Understanding Agile Software Development Methodology

Agile is the Standard for Software Development Teams

Ask any software development company about their preferred work methodologies, and you’ll probably hear the name “agile” sooner rather than later. That’s hardly a surprise. A recent survey shows that agile adoption in the software industry reaches a staggering 91% of teams. You could say that agile is a standard for software development teams – and you wouldn’t be wrong. 

Yet, even for its vast popularity, many people still have doubts about what the Agile software development methodology entails. You’d be surprised by how many companies that claim to be agile-led don’t genuinely grasp it in its entirety. That’s because there is a certain amount of confusion around it.

Given that BairesDev has always been an agile-driven company that uses it for the vast majority of its projects, we felt it was a good idea to share the knowledge we’ve gathered throughout the years. Thus, you’ll find the answers to the fundamental questions you might have around agile, simply put so you can benefit from agile.

Understanding Agile Software Development Methodology 3

What is Agile?

Agile is a mindset, a way of approaching software development that promotes the continuous improvement of a particular product through different iterations. Thus, it covers a set of frameworks and practices powered by the 12 principles defined in the agile manifesto, which are as follows:

1. Customer satisfaction is the highest priority, which can be achieved through the continuous delivery of valuable software.
2. Changing requirements are always welcome, even in the late stages of development.
3. Delivery of working software should be frequent, with a preference for a bi-weekly time frame.
4. Software engineers have to work with executives and stakeholders throughout development.
5. Developers need all the support and motivation to get the job done.
6. Team conversations and discussions should mostly be face-to-face.
7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
8. Development should be sustainable (i.e., have a constant pace)
9. Agility is enhanced through technical excellence and sound design.
10. Simplicity is essential.
11. Self-organizing teams provide the best architectures, requirements, and designs.
12. The team should reflect on their work at regular intervals as to come up with improvements to the way they do things.

The agile mentality lives by these principles and tries to follow them at all times. Thus, software development companies that use Agile stick to them as carefully as possible. You could say that agile is all about teams working together because, in the end, agile is about the collaboration between self-organizing teams aiming for the best possible results. In the simplest terms possible, agile is a mindset that can guide development teams on how to build products and adapt to changes and varying needs.

What is an Agile Methodology?

We defined agile as a mindset, so what is an agile software development methodology? An agile methodology is the group of conventions any team follows during development, which is ultimately guided by the principles defined above. Thus, there are many agile methodologies out there because different teams can approach the same principles in different ways.

When a specific methodology gets so popular, more and more teams adopt it to the point where they become some standard. That’s what happened with Scrum, probably the most well-known methodology, which has become one of the most widely used methods in software development. It got so popular that it’s now referred to as a framework; it is a guide that needs to be adapted for each specific team.

It’s important to distinguish between agile and Scrum because many believe they are interchangeable, primarily when referring to software development. That’s not true. Agile is a mindset, a way of thinking, and doing things. It’s all about working in short cycles, providing incremental deliverables, getting feedback, and providing value from the get-go. It’s an approach.

Scrum, for its part, is a framework. That means it provides you with tools, values, artifacts, roles, ceremonies, and best practices. It’s an application of the agile principles, but it’s far from being the only one. There are other agile methodologies besides Scrum, including Lean, Kanban, and Extreme Programming (XP), among others.

How Does Agile Work in Software Development?

Contrary to what you might believe, agile isn’t restricted to software development. Since it’s a mindset, it can be used in any project that calls for teams to work together to get the best results. That can happen in virtually any sector, from the finance world to the manufacturing field. The reason why agile has become so associated with software development is that software development teams adopted agile in troves because it’s such a natural fit for working on digital solutions.

Thus, software development companies use agile in their different projects to emphasize incremental delivery, team collaboration, and continual planning and learning. For us at BairesDev, that feels like the perfect way to go, because we can provide better results by including multiple feedback instances throughout the development cycle. In other words, our clients can see the product as it grows and provide valuable feedback instead of seeing the product for the first time near the end of development.

The focus of agile development is to create minimum viable products (MVPs) that pass through several iterations, each of which provides incremental value. Throughout those iterations, the development team discusses the progress (both internally and with clients, end-users, and stakeholders). The feedback from those discussions is implemented in future iterations to align the product to everyone’s expectations better.

Benefits of Agile in Software Development

Agile isn’t just an excellent mindset for its ability to organize work. It’s also a fantastic approach to access several benefits. Agile is so good that it benefits everyone involved in the software development process. Here are the advantages we’ve seen when using an agile approach to development in our projects:

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    Development team benefits
    Developers work more closely together, enjoying improved feedback that allows them to work on valuable tasks without wasting time in non-productive work. They also feel more involved, as their input is essential by design.
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    Management benefits
    Project managers have more control and flexibility to monitor and reprioritize work. Agile methodologies also provide more visibility to the development progress, which allows for better planning, both on a development level as well as on a more business level.
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    Development company benefits
    Development companies see a significant drop in the time to market for their products. Additionally, those products are of higher quality, which improves customer satisfaction and boosts retention.
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    Customer benefits
    Businesses that work with agile software development companies find that the resulting products are more aligned with their goals. They are more involved in the development process, which results in products that are closer to their expectations. Besides, the high-quality of products resulting from agile methods increases customer satisfaction.

The Golden Standard for Software Development

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why software development companies have embraced agile as their preferred approach to work. It fosters team collaboration, increases the motivation of everyone involved, makes strategic use of feedback, better adapts to unforeseen changes, and impacts positively in the final product’s quality. 

That’s why agile is so popular today – and why we’ll continue to see more companies adopting it, not just in software development, but in all kinds of businesses. The associated benefits are too great to ignore and can make a huge difference in team collaboration. We should know – BairesDev uses agile methodologies for all of its projects, which results in increased customer satisfaction. Contact us now and let us tell you how our agile approach can benefit your digital transformation!

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