter whether you are a beginner or learned about software development a long time ago with the help of the Waterfall methodology, nowadays your work is at least influenced by the Agile approach.

If the Agile method’s principles look unclear and doubtful for you, then this 7-minutes post will help you to define all Agile advantages, purposes, and spheres of its application.

What is the Agile software development methodology?

The Agile methodology assists project teams to respond to the unpredictability of creating software. The approach is connected with incremental and iterative work sequences that are known as Sprints.

The concept of Agile is tightly connected with 17 technologists who formally launched it in 2001, drafting the Agile Manifesto.

These specialists wrote 4 core principles for developing better software:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

What are the roles in Agile?

According to the Agile principles, a software development process begins with documenting a vision statement on a scope of opportunities and problems, as well as defining the users. The Product Owner defines this vision and communicates it to the team. Here are the main roles in this process:

Users

A user (or a client) is the first point that defines all Agile processes. Users are defined as user personas. This illustrates different roles in a workflow the software is supporting or different types of customer needs.

Product Owner

The Product Owner is the key person who is responsible for defining the vision and collaborating with a development team. He/she applies all the ideas and feedback to create a successful product vision.

Product Owners are the voices of customers. They break down the vision to user stories that spell out more detail on:

  • who is the target user
  • what problem is being solved for them
  • why it is important
  • what constraints and acceptance criteria define the solution.

Product Owners also prioritize user stories and the team reviews them to ensure they have a shared understanding of everything.

Development team

The responsibilities of the Agile development team differs from traditional software developers.

The development team consists of people with professional skills to get the job done. All the members of the team should collaborate on what and how they are developing. That’s why they arrange meetings frequently to make sure everyone is aligned on who is doing what, and how the software is being developed. The team may involve QA engineers and other engineers, designers, and analysts.

Scrum and Kanban

Among the various Agile frameworks that provide specifics on the development process and Agile development practices, Scrum looks more popular.

Scrum is focused on a delivery cadence and consists of short iterations or Sprints which last as a rule 2-3 weeks. Scrum includes planning, commitment (when team members review a backlog of user stories), Daily Standup meetings. The end of any Sprint is a demo meeting.

According to the Kanban concept, teams pull user stories from a Kanban board and move them through a staged development process until all of them are completed.

The key difference between Kanban and Scrum is an iteration length. In Kanban, you can load developers with tasks every day. In Scrum, it lasts 2 weeks.

There is also a hybrid Agile and Waterfall approach that some companies adopt. They use Agile processes for new apps and Waterfall for legacy ones.

Organizations also use other frameworks to scale the practice to different teams.

Agile methodology is #1. Why?

The Agile approach to software development looks beneficial because its framework, principles, and practices are designed around today’s operating conditions.

Agile software development frameworks and processes are more suitable to the modern world of operating smarter and faster. They prioritize delivering working software iteratively and provide feedback to improve the process.

One more benefit of Agile development is that it encourages an ongoing process of improvement. Agile processes are iterative and they establish a mindset and process for continuous improvement.

Finally, if highlight the benefits of Agile for all process participants:

  • Developers have a clear picture of how much work they are taking on. They are proud to show great results.
  • Product Owners are fond of seeing their vision expressed in software sooner and being able to prioritize.
  • Users appreciate software that does what they actually need.

Agile software development is an exciting and fascinating approach. The result of Agile management is a more rewarding experience for everyone in the team.

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