Software is in development at an all-time high, and the market for software developers is booming like never before. But with all the software developers looking to satisfy their customers, there need to be newer ways to deliver high-quality products at a fast pace.
That’s where the agile methodology helps out. This software development technique has been gaining traction in the past decade because of its ability to deliver microservices at an alarmingly fast rate.
If you’re looking to boost your project management, then agile methodology might be for you. Keep reading to learn more about the process and its benefits.
Brief History of Software Development
The agile methodology process is commonly misinterpreted as a software development technique by many people worldwide. Yet to much surprise, the agile methodology isn’t actually a software development technique. But why is it commonly misinterpreted?
This is because of its relation to other software development techniques such as the linear sequential life cycle model (more commonly known as the waterfall model). If you’re unfamiliar with the waterfall model, it’s just the most widespread process model used for project management. It was the first-ever process model produced.
The waterfall method is fairly simple to use and learn which made it the mainstream software development program. It gets its name from how it works, in that one phase must be completed before the next phase can start with no overlapping.
Each phase goes as follows goes through a pre-established routine that is not subject to change. The process goes as follows: requirements, design, implementation, testing, deployment, and maintenance. Because of how rigid and keen this process is, it is very well-suited for bigger and more uniform projects.
With that in mind, it wasn’t exactly the most ideal for the microservices we see in modern-day software development. Many of the newer small software don’t require such a long process as the waterfall method. Not only are all these steps unnecessary, but they also create delays in project management.
In a day and age where software demand is at an all-time high, we must keep customers happy by providing products to them in a respectable timeframe.
So what do we do?
We fix it. And that’s where agile methodology comes in.
What Is Agile Methodology?
Agile’s popularity and fitness come from its name itself. It’s a fast and easy way to manage your project by producing software in short bursts, rather than a long and time-consuming process.
So we discussed earlier how the mainstream software development technique was very rigid and time-consuming. You have to take the process one step at a time and make sure nothing is overlapping. This process does develop high-quality products but unfortunately can take up to months to develop.
Agile was designed with adaptability and rapid delivery in mind. You break the process of developing software into different components, all of which go through a four-step plan. These four steps include planning, implementing, testing, and reviewing.
During this process, each component can be sent to the customer for feedback and reactions. If there are any necessary changes or adjustments, they can be made while the other components are developing as well. All of this works to increase customer satisfaction and help you manage your project well.
So now we have a process that can help us create software that keeps up with today’s demand. But there’s one thing we’ve yet to expand on thoroughly. That would be that agile methodology is not a software development process.
It’s something slightly different. Let’s take a look.
The Agile Manifesto
Yes, the agile methodology does work in a way similar to other software development techniques. But it’s not something we would lump under the category of software development. Instead, it’s more like a set of values and principles otherwise referred to as the agile manifesto.
Think of it as a project management self-help book. It states certain beliefs and practices you as a project manager should hold to deliver products to customers in the most efficient way possible. As long as you’re staying true to these values and using the process above, then you’re being agile!
But what exactly are these principles and values? Well, they’re mostly client-centered. They were crafted with the customer in mind. Let’s explore some of them here.
So the agile manifesto states that certain aspects of software development and project management are more important than others. While every aspect of these two processes has importance, some of them offer more quality than others do.
For example, the agile manifest prefers that we keep in mind interactions with customers and individuals rather than trying to develop the most high-tech products. You’re putting customer satisfaction and communication above fancy tools and software.
The next value would be to always try to provide functioning software. You want to provide a product to your customer that works. In the agile manifesto, functioning software is highly preferred over extensive documentation.
Much more in line with the first value, we have our third which is collaboration. Staying on the same page as your customer is arguably one of the most important things you can do as a developer. On that note, it’s arguably one of the most important things you can do as any business owner, manager, freelancer, etc. period.
The agile manifesto states that we as software developers should prefer collaborating with customers over sticking to contracts. It’s not a secret that no one likes being bound to a contract. So rather than tying each other to a contract with loopholes, we aim to collaborate with our customers to produce the best working software possible.
Last but not least, the agile manifest prioritizes being adaptable rather than following a strict plan.
Plans are excellent ways of getting projects done. By no means is the agile manifesto implying that you shouldn’t have a plan when creating your software.
