The Agile approach to software was crystallized in 2001, in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. The Manifesto valued...
- Individuals and Interactions over Process and Tools
- Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation
- Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