Every technical organization is shifting towards the agile methodology of software development. Today, it is influencing your work. But before we dive into the role of the agile process, let’s understand what it is. And, how it got started?
Time before Agile
Before the agile process, waterfall model was dominant for software development. It was the only standard followed at that time. It emphasized on documentation before the start of the software development. Coding was started when both functional and technical documentation had completed. Integration, testing, and deployment were completed after coding. This whole cycle takes a lot of time.
Now imagine, in the middle of the development cycle, you forgot to write a crucial specification or you had written a wrong specification. This was normal as coding often highlights the concealed practical aspects. Many times customers were delivered functionality that was of no use or had expected a different outcome. In the waterfall model, all-important feedbacks were taken after the software deployment.
According to a UK study of 1081 projects in 2001, 81% of project failures quoted waterfall as the primary cause.
Rise of Agile
The gaps between expectations and results led to industrial frustration in the 1990s. The time lag between requirement and delivery led leaders to think of new development method. That method is today known as Agile.
Agile is an iterative approach of project management and developing software that delivers little bits of user functionalities at the end of 2-4 week cycles called iterations or sprints. Every sprint consists of small functionally working requirements called user stories. At the end of a sprint, mutually agreed user stories will be delivered to the client. Customer feedback is considered and incorporated into future sprints. This backlog is called sprint backlog. In 2008, a survey by Voke inc. took feedback about agile. 90% of survey takers claimed agile improved their flexibility. 84% of respondents said agile improved project visibility.
Roles of agile
The agile process keeps the user or customer in the center of the development that was missing in the traditional waterfall model.
A product owner is an internal stakeholder who acts as the voice of the user. His/her responsibilities are to define a product vision and help the development team to make it happen.
He often divides complete product vision into user stories and prioritizes them according to the customer’s requirements. He becomes the anchor who resolves any problem faced by the software development team.
Software development team:
Teams in agile comprise diversely skilled people. It is because agile focuses on delivering a working model (user story). To test, integrate and deploy end-to-end working user story team needs to be multidisciplinary. One can directly communicate with the customer at any time for queries and issues.
Four core values of the Agile
- More Focus on People and Interaction
Agile focuses more on people and interaction as they are vital for collaboration and problem-solving. Best tools and processes are worthless if they are in the wrong hands.
- Working Software
Agile emphasizes working functionality than detailed documentation. Agile is more product-centric than other process-centric methodologies.
- Customer Collaboration
The customer is more involved in an agile process. He/she will review the deliverable at the end of a sprint. He/she addresses the queries of the development team throughout the process.
- Responding to change
Changing requirements and priorities lead to the success of agile. A dynamic roadmap is mandatory that can vary from sprint to sprint, sometimes even from month to month.
Benefits of Agile
Increased customer’s involvement, continuous delivery of sprints throughout the year, and an adaptable customer-centric approach lead to the following benefits:
- High-quality products
- User-focused testing
- Greater customer satisfaction
- Reduced risks of project failure
- Better tracking of project’s progress
- Better project predictability
- Faster return on investment
- The speedy and flexible process increases productivity
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