top

What Is Agile Software Development

While Agile has been around for years, there are organizations that still hesitate to adopt it as their core framework. But the pandemic has changed this attitude, as agile organizations showed better adaptability, flexibility and success when markets around the world became unsteady and the economy destabilized. Organizations that were previously running with legacy systems have now shown an inclination towards adopting Agile to reap the benefits of agility like customer loyalty and a happy workforce.In this blog, we attempt to help you understand what agile software development is and the various methodologies that come under it.What is Development?“Software development refers to a set of computer science activities dedicated to the process of creating, designing, deploying and supporting software.”—IBM ResearchThere are three different types of software: system software, application software and programming software. There are several steps involved in software development. How to go about these processes depends on the needs of the product, the team and the culture of the organization.   What is Agile Software Development?Agile software development is the process of building software by using Agile development processes. Agile is different from traditional or waterfall development that is more of a top-down approach. Information flows vertically and is more product centric. Agile development on the other hand is more customer centric, where information flows horizontally. Project requirements are broken down into smaller units or functions and products are delivered rapidly and incrementally. A feedback loop ensures that changing customer requirements are implemented and there is continuous improvement.  The iterative and incremental approach used by Agile focuses on short sprints that maximize performance and quality.  “Agile software development is an umbrella term for a set of frameworks and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and the 12 Principles behind it.” –Agile Alliance.  A Short History of AgileThe 14th Annual State of Agile Report states that 55% of the companies surveyed, plan to increase their agile adoption to promote faster time to market and improve areas that will reap long term benefits with agile adoption.But where did Agile come from? Agile was born out of the need to have processes that ensured customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and the need to be flexible and adaptable in the face of rapid change. It all started in the early 90s, when a group that we now know as the ‘Agile Alliance’ met up in Utah to discuss how software development could be improved from the traditional waterfall method to something that was quicker, ensured faster feedback and better customer responses. In other words, they wanted something that was more horizontal, less time and cost intensive, less prone risk, lightweight and easy to implement. Thus, Agile was born, and over the years it has helped organizations to be nimble, flexible and focus on customer, product and quality.What are the Principles of Agile Development?“We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value”—Agile Manifesto  The twelve principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto: Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale. Businesspeople and developers must work together daily throughout the project. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. Working software is the primary measure of progress. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.What are Agile Methodologies?Methodologies that use the idea of iterative development and require the collaboration of self-organizing teams to define requirements and implement solutions are classified as Agile methodologies. They are based on the values and principles of Agile outlined in the Agile Manifesto.  The Agile umbrella encompasses several methodologies  Scrum Lean Software Development Kanban Extreme Programming (XP) Crystal Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) Feature Driven Development (FDD) How Are Agile Software Development Projects Different?According to the 14th Annual State of Agile about 95 percent of organizations have adopted Agile. This is a staggering number and helps us come to the conclusion that Agile is extremely popular. But how is it different from traditional project management and what makes it so popular?A primary difference between Agile projects and traditional software development projects is in what each framework focuses on. While Agile focuses more on people doing the work and how they get the work done, traditional methods offer more prescriptive solutions and focus on processes. Agile helps teams to arrive at solutions through collaboration, communication and by being self-organized and cross functional. This focus on self-organization and cross functionality is what separated Agile from other software development projects. In order to ensure that the Agile team is capable of being self-organized and cross-functional it is important that the right people with the right skills are onboarded into the team. Although there are managers in Agile teams, they are not there to spoon feed or command the team but rather to help them figure out things themselves and become more self-reliant.Agile teams focus on carrying out development by implementing Agile values and principles that help them deal with uncertainty and ensure success.Scrum and other Leading Agile Methods:Scrum: Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems—Scrum Guide Scrum is the most used Agile framework. It follows an iterative and incremental Agile methodology and focuses on delivering large projects by breaking them into smaller iterations or sprints. This incremental development has several advantages, including faster responses to issues, frequent testing and releasing, quick adaptation to changing requirements and customer satisfaction.Advantages