Agile software development has saved billions for countless companies since its inception. Let’s see how you can benefit from it as well.
Agile has completely overhauled the software development industry. In fact, the core principles have been slowly adopted it other verticals as well with just as much success. It has grown from four simple statements into an ideology literally shaping the working culture to this day. Agile has changed throughout the years with new models emerging and new technology releasing to perpetuate its growth. After all, it’s not the strongest who survive but the most adaptable. So, what so special about it and how does it save money?
Agile software development is a set of principles based on iterative programming that determines how the development life cycle goes. More specifically it describes a type of methodology that is responsive to frequent changes. Technology constantly evolves and the requirements of clients often shift. As a response, Agile provides you with an environment where you can quickly adapt and remain efficient and innovative.
In an Agile company, you see tight collaboration between largely self-organized specialists that work together across departments to deliver a product that aligns with the needs of the client. Project management makes that possible. But what is Agile project management? It’s an approach that takes the core of Agile software development and applies it to the organization of the development process.
This focus on rapid delivery, teamwork, accountability, and adaptation is what makes Agile so loved by both developers and clients alike.
Agile goes beyond just software or web development. You’ll often hear that Agile is a mindset. It is based on the ability to adapt and respond to change. When the situation or demands are uncertain it helps you thrive regardless.
Originally the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was written in February of 2001. The fact that it is still just as if not more relevant only cements the core idea behind its principles. It is beautiful in its simplicity. With only four statements it has shaped the entire landscape of software development. These values are:
These values have been expanded to twelve principles:
By considering the described benefits it’s easy to see how they can be converted into profit. First of all, let’s look at the flexibility Agile offers. For example, you have ordered the development of a custom information system for your business. While that’s being done your business encounters a major problem either your funding is massively cut, a global pandemic hits, or whatever else. You could have used the money that you’ve already paid for development on other matters. Now you have no money and a system that nobody uses because nobody is there to use it. With Agile and it’s incremental payments you’d still have funds and the potential to shift the focus of the development to more relevant features, like employee monitoring for example, and postpone the rest until your business recovers. Agile allows you to not get stuck in a hole you can’t get out of.
Agile is a guarantee that you will get the product you actually will use and that solves your business problems. Building custom software can be risky. It’s expensive and you may get an app that doesn’t do what you need it to do. Agile software development completely mitigates that risk. You know your business better than anyone. By offering your expert feedback you guarantee that your investment in software will pay off.
If you run a software development firm, Agile is just as lucrative as for the client. First of all, adhering to Agile methodologies engages the developers and reducing burnout and turnover. Also, the wastage is reduced drastically. You don’t spend extra hours on unnecessary features and waste the client’s budget. The teamwork-oriented approach helps the developers deliver higher quality products faster since everyone knows what the others are doing. That helps you avoid multiple people working on the same thing independently and promotes knowledge sharing which raises the profile of your staff.
We have mentioned how Agile is not just a software development practice. The Agile Manifesto can be applied to most forms of work. Naturally, after its success in the technology sector, other areas took notice. Adaptation to change is a cornerstone of business resilience and change is ever-present. An increasing number of organizations choose to structure their internal processes in accordance with the principles described earlier. However, Agile is indeed a mindset. It must be applied on a company-wide scale to fully reap the benefits of it.
The days of traditional waterfall programming are long gone. Its rigid nature has proved to cause many expensive problems. The principles and ideas of the Agile Manifesto have inspired multiple approaches to software development. Let’s look at several of these methodologies and see what they do differently and what they bring to the table.
Scrum is the most popular methodology under the Agile banner. It’s a framework where the SDLC is separated into short “sprints”. Each of them has a goal, a set of tasks, and often takes no longer than two weeks. After the end of each sprint, the cross-functional team analyzes their work and starts planning the next one. Most of the time the term Agile is used by a software development company, Scrum-like model is what they are talking about. Being the most popular one, it is often the go-to starting point for any firm trying out being Agile.
Kanban is another one of the wider spread approaches to Agile project management. It focuses on the visual element of completing tasks and is popular for the use of task boards. They help the team see who is working on what at any particular moment which promotes teamwork. Kanban’s 3 principles are:
Lean is the prime example of how Agile can be applied to other verticals rather than software development. It originated in Toyota for manufacturing. However, the creation of software along with many other industries also successfully follows this model. The three main pillars of lean are:
This helps companies eliminate waste, improve processes, and promote innovation.
While still popular, this model is considered by some to be somewhat controversial. Extreme programming (XP) takes the principles of Agile and, as the name suggests, pushes them to an extreme. The software is delivered rapidly and continuously. The involvement of the client is even higher than in other methodologies, the testing and delivery are done continuously, and working software is released at frequent intervals. Pair programming is often integrated into XP. While one developer is coding the other one is doing code review with them switching roles after some time to eliminate the downtime.
It’s perhaps the most illustrative approach to Agile. You pick elements that work for you from the other methodologies and create a workflow that gives you the best results. This is the nature of what Agile is all about. Hybrid models differ from one company to another. Having such a model in place is a sign of an experienced team and is a huge indicator of the quality of their work.
Throughout our time in the software development industry, we have tried out a number of different approaches to find one that would fit us most. Some were more successful than others but there always was something that we could learn from and take on board. Sprint system from Scrum, visualization boards from Kanban, and so on. As a result, we have formed our own Hybrid methodology with the following software development life cycle:
If during the planning stage we see that the project requires us to modify this structure, our experience enables us to pick an approach that yields better results. We offer our clients full transparency and the ability to be involved in the creation process. This is what makes Digital Skynet Agile.
Agile software development is not just a buzzword. In essence, it is a philosophy so many companies take as a foundation of their work. You can see how it has shaped multiple industry sectors and transformed labor to be not just more efficient but also more focused on real people. Change - no matter the scale - is only one thing that is constant. Agile helps you ride its waves and stay on top.