Agile Software Development Methodology & Principles

 

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Organizations strive for agility so they can be more resilient against uncertainty. Companies believe that if they have agile teams, they have a greater chance of success in today’s dynamic and demanding business landscape. If development teams are able to deliver projects and build products effectively using Agile software development, then being agile must be the formula to success. But what exactly is it?

Agile Values & Principles

Agile development methodology is a different way of managing software development projects. This approach follows Agile principles that differ from the more traditional Waterfall approach. What’s wrong with Waterfall? There came a time when developers need a better way to develop software that addresses both the customer’s and the developer’s requirements. The Waterfall methodology is not flexible enough to be a solution.

So, a group of software developers agreed to craft a manifesto that values individuals and interactions, working software, and customer collaboration, and responds to change more than the values highly prioritized in Waterfall, which are processes and tools, documentation, contract negotiation, and plans. From these Agile values, they stated the following principles:

  1. Customer satisfaction is the highest priority.
  2. Changing of requirements is welcome at any development stage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently at shorter timescales.
  4. Business users and developers should collaborate daily throughout the project.
  5. Trust and support motivated individuals to find solutions.
  6. Face-to-face conversation is the best method of conveying information.
  7. A working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote a sustainable environment.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. The team regularly reflects on how to become more effective and adjusts accordingly.

Examples of Methodologies & Standards in Software Development

Software development projects follow methodologies and standards to ensure that teams deliver them on time, within budget, within scope, and with an acceptable quality. Methodologies guide developers to actually build the product they planned to build in the most efficient way. There are several methodologies and standards that address the various aspects of software development. For instance, there is PRINCE2 for project management, Use Cases/UML for analysis and design, and ISEB for testing. Agile software development is flexible and can apply elements of these same methods in its various development stages.

Top 3 Agile Project Management Software

We have listed the top 3 agile project management software available on the market right now. As Agile software development is one of the most popular and in-demand methodologies these days, this list will be very helpful to learn, decide, and manage projects using the Agile software development methodology.

 Agile Development Methodology

Attempts to find an alternative to the Waterfall methodology predates the Agile Manifesto. But the Agile principles strengthened a growing movement that further supported and reinforced several iterative development methodologies now classified as Agile.

  • Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) is close to the original method that reflects Agile development principles. DSDM was around before the term Agile development was invented, but it’s based on all the Agile principles we have come to know as Agile software development.
  • Scrum is also an Agile development method, which concentrates particularly on how to manage tasks within a team-based development environment.
  • Extreme Programming (XP) is a more radical Agile methodology that focuses on the software development process. It addresses the analysis, development, and test phases with novel approaches aimed at making a substantial difference to the quality of the end product.
  • DSDM is almost synonymous to Agile methodology, whereas Scrum and XP are easier to implement and complementary because they tackle different aspects of development projects. Both Scrum and XP conform to the same principles of Agile development.

Choosing A Methodology

In reality, there is no magic bullet for software development. The real trick is to know multiple techniques from various Waterfall and Agile development methods and to select a mixture of the best approaches that are most appropriate for any given situation. To do this reliably with any degree of success requires solid experience and skill.

In Agile software development, project management takes a slightly different form. It relies more on the project manager’s skills in communication, facilitation, and coordination, with less emphasis on planning and control.

Agile software development can be a very exciting and invigorating approach. Agile project management principles will show that some projects suit Agile development more than others. Collaboration and visibility, which are key principles of Agile methodology, can provide a richer and more rewarding experience for teams to develop great software products. The less flexible Waterfall approach puts greater focus on documentation. Creating software using Agile development methodology can be more enjoyable than the staid Waterfall approach. And when people enjoy their work, it is amazing what they can achieve.

Jose Maria Delos Santos

Jose Maria Delos Santos

Jose is a subject matter expert and member of the writing team for Project-Management.com and Bridge24. He has written hundreds of articles including project management software reviews, books reviews, training site reviews, and general articles related to the project management industry.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar B Prakash says:

    Very well explained. Maturity of the team is the key success factor for any agile program. Team should be able to work together towards common goals and show good discipline also.

  2. Avatar Rich Avilla says:

    Thanks for article. “…select a mixture of the best approaches that are most appropriate for any given situation”, is understated, yet is a key point. 100% successful projects are rare, making full on Agile Methodology projects even more rare. Focus should be on outcomes over conveyance.

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