of Scrum: It is flexible, incremental and adaptable Reduces time to market Lowers development and operation costs Improves quality of product Ensures customer satisfaction through quick feedback cycles Helps implement continuous improvement Creates motivated and empowered teams LeanLean focuses more on eliminating waste while maximizing value. Lean enhances productivity and ensures effective delivery of products and customer satisfaction. Lean, which has its roots in the production industry, is now becoming a popular methodology in the software industry as it helps streamline processes and cut costs.Advantages of Lean: Reduce waste Reduce lead time Enhance team productivity Better team morale More efficient business processes Better implementation of changing prioritiesKanbanKanban which means ‘sign’ in Japanese, also traces its roots back to the automobile industry. Kanban refers to the use of visual clues (Kanban cards) to describe the work to be carried out. The methodology uses the Kanban Pull System, that creates a collaboration between various disconnected processes so that material and information flow are coordinated. This helps to ensure ‘just in time manufacturing’ or ‘just in time production’ that helps in better consumption and use of raw materials and resources; thus eliminating waste.  Advantages of Kanban: Brings in process flexibility Reduces wate Helps in continuous delivery Easy to understand and implement Ensures faster time to market Increases efficiency and productivityDynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)DSDM is an Agile method that focuses on the full project lifecycle, DSDM (formally known as Dynamic System Development Method) was created in 1994, after project managers using RAD (Rapid Application Development) sought more governance and discipline to this new iterative way of working—Agile Business   The main philosophy followed by DSDM is a clearly defined strategy that focuses on delivering value to the customer early and achieving business benefits.  Advantages of DSDM Allows flexibility Helps deliver projects on time Promotes transparency Delivered projects deliver business value Ensures high quality Extreme ProgrammingExtreme Programming (XP) is an agile software development framework that aims to produce higher quality software, and higher quality of life for the development team. XP is the most specific of the agile frameworks regarding appropriate engineering practices for software development—Agile Alliance  XP follows very set engineering practices that aid in its success. A lot of effort is spent on following the right engineering practices and ensuring that high quality code is delivered each time.  Advantages of XP: Ensures programming best practices are followed Helps implement continuous feedback Aids in fast delivery of products Prevents accumulation of work Simple to use Fosters better communication between team and stakeholders Promotes innovationFeature Driven Development (FDD) Features Driven Development, also called FDD, also focuses on frequent releases of working software with a focus on quality. It ensures that continuous and timely updates are given to users, which helps tighten the feedback loop and offer better quality products at shorter time intervals.  Advantages of FDD: Short iterations  Focus on quality and speed Helps in project tracking Helps in correct estimation of cost Reduces overall risk associated with project CrystalCrystal, like most of the other Agile methodologies is lightweight and popular. Crystal refers to a collection of methodologies like Crystal Clear, Crystal Yellow, Crystal Orange and others. It is generally adopted by teams that are made up of six to eight co-located team members. It is very flexible and helps to tailor practices and processes as per the needs of the project.  The advantages of Crystal: Frequent delivery of code helps identify problems early on Clear communication channels help team members share their ideas freely Promotes continuous improvement Ensures frequent release of working software Highly adaptable Agile software development benefitsLet’s look at some of the most prominent benefits of Agile: Software is created in short iterations which ensures rapid delivery of working software Reduces documentation Implements a regular feedback mechanism Testing is part of the development, which ensures bult-in quality Provides relative estimates Offers a high degree of transparency Ensures customer satisfaction   Creates motivated teams Provides more control over budgets  Let’s look at some of the most prominent benefits of Agile: Software is created in short iterations which ensures rapid delivery of working software Reduces documentation Implements a regular feedback mechanism Testing is part of the development, which ensures bult-in quality Provides relative estimates Offers a high degree of transparency Ensures customer satisfaction   Creates motivated teams Provides more control over budgets  Conclusion So, what is agile software development? Is it just a set of practices, values, and principles? No, it is not. Agile is more of a mind-set, a culture change, and a movement. Agile can be successfully implemented only if there is a change in the very fabric and culture of the organization. For a whole organization to go agile the workforce must change not just its working habits, but its mind set and only then can it reap the rewards of a successful Agile transformation.  So, what is agile software development? Is it just a set of practices, values, and principles? No, it is not. Agile is more of a mind-set, a culture change, and a movement. Agile can be successfully implemented only if there is a change in the very fabric and culture of the organization. For a whole organization to go agile the workforce must change not just its working habits, but its mind set and only then can it reap the rewards of a successful Agile transformation.  
Rated 4.0/5 based on 15 customer reviews
Normal Mode Dark Mode

