5 Benefits of Agile Software Development

Introduction to agile software development: 

Creswell (2003) portrays agile methods as a coherent group of practices that harmonize one another, delivering data and findings that will reflect the research question and suit the researcher’s purpose. 

Agile is the ability to respond to any change and to adapt to a changing environment. It is a relevant approach for software development and project management since it provides users with an efficient and seamless deliverance of services. 

Agile software development is a group of software development methodologies based on an iterative process that helps in building softwares in small phases rather than following an end to end sequential approach. This encourages an orderly process and eliminates all last-minute changes. As modernization takes over, this efficient approach is on the rise! 

As of today, the society is moving towards a consumer centric approach and every company wants to prioritise the demands and work in ways that affect their customer satisfaction. This includes providing them with efficient yet the best-ever solutions. Most companies are now opting for agile software development for this purpose. 

The ability to be agile and to change according to the adapting world is vital to modern software solutions. This allows companies to gain insights of the changing world and prevents them from lagging behind in the competitive market. 

This type of development focuses on adapting to change and delivering a functioning software as soon as possible. Keeping the iterative approach in mind, it emphasizes development, team collaboration, and process continuation throughout rather than piling it up for the last few days of the project. 

So the idea is to break the project down into smaller more manageable parts and then run end to end development cycle, starting from requirement gathering, design and development to UAT and go live, on each part individually.

It also comprises of various activities such as continuous integration, test-driven creation, sprints, and meetings schedules.

Another distinct characteristic that defines it is that it’s more oriented towards the workforce creating the software. It is based on the idea of teamwork and collaboration, which as a result improves communication and provides efficient results. The principle behind agile software development is to provide a set of guidelines for the process and functions of software development. Following these principles helps in making the process more efficient and effective.

Teams in agile software development are cross-functional. This ensures that everyone in the team has the correct skill-set and works together coherently. This does not mean that they require no supervision. The expertise and communication between the team still leave room for a manager, enabling the processes to run smoothly, thus leaving no room for error.

Scrum is one of the popular terms used for agile software development, at times assumed as a method. However, it is more of a framework than a method, as methodological results are standard and can be generalized. It is one of the most used Agile umbrella frameworks that can help organizations become more agile. 

Benefits of agile software development

Agile is an effective software development tool. It not only provides proper workflow and enhanced productivity, but it also offers a range of corporate advantages for the company as well. 

It allows product managers to deal in a more organized manner with many typical project pitfalls (such as expense, predictability of the schedule, and scope creep).

Increased stakeholder and team collaboration 

Agile software development provides a handful of opportunities for stakeholders and team to engage and collaborate. This occurs before the development phase starts, in between the development, and after the project completion.

 Moreover, they also include the client in every step of the development process, this not only increases the collaboration between the end user and the team, but also helps the team understand the client’s vision and expectations better! 

Agile allows the stakeholders to be more deeply engaged in the project and increases their element of trust in the team and its ability to deliver high quality softwares timely! This also allows the entire team of developers, and stakeholders to pour in their expertise that increases the success chances of the project on the whole. 

Agile methodologies also focus on creating a collective sense of goals for the team. This provides the team with a sense of purpose and urge to get more work done efficiently. It also allows to effectively measure the development team’s accountability and degree of commitment. This helps in understanding the team’s dedication towards the project and the end result. 

Earlier deliveries 

Once the team knows their velocity as a result of agile methodologies, their pace of working increases and becomes more efficient. This also allows the team to accurately plan their project and this results in efficient deliveries. 

Agile uses methodologies such as time-boxed, and fixed scheduling of sprint, that allows for earlier and more predictable deliveries. 

Agile also allows the software to get to market faster! The sooner it reaches the market, the better it is. It also fastens the process of licensing the software and raises more cash. This is a result of the efficiency that results out of using agile. 

Moreover, the company can gather customer feedback on the first version of the software to make the next version better. Being agile allows companies to prioritise the development process of the software and deliver it to users faster. 

This also provides organisations with the opportunity to beta test the software earlier than planned. 

Improved quality 

One of the greatest benefits of agile software development is improved software quality. It allows to break down the project into smaller and manageable parts, so that the team can focus on macro development. The breakdown of units allows for more attention and focus on all aspects of the project. This at the end leads to an improved quality on the whole. 

Moreover, the testing and collaboration between the team allows for testing after every phase of production. This produces frequent builds and allows for reviews during each iteration phase. This adds to the quality because all the defects are found and improved timely and efficiently. 

Adopting agile software development allows the organisations to deliver solutions on time as well as with a higher level of client satisfaction. The ability to incorporate feedback from the process of development allows the team to improve their performance and quality side by side! 

Agile allows organisations to prioritize and focus on the aspects that provide the biggest impact to the businesses and aid them in providing value faster. 

User-focused approach 

Agile development uses user expectations to define product features. When the features are based upon the needs and expectations of real users, you are not just delivering features but are incrementally delivering value as well. 

Moreover, beta testing the software after every stage of development allows the organization to gain feedback earlier in the cycle and enables them to make changes as needed. 

It allows the team to adapt and respond to changing plans effectively and increases their productivity over time to bear the workload that awaits them. This maintains a high potential for customer satisfaction since they are getting what they want.

Agile software development also allows for the clients to be significantly involved in the development process. This continued interaction between the client and the development team removes confusion of what the client wants and what the developers are going to provide. This collaboration between them provides frequent room for feedback to ensure that the team is on course in achieving the set goals and maintaining user satisfaction. 

Transparency 

Last but not least, agile software development also allows for the clients to be involved in the development process throughout. This involves gaining their feedback in iteration planning, review sessions, software builds, and planning out any new features.

Unlike a waterfall model, agile allows for change. The team remains focused on achieving the set milestones of delivering the project, moverever there is an added benefit for them to constantly refine the product on the whole and to introduce any new features if required prior to the release. 

At times, companies build something exactly as per plan but it turns out to be not what the end users wanted. Instead of finding that out after 6 months of the release, agile allows them to gain feedback timely and iterate accordingly! 

Agile is highly transparent. From the stakeholders to the development team, everyone knows the process and team roles. When the entire team is on-board in understanding the macro project, it tends to move forward at a faster pace. 

Conclusion:

Agile is an efficient methodology for software development. It not only provides the development team and the organization with a number of benefits, but also provides certain benefits to the end-user. It helps the organization deal with issues like predictability, timely deliveries, etc in a slightly more efficient manner. 

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