Are You Using Agile Methodologies for Software Development? If Not, You Should Be and Here Is Why

Agile Methodologies image 3993993Not every software development project turns out to be successful. Some projects may start out with good ideas. However, implementing these ideas and making sure the project fulfills promises is sometimes difficult to achieve as development may stall or collapse with too many ideas presented at once.

This is where agile methodologies come in, as they can help guide a project to completion and overall success. One way to take advantage of a team experienced with these methodologies is to consider outsourcing software development. New teams can bring fresh ideas and experience to the table.

Working with new development teams or bringing new teams onboard projects may be useful for development, as new teams can provide their own methodologies and ideas. They have their own way of doing things and this can be beneficial for stagnant companies looking to achieve more efficient workflows.

Definition of Agile Methodologies

If you are new to software development or are not used to terms such as agile methodology, you may be surprised to hear that your team may already be using one of these methodologies . This is because many companies have project management to take care of the aspects of workflow while developers just focus on their tasks at hand.

The phrase agile methodologies refers to short development cycles called sprints. These sprints focus on the continuous improvement of a product or service as it is being developed. With that said, these are the 12 principles on which agile methodologies are founded on:

  1. Customer satisfaction is always the highest priority and is achieved through rapid and continuous delivery.
  2. Changing environments are embraced at any stage of the process to provide the customer with a competitive advantage.
  3. Products or services are delivered with high frequency.
  4. Stakeholders and developers collaborate closely on a daily basis.
  5. All stakeholders and team members remain motivated for optimal project outcomes, while teams are provided with all the necessary tools and support.
  6. Face-to-face meetings are deemed the most efficient and effective format for project success.
  7. A final working product is the ultimate measure of success.
  8. Sustainable development is accomplished through agile processes in which development teams and stakeholders are able to maintain a constant and ongoing pace.
  9. Agility is enhanced through a continuous focus on both technical excellence and proper design.
  10. Simplicity is an essential element to design.
  11. Self-organizing teams are most likely to develop the best architectures and designs and to meet requirements.
  12. Regular intervals are used by teams to improve efficiency through fine-tuning behaviors.

Focusing on a Productive Environment

If you are a project manager in a software company, run a development team or an entire company focusing on software, you may think that these principles defining the various agile methodologies are just common sense. However, all companies have different approaches and long-term visions driving their workflows.

Development teams should be provided with all the tools they need to function at their most productive state, and this is easier said than done. This is particularly so with smaller companies and startups, where developers may be working with outdated hardware or different versions of development languages than their colleagues.

Agile Methodologies Offer Development Flexibility, Collaboration and More

Agile methodology principles foster collaboration and efficiency for a wide range of tasks within continuous development. These methodologies focus on allowing developers to quickly adjust and fix issues that may arise during development.

Despite sharing the same principles, each methodology offers its own methods along with tactics, terminology and practices. Here are a few of them defined:

  • Agile Scrum Methodology: the product owner works closely with his or her team to identify and prioritize system functionality with a product backlog. This product backlog consists of bug fixes, features and more to successfully deliver working software to end-users. Cross-functional teams will estimate and aim to deliver increments of software during successive sprints that typically last 30 days each.
  • Lean Software Development: this agile methodology focuses on a development team delivering value to end-users. It is done using effective value stream mapping. This is a visual approach showing value streams as they are in their current states. It also allows companies to discover wastes within their production processes.
  • Extreme Programming (XP): this methodology is based around the notion that beneficial elements of traditional software development practices are taken to extreme levels through speed and delivery. Code reviews are considered beneficial and code can be reviewed continuously through pair-programming practices. This methodology is based around the four simple values of simplicity, communication, feedback and courage.

Do They Work for Every Project?

Despite their strengths, agile methodologies are not always the best option or the ultimate solution to all issues during project management. They have their drawbacks like all methods depending on the task at hand. For instance, if the team and management are inexperienced or don’t function well under pressure.

It is a good idea to at least familiarize yourself with its principles and some of their variants, as any company can always improve their workflow or find that edge in efficiency and speed. Thus, if you find your teams lacking in this regard, consider hiring an outsourced team to work alongside your existing teams and they may bring some of these methodologies to the table.