What Is Agile Software Development

Susan May
Blog
28th Sep, 2021
What Is Agile Software Development

While Agile has been around for years, there are organizations that still hesitate to adopt it as their core framework. But the pandemic has changed this attitude, as agile organizations showed better adaptability, flexibility and success when markets around the world became unsteady and the economy destabilized. Organizations that were previously running with legacy systems have now shown an inclination towards adopting Agile to reap the benefits of agility like customer loyalty and a happy workforce.

In this blog, we attempt to help you understand what agile software development is and the various methodologies that come under it.

What is Development?

“Software development refers to a set of computer science activities dedicated to the process of creating, designing, deploying and supporting software.”—IBM Research

There are three different types of software: system software, application software and programming software. There are several steps involved in software development. How to go about these processes depends on the needs of the product, the team and the culture of the organization.   

What is Agile Software Development?

Agile software development is the process of building software by using Agile development processes. Agile is different from traditional or waterfall development that is more of a top-down approach. Information flows vertically and is more product centric. Agile development on the other hand is more customer centric, where information flows horizontally. Project requirements are broken down into smaller units or functions and products are delivered rapidly and incrementally. A feedback loop ensures that changing customer requirements are implemented and there is continuous improvement. 

 

The iterative and incremental approach used by Agile focuses on short sprints that maximize performance and quality.  

“Agile software development is an umbrella term for a set of frameworks and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and the 12 Principles behind it.” –Agile Alliance.  

A Short History of Agile

The 14th Annual State of Agile Report states that 55% of the companies surveyed, plan to increase their agile adoption to promote faster time to market and improve areas that will reap long term benefits with agile adoption.

But where did Agile come from? Agile was born out of the need to have processes that ensured customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and the need to be flexible and adaptable in the face of rapid change. It all started in the early 90s, when a group that we now know as the ‘Agile Alliance’ met up in Utah to discuss how software development could be improved from the traditional waterfall method to something that was quicker, ensured faster feedback and better customer responses. In other words, they wanted something that was more horizontal, less time and cost intensive, less prone risk, lightweight and easy to implement. Thus, Agile was born, and over the years it has helped organizations to be nimble, flexible and focus on customer, product and quality.

What are the Principles of Agile Development?

“We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value”—Agile Manifesto  

The twelve principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto: 

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. 
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage. 
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale. 
  4. Businesspeople and developers must work together daily throughout the project. 
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done. 
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. 
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress. 
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. 
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility. 
  10. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential. 
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. 
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.

What are Agile Methodologies?

Methodologies that use the idea of iterative development and require the collaboration of self-organizing teams to define requirements and implement solutions are classified as Agile methodologies. They are based on the values and principles of Agile outlined in the Agile Manifesto.  

The Agile umbrella encompasses several methodologies  

  • Scrum 
  • Lean Software Development 
  • Kanban 
  • Extreme Programming (XP) 
  • Crystal 
  • Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) 
  • Feature Driven Development (FDD) 

How Are Agile Software Development Projects Different?

According to the 14th Annual State of Agileabout 95 percent of organizations have adopted Agile. This is a staggering number and helps us come to the conclusion that Agile is extremely popular. But how is it different from traditional project management and what makes it so popular?

A primary difference between Agile projects and traditional software development projects is in what each framework focuses on. While Agile focuses more on people doing the work and how they get the work done, traditional methods offer more prescriptive solutions and focus on processes. 

Agile helps teams to arrive at solutions through collaboration, communication and by being self-organized and cross functional. 

This focus on self-organization and cross functionality is what separated Agile from other software development projects. In order to ensure that the Agile team is capable of being self-organized and cross-functional it is important that the right people with the right skills are onboarded into the team. Although there are managers in Agile teams, they are not there to spoon feed or command the team but rather to help them figure out things themselves and become more self-reliant.

Agile teams focus on carrying out development by implementing Agile values and principles that help them deal with uncertainty and ensure success.

Scrum and other Leading Agile Methods:

Scrum: 

Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems—Scrum Guide 

Scrum is the most used Agile framework. It follows an iterative and incremental Agile methodology and focuses on delivering large projects by breaking them into smaller iterations or sprints. This incremental development has several advantages, including faster responses to issues, frequent testing and releasing, quick adaptation to changing requirements and customer satisfaction.

Advantages of Scrum: 

  • It is flexible, incremental and adaptable 
  • Reduces time to market 
  • Lowers development and operation costs 
  • Improves quality of product 
  • Ensures customer satisfaction through quick feedback cycles 
  • Helps implement continuous improvement 
  • Creates motivated and empowered teams 

Lean

Lean focuses more on eliminating waste while maximizing value. Lean enhances productivity and ensures effective delivery of products and customer satisfaction. Lean, which has its roots in the production industry, is now becoming a popular methodology in the software industry as it helps streamline processes and cut costs.

Advantages of Lean: 

  • Reduce waste 
  • Reduce lead time 
  • Enhance team productivity 
  • Better team morale 
  • More efficient business processes 
  • Better implementation of changing priorities

Kanban

Kanban which means ‘sign’ in Japanese, also traces its roots back to the automobile industry. Kanban refers to the use of visual clues (Kanban cards) to describe the work to be carried out. The methodology uses the Kanban Pull System, that creates a collaboration between various disconnected processes so that material and information flow are coordinated. This helps to ensure ‘just in time manufacturing’ or ‘just in time production’ that helps in better consumption and use of raw materials and resources; thus eliminating waste.  