However, they aren’t everything. Sometimes things happen and you need to make changes. That’s why it’s important to be adaptable rather than rigid. Not only that but being adaptable has been shown to improve customer satisfaction.
Benefits of Using Agile Methodology
Now aside from being able to provide excellent software to customers at a fast rate, there are many more benefits to using agile methodology. Let us go ahead and take a look at some of them.
1. Minimizes Risks
Remember that long process used in the waterfall method? It seems to be quite perfect, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, there is a drawback to it being that perfected and rigid. Mistakes and errors are commonly left to the very end of the project when it’s ready to get delivered.
The agile methodology reduces the risk of providing faulty products. This is due to your working directly with the customer and the teams you manage. You’re able to collect feedback on the projects daily, so you can make adjustments as soon as they are deemed necessary.
The short bursts of work in agile methodology also provide much-needed room for fixing errors.
2. Reduces Costs of Production
The costs of production are also known as technical debt. They all come as a result of maintenance tasks associated with developing a high-quality product. Because of how clear-cut the previous processes of software development are, maintenance fees can rack up very fast.
What’s even worse, they’re not adjustable mid-development since they have to finish before anything can even be changed. We also have to remember that these processes are very long. So once the project is done, the debt is already sky-high.
Agile methodology helps eliminate this by giving pockets of adjustment within the project. Once there is an error or adjustment found, they’re added to a product backlog.
Members of the development team meet before continuing through each step to address each item on the backlog as they go. This helps identify what is important to the project’s delivery and maintenance as it goes. Thus, you don’t have to wait until the end of the project when debt is high to fix an issue.
3. Control Over Projects
Collaboration is at the center of agile methodology. Each member of every team works with each other on different steps to ensure that everything is done properly and efficiently. You’ve heard the key phrase many times: communication is key.
Project control is one of the key elements of agile methodology. No longer are you having to assume that everything is in control just because it’s going through a long process. You can take grasp every situation as it occurs, knowing that you can make adjustments whenever they are necessary.
Who Should Use It?
Software is ever-changing. Alongside that, the market is always in demand for newer products that can get delivered in a reasonable timeframe. We believe that agile methodology is the future of software development and project management.
Most project managers may at least look into using the agile methodology. This is especially true if you’re juggling multiple clients. What would amplify this, even more, is if your clients are requesting small software with a strict deadline.
This is just because of how excellent that agile methodology is at producing fast results for multiple clients. Your customers don’t want to be kept waiting, so there’s no reason to be using old methods that are just going to delay satisfaction.
Even if you’re not handling multiple clients, you still might benefit from using the agile methodology. Remember that the agile methodology is not just a way to deliver products to your customers. It’s more of a lifestyle.
This goes back to the agile manifesto that we looked into earlier. Gone are the days when we need to bind clients to a rigid contract. Gone are the days when the only time we have communicated with a client is when the product is finished.
It’s time to start taking full control over your project management by using a process that ensures customer satisfaction. That’s exactly what agile methodology does.
Using agile methodology can even boost your ratings among customers. When you’re able to deliver high-quality products at a fast pace to customers while maintaining a good relationship with them, they’re more likely to recommend you to their peers.
This will keep your business intact and a top competitor. It’ll also keep your software products from being undesirable, which is one of the top reasons why businesses fail.
Learning To Be Agile
If you’re considering that agility might be the way for you to go for project management, then you’ll need to learn how to use agile methodology. It’s pretty simple just like its predecessor, the waterfall method, but is slightly more complex.
The complexity mostly comes from following the agile manifesto. Many companies and developers take pride in working on a set schedule with no interruptions.
When working with agile methodology, you need to let go of some of that and learn to prioritize collaboration and adaptability. There are plenty of guides out there on how to learn this, so chances are you’ll be more than okay.
Using Agile Methodology For Your Project Management
The demand for software is skyrocketing throughout the nation, and worldwide too. Software developers and project managers alike are trying to find better ways to develop their products and deliver them to customers in a fast and efficient way.
One of the ways that are gaining huge amounts of popularity is the agile methodology. It’s not exactly a form of software development but helps achieve the same goals.
If you’re looking to use agile methodology for your project, you might want to consider taking a look at some of the blog posts we have here on Nizek. We’re experts in the field of agile methodology, so we know a thing or two about it.
Additionally, we can help you develop your mobile apps by using agile methodology. If you’re interested in some of our products and services, feel free to contact us at any time.