The world is moving to Agile and for all good reasons. It allows your teams to collaborate better and achieve the end results quickly. But is that all there is to Agile? Is that the only reason for its increased adoption rate and popularity? Not quite! There is more.
With this blog, we will take a deep dive into the world of Agile software development and try to understand all the ins and outs of the process by discussing its definition, pros, cons, working, and roles and responsibilities. Let’s get started!
What is Agile Methodology?
The Agile software development methodology is a process that enables your IT teams to rapidly move through a development cycle. It also helps them incorporate all the proposed changes by the client or internal stakeholders along the way.
In short, it defines your teams’ ability to respond and adapt to changes in an ever-evolving environment. By being Agile, you can overcome obstacles with proper planning and analysis of current situations. Most people are under the impression that Agile is a software development framework while it’s not. On the contrary, Agile is an ideology.
Perceive Agile as a mindset that is an amalgamation of practices, such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, etc. Agile is an ideal way to keep the client in the loop and posted on the process progress. Not only this, but it also provides them a deep, better, and thorough understanding of the process. And the best part — Agile is a change-friendly approach, i.e., you make new changes and process client requests as and when required. Here are some key aspects of Agile:
- Agile focuses more on the who than the what and how.
- An actual piece of work holds more value than any robust documentation.
- Client involvement is a crucial factor in Agile.
- Always keep some scope for implementing and embracing new changes.
Pros and Cons of Agile Development Process
To understand Agile completely, its definition and key aspects aren’t enough. One must be aware of its pros and cons too. Take a look here:
- Agile provides the customers with a look and feel of the project progress throughout the process.
- At the end of each iteration or sprint, customers get a working software that perfectly aligns with their expectations, requirements, and set standards.
- Agile allows your development teams to be more responsive to the changing requirements than ever before. It enables them to accommodate changes even if they arise in the advanced stages of development.
- Agile establishes a constant, seamless two-way communication between you and the client that helps keep the customers involved. Hence, all stakeholders — business and technical — get clear visibility on the project’s progress.
- Lastly, it helps create an efficient design of a product that fulfills business requirements.
- Agile doesn’t prefer comprehensive documentation. It often leads to agile teams incorrectly interpreting: agile doesn’t require documentation. You can avoid this by continuously analyzing if you have sufficient information to proceed or not.
- Sometimes, the client requirements are not crystal clear, and teams might proceed without seeking clarity. It leads to changes in the later development phases. While incorporating those changes is easier in agile, it is not very easy to maintain the same end goals with those changes.
Agile vs. Waterfall: How Agile Really Works
Winston Royce presented the Waterfall approach back in 1970. It was intended to be used in the development of government projects. But later, social apps like Instagram and utility apps like Uber used this approach to increase their reach. The name “Waterfall” comes from its design of cascade activities that go through phases starting from analysis, requirements, specification, design, development, testing, and maintenance.
Traditional IT managers developed a lot of software using the Waterfall approach, but it has some limitations that caused several problems during the software development process. And that is the part where Agile comes into the picture!
- On contrary to the Waterfall approach, Agile follows an iterative technique. Agile has many cycles called “sprints.” All these sprints are individually designed, developed, and tested.
- Each sprint acts as a miniature project that has its own pre-defined scope of work which includes backlog, design, development, testing, and deployment phases.
- A potentially deliverable product is shipped at the end of each sprint, i.e., new features are added to the main software at the end of each iteration.
- In the Waterfall approach, we gather all the requirements at the beginning. Then, all the design is done, followed by the execution of the development part. While Agile, on the other hand, allows business analysts, developers, stakeholders, and designers to work together simultaneously.
Roles and Responsibilities in Agile Development Process
Understanding the roles and responsibilities in the Agile development process is crucial to understanding the Agile software development process. Organizations often find themselves resorting the traditional or waterfall SDLC practices since they lack inappropriate distribution of the following Agile roles and responsibilities:
1. Product Owner
In Agile, a product owner represents the stakeholders of the project. This role focuses on setting the direction for product development or project progress with the following key responsibilities:
- Scrum backlog management
- Release management
- Stakeholder management
The Product Owner is well-versed in the project requirements from a stakeholder’s perspective and holds the necessary soft skills to communicate those requirements to the product development team.
2. Team Lead/Scrum Master
The Team Lead or Scrum Master is responsible for establishing coordination amongst the team. A Team Lead also supports the project progress between individual team members. The main responsibilities of a Team Lead include:
- Facilitating the daily Scrum/Sprint initiatives
- Coaching team members on delivering results
- Handling administrative tasks, such as conducting meetings and facilitating collaboration
- Eliminating hurdles affecting project progress
3. Development Team Members
As the name suggests, it represents the team members within the Development Team with responsibilities including but not limited to product development. It could be a product designer, writer, programmer, tester, UX specialist, etc.
Stakeholders aren’t usually involved in the product development process, but their actions can impact the decisions and work of the Scrum team. Stakeholders may be end-users, business executives, production support staff, investors, external auditors, or scrum team members from associated projects and teams.
There can also be some additional roles for larger Scrum projects, such as technical and domain experts, an independent testing and audit team, an integrator, or an architect owner.
There is no doubt that Agile has a bright future. The future is brighter for its adopters, especially the early ones. But before you decide to move to Agile, you must have your basics clear so you can make an efficient decision. It includes its advantages, disadvantages, working procedure, and all things related to Agile. We hope this blog helps you with that!