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Why You Should Develop Software the Agile Way

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The old development wisdom is failing us. It’s a tool ill-suited for handling complex business endeavors of today.

Many software companies are ditching it for Agile, which has become an almost ubiquitous framework. Embracing it isn’t about being trendy. It has various real advantages over the Waterfall methodology.

Most notably, it enables organizations to navigate the rapidly-changing business landscape and gain an edge over the competition.

The method breaks down big projects down into manageable units.  It involves a set of teams working hand in hand at all times, be it when planning, collaborating, testing, or developing. This kind of collaboration produces frequent software builds and holds them to rigorous scrutiny.

Despite a growing body of evidence in favor of Agile, some companies are still reluctant to make a transition. Others struggle to make the most of it. You don’t want to make these mistakes: here is why Agile is the way to go.

A Paradigm Shift

Agile is a powerful tool for initiating and executing software development projects. Done right, it provides benefits to everyone, including the clients, teams, and whole organizations.

Essentially, the approach re-envisions and revamps the traditional way of doing business, which followed the logic of sequential development. As such, it addresses challenges and pain points of the conventional Waterfall strategy.

Changes can be traced on a level of overall philosophy, but also specific processes.

Beyond everything else, Agile represents a test-driven methodology rooted in the practice of iterative deployment. There’s no linear progression from the analysis to the maintenance stage.

Hence, it accelerates the delivery of value while also boosting work quality.

The basic framework is lightweight and geared towards success in a saturated business arena. Risks linked to the development process are either minimized or completely eliminated. Developers are able to discern whether they have working software at hand.

Furthermore, one should underline there are multiple variations of the methodology. They allow you to configure Agile to fit your specific business needs and wants.

Even though the framework was developed as a single-team approach, nowadays it’s a highly versatile blueprint for success. Enterprise Scrum, for instance, proves Agile can power even the geographically-dispersed global operations.

Cases of successful scaling involve organizations of all shapes and sizes.

A Change of Pace

Agile discourages extensive planning at the onset of projects.

This is because unforeseen problems and circumstances tend to occur every time. Change is inevitable, so why not embrace it? Likewise, sticking to predefined requirements no longer poses a priority. In fact, it can only lead you to develop a product that doesn’t really solve problems for the target audience.  

Instead, the Agile system revolves around iterative development. It divides big projects into smaller bits, giving you a functional roadmap for achieving your goals.

Development is always a work in progress— you try many different things to figure out what to focus on and what to ignore. That way, you’re much less likely to waste a lot of time initially or experience “analysis paralysis”.

Another important difference from the traditional approach is that documentation is very light. It’s limited to artifacts you need in order to get the job done.

This well-calibrated system entails frequent delivery of value with a high-level of predictability. This predictability relates to costs, work quality, and schedule. Yes, this means you can avoid creep effects that hamper so many development projects.

Moving on, the key layer of Agile comes in the form of time-boxed cycles. These one-to-four week iterations are called Sprints. Their goal is to set the pace for cranking out working code and agreed-to features.

During each Sprint, teams prioritize work on the fly, based on a Product Backlog. This vital artifact contains a list of User Stories that guide development. The stories themselves feature detailed descriptions of tasks that need to be performed.

user stories on backlog

People in the Focus

Open and continuous communication is the backbone of Agile adoption.

One of its governing principles is that people and their interactions take precedence over strict processes. Teams are self-organizing and respond to change without hesitation. They are tasked with ongoing refinement and reprioritization.

The members come together during stand-up meetings, which take place on a daily basis. They discuss all issues that impact development process: progress so far, high-value items, and next steps. Moreover, they tackle any impediments and expectation mismatches that may arise.

During retrospectives, on the other hand, everyone tries to find where the room for improvement is.  These events allow companies to ditch ineffective approaches and self-correct practices. Agile teaches you it’s better to fail fast and then get past it as soon as possible.

Furthermore, the framework promotes the autonomy of those who are closest to the work process. Not only that, but there should also be clear accountability and responsibility system in place.

After a Sprint, teams need to engage in beta and usability testing. That way, they gather valuable feedback and optimize their work. An additional benefit of this Agile work environment is that it improves motivation, engagement, and productivity.

So, taking all this into account, the lesson is clear. Abandon the top-down hierarchies and directives sooner rather than later. Ensure the utmost level of transparency across the board. Involve all stakeholders, including your clients, in every stage of development.

Ultimately, these changes should add up and add great value to your organization. You will produce user-friendly software packed with consumer value.

With Agile, everyone wins in the end.

Agility is Here to Stay

Waterfall methodology has hit its expiry date.

Simply put, it’s too slow and rigid for the modern IT industry. Agile is your best shot at delivering value fast and on budget. It’s a business-focused and consumer-centric approach. That’s to say it elevates both productivity and customer satisfaction.

So, do your best to avoid lagging behind best practices and trends. Come up with a plan to implement the methodology without friction.  

Constantly grow and evolve based on practical insights. Pick up on issues early on and solve them quickly. Spur iterative progress and fine-tune operations as you go. Align the software development with your business needs and strategies.

Make sure to adopt techniques that make sense for your organization. It’s time to deploy high-quality software and make waves in the market!

Jug Babic is a marketer at Vivify Ideas. They are the company behind VivifyScrum, an agile project management tool.

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