8 Insane Things (Benefits) About Agile Software Development!
The benefits of Agile software development have been a limelight topic across software blogs and discussion forums for some time now. But there are many people, businesses, and organizations, who still stay oblivious to this awesome, powerful, and result-oriented software development methodology. Let’s dive into what Agile development actually is and some of its benefits. We will start with a non-software example and move on.
Imagine a scenario: You shared your ideas of your dream wedding gown to your closest pal a couple of years ago. Your marriage is fixed now and you get a surprise gift from your best pal. You excitedly unwrap the gift but disappointment springs in immediately as you see the gift. It’s a wedding gown as described to her two years back! You are not able to admire it now. Because your perception and taste have changed. Now you want a gown with nature motifs, exquisite pearls, and prairie ruffles. And this gown looks a bit old fashioned now and it’s not easy to make changes to it.
This is what happens when you start building a product without applying a level of pragmatism to the delivery of the finished product. In other words, this happens when you are not following an Agile methodology!
If only that friend in the above example contacted you to know your latest preferences; if only she had consulted and involved you in the design phase; if only she had openly discussed her gift idea with you!
It would have avoided the risk of dislike and disappointment. It would have ensured the happiness of the end user.
Though the above example may sound a bit awkward, let me put the idea straight. Agile software development is all about flexibility, iterative changes, increased value, adaptability, and reduced risk.
Now, it’s time to move on to know the benefits of Agile software development.
Agile Software Development in a Nutshell
Agile development methodology is touted as the best practice to deliver software projects. It’s all about delivering tested, working, adaptable software on an incremental basis. The focus here is getting the work done that really matters.
The Agile software development starts by engaging an Agile team of software developers. They would initiate the project by taking up a small portion of work. They would assess the progress, collect feedback, and integrate them on a continuous basis.
Iterative work is the star here. The development team will complete tasks in short cycles by taking up small portions of the overall project at one time.
This saves the trouble of spending hours or days sketching a detailed project plan that may or may not match the project’s execution.
Agile Manifesto, a set of principles and values for Agile software development, lists out the guidelines to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. They are:
- Individual interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over thorough documentation
- Collaboration over contract negotiation
- Quick response to change over project planning
Agile software development is based on the above four pillars. Adherence to these principles makes it an iterative, time-boxed, people-oriented, and result-intensive method.
Let’s explore the benefits of Agile software development. This will be a great eye-opener as to why the Agile development methodology is apt to deliver software projects.
1. Enhanced Stakeholder Engagement
Agile software development ensures excellent collaboration between stakeholders and development teams.
It is actually in this partnership that the entire development process thrives. They work closely and stay motivated throughout the project.
The close association of the team with the client helps the team to glean more customer insights and understand their business goals clearly.
The team delivers a working product with a new feature at the end of each iteration/SPRINT helping the client to have more confidence and trust. They feel greatly inspired to engage in the project, improving the final product further.
2. Improved Transparency
Agile software development gives primary importance to visibility and transparency. It lets the clients and the development teams see and acquaint themselves with the product from inception to completion.
There are no hide and seek games. There are no surprises as there is nothing unknown at any time.
As clients are involved in the project from start to end, they are able to monitor the evolution and suggest feedback at any time.
They have their say in every stage; be it feature prioritization, iteration planning, review and software build, etc. This visibility ensures transparency and thereby boost confidence and engagement from all the parties involved.
3. Early and Predictable Delivery
In agile development methodology, the mind-set of the team is to do the best possible job in a fixed amount of time, rather than doing the best possible job no matter how long it takes. In other words, it follows a strict time-boxed approach.
Let me explain it further. Every software development project is wrapped in a fixed schedule of 1-4 week Sprints. Each Sprint sees the delivery of new features (MVPs).
This quick and frequent delivery guarantees the predictability of the project besides offering an opportunity to release or beta test the software earlier than the intended time.
This is a definite boost as it helps the client to hit the market early with killer features.
4. Foreseeable Costs and Schedule
As I already mentioned, there is nothing unpredictable in an ideal Agile development arrangement. As the project development is organized around different Sprints of fixed durations, the cost involved is based on the tasks taken up in each of these time-boxes.
This helps the customers to get clarity on each feature cost and helps in making informed decisions. They will get to know how to prioritize the features and how many additional iterations may come up.
5. Allows for Change
Agile software development never despises changes. It welcomes changes and alterations thanks to its inherent flexibility. Evolving software in response to changes in business environment and/or market requirements is the crux of Agile development methodology.
The agile development team works on an agreed upon subsection of features in each iteration. Stakeholders have the freedom to give feedback after each Sprint delivery.
The team can improve and reprioritize the overall product backlog. They can prioritize the backlog items for the next Sprint.
The backlog items get an opportunity to have changes and makeovers as per the market demand and changes in business value.
6. Focuses on Business Value
If delivering the right software product to the right market at the right time with the right process is your mantra, Agile software development is your solution. Because Agile methodology focuses on business value with utmost efforts and that's the only way to deliver the right product.
Many traditional software development methodologies fail because of the mismatch between product vision and the team’s understanding of it.
By keeping the client in the loop throughout the project and by allowing him to partake in feature prioritizing, the team can better grasp what’s most important to the client’s business.
This in turn helps them to deliver products that fulfil the business value.
7. Focuses on Users
Agile development methodology is all about user-centered design. Providing value for the customer is the focus here. The idea of delivering working software frequently is to keep the needs of the users in line.
Early delivery of software to the customers (after each Sprint) allows for beta tests and usability trials. This helps customers to realign their priorities.
All this ensures excellent end user experience once the product is released to the market.
8. Superior Quality
Quality is the most non-negotiable thing in Agile development. Teams make every possible effort to deliver a fully functioning, exceptional, and potentially shippable increment every iteration.
Getting into iterative development and deployments does not convey the true meaning of Agile. Agility without quality is useless.
Requirements and solutions should evolve through collaboration among self-organizing and cross-functional teams. Breaking down the project into manageable units, motivates the team to focus on best-quality development, testing, and collaboration. Quality gets immediate priority as the team finds and fixes defects continuously.
The essence of agile software development is building software incrementally from the start of the project, rather than delivering it all at once near the end.
You will be excited to know that Agile is the norm at many world-leading organizations like KPMG, Boston Consulting Group, General Electric, Ernst & Young, Adobe, Accenture, Deloitte, and so on. We, at Bridge Global, are proud to be one of the expert custom software development companies to join this club.
As the Agile experts say, Agile is not something that organizations do, it is something that they become. Yes. Agile is a mindset. Inculcating agile values is a challenging task for many companies. Do you feel that the present culture in your organization is getting in the way of realizing agile values? You can call us for expert advice as we have been through it and managed to emerge successfully.
Have a great day!