Ultimate Guide To Learning Agile Development6 mins - Introduction
Agile method is one of those things we all hear about, but few people understand. In its simplest form, Agile is a way to manage projects effectively but there are many ways in which we can implement it. If we want to understand how to use agile development, we must first understand the principle behind it.
The Principles of Agile Development
The concept of agile development was born in the 1970s, from the mind of Dr.Winston Royce. After critiquing sequential development, people began looking at other ways to manage software development projects, thus the agile method was introduced.
Dr.Winston noted that while sequential development worked well in manufacturing environments, it had little effect on software development projects. Sequential development means everything has to be done in a systematic order, which could cause issues for software development.
Technology changes all the time, and sequential development doesn’t accommodate for those changes. Projects lack innovation because the planning and implementation are carried out in a step-by-step process. The drawbacks of sequential development make agile such an effective development tool.
Sequential development has many limits, including a lack of flexibility. Agile development is a better alternative as it welcomes change and offers flexibility. Team members assess the project regularly, in sessions known as iterations. These reviews enable team members to keep track of how the project is developing and accommodate new technology.
After every iteration, team members can introduce a way to make the project run smoother. These suggestions include ways to incorporate new technology or make minor changes to improve the final product.
One of the biggest advantages of agile is it enables companies to finish their product within a set time frame. Software development is a complex process, but how agile works means teams can adapt it as they go, and release the product while it’s still relevant.
Most people think the agile method only applies to software development, but industry innovators are seeing how the principles can apply to a range of projects. The main reason for this is because agile enables teams to review the project and make changes when issues arise.
With all the disadvantages of sequential development, agile can save time and money for a variety of development projects. While traditional development methods place an emphasis on tools and machinery, agile puts the team at the forefront of the project. This hands-on approach gives each member a deeper insight into each part of the development process.
Collaboration Is Key
The agile method demands team members are efficient and able to work well in a team. In some projects, each member has sole responsibility for each part, but agile is uses a collaborative approach. The saying “two heads are better than one” applies here, but think of agile as a collection of minds coming together. It’s common to find team members splitting into groups and this unique approach brings together individual strengths to make a strong product.
Involvement of Everyone
Agile isn’t just about team members, it’s based on customer and shareholder input. Just as technology changes, so do the wants and needs of customers. The agile method involves others throughout the development process and recognizes that things may change as the project develops. However, instead of focusing on finishing the project, they can make adaptions regularly.
Proof Over Paperwork
Some projects rely on paperwork to check team members are meeting their targets, but agile places a higher emphasis on working prototypes. While clients appreciate presentations, and documentation of how a project is moving along, they prefer to see the results. It still requires team members to provide documentation, but they prioritize creating their product.
Adapting to Change
The most important part of agile development is responding to changes. Team members must recognize where there are faults and implement workable solutions.
Applying Agile Development
To implement agile ways of working, teams must work together and follow a process.
Organize Your Team
At the hub of each development team is a project manager, who oversees the project. Instead of putting together a large team, agile depends on a small group of individuals. The average number is ten members and each should be able to take responsibility and self-delegate.
Once the team is in place, you need to create a backlog of tasks. This is so each member knows their responsibilities and can work to the project requirements.
Iterations & Scrums
This is probably the most complex part of agile development and takes a lot of planning. Establishing iterations means breaking the backlog into smaller actionable tasks. This helpful guide explains the process in-depth and offers helpful tips if you’re new to agile development.
Risk Management & Testing
Every step of the development project relies on risk mitigation teams can make changes when issues arise. This is a vital part of agile development, and while sequential development assesses risks at the start of each project, agile teams must have their eyes open at all times.
Testing happens at the end of each iteration session, with team members responsible for ensuring the product is working under the specs. The main advantage of regular tests is that issues are identifiable during the developmental process.
Input & Feedback
Traditionally, customers got to try the product upon completion but the agile method involves the public during the development process. Companies ask their customers and stakeholders to provide opinions about the product. During each iteration, the team discuss the feedback and decide whether to make alterations. Feedback is vital for agile product development because it ensures the finished product will deliver results.
Agile development is difficult to implement, but with the right team members, it’s possible. The most important aspect of the development process is ensuring that regular iterations take place, and it motivates your team to implement changes.