Advantages of Kanban: 

  • Brings in process flexibility 
  • Reduces wate 
  • Helps in continuous delivery 
  • Easy to understand and implement 
  • Ensures faster time to market 
  • Increases efficiency and productivity

Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)

DSDM is an Agile method that focuses on the full project lifecycle, DSDM (formally known as Dynamic System Development Method) was created in 1994, after project managers using RAD (Rapid Application Development) sought more governance and discipline to this new iterative way of working—Agile Business  

The main philosophy followed by DSDM is a clearly defined strategy that focuses on delivering value to the customer early and achieving business benefits.  

Advantages of DSDM 

  • Allows flexibility 
  • Helps deliver projects on time 
  • Promotes transparency 
  • Delivered projects deliver business value 
  • Ensures high quality 

Extreme Programming

Extreme Programming (XP) is an agile software development framework that aims to produce higher quality software, and higher quality of life for the development team. XP is the most specific of the agile frameworks regarding appropriate engineering practices for software development—Agile Alliance  

XP follows very set engineering practices that aid in its success. A lot of effort is spent on following the right engineering practices and ensuring that high quality code is delivered each time.  

Advantages of XP: 

  • Ensures programming best practices are followed 
  • Helps implement continuous feedback 
  • Aids in fast delivery of products 
  • Prevents accumulation of work 
  • Simple to use 
  • Fosters better communication between team and stakeholders 
  • Promotes innovation

Feature Driven Development (FDD) 

Features Driven Development, also called FDD, also focuses on frequent releases of working software with a focus on quality. It ensures that continuous and timely updates are given to users, which helps tighten the feedback loop and offer better quality products at shorter time intervals.  

Advantages of FDD: 

  • Short iterations  
  • Focus on quality and speed 
  • Helps in project tracking 
  • Helps in correct estimation of cost 
  • Reduces overall risk associated with project 

Crystal

Crystal, like most of the other Agile methodologies is lightweight and popular. Crystal refers to a collection of methodologies like Crystal Clear, Crystal Yellow, Crystal Orange and others. It is generally adopted by teams that are made up of six to eight co-located team members. It is very flexible and helps to tailor practices and processes as per the needs of the project.  

The advantages of Crystal: 

  • Frequent delivery of code helps identify problems early on 
  • Clear communication channels help team members share their ideas freely 
  • Promotes continuous improvement 
  • Ensures frequent release of working software 
  • Highly adaptable 

Agile software development benefits

Let’s look at some of the most prominent benefits of Agile: 

  • Software is created in short iterations which ensures rapid delivery of working software 
  • Reduces documentation 
  • Implements a regular feedback mechanism 
  • Testing is part of the development, which ensures bult-in quality 
  • Provides relative estimates 
  • Offers a high degree of transparency 
  • Ensures customer satisfaction   
  • Creates motivated teams 
  • Provides more control over budgets  

Let’s look at some of the most prominent benefits of Agile: 

  • Software is created in short iterations which ensures rapid delivery of working software 
  • Reduces documentation 
  • Implements a regular feedback mechanism 
  • Testing is part of the development, which ensures bult-in quality 
  • Provides relative estimates 
  • Offers a high degree of transparency 
  • Ensures customer satisfaction   
  • Creates motivated teams 
  • Provides more control over budgets  

Conclusion 

So, what is agile software development? Is it just a set of practices, values, and principles? No, it is not. Agile is more of a mind-set, a culture change, and a movement. Agile can be successfully implemented only if there is a change in the very fabric and culture of the organization. For a whole organization to go agile the workforce must change not just its working habits, but its mind set and only then can it reap the rewards of a successful Agile transformation.  

So, what is agile software development? Is it just a set of practices, values, and principles? No, it is not. Agile is more of a mind-set, a culture change, and a movement. Agile can be successfully implemented only if there is a change in the very fabric and culture of the organization. For a whole organization to go agile the workforce must change not just its working habits, but its mind set and only then can it reap the rewards of a successful Agile transformation.  

Susan

Susan May

Writer, Developer, Explorer

Susan is a gamer, internet scholar and an entrepreneur, specialising in Big Data, Hadoop, Web Development and many other technologies. She is the author of several articles published on Zeolearn and KnowledgeHut blogs. She has gained a lot of experience by working as a freelancer and is now working as a trainer. As a developer, she has spoken at various international tech conferences around the globe about Big Data.


Website : https://www.zeolearn.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

REQUEST A FREE DEMO CLASS

SUBSCRIBE OUR BLOG

Follow Us On

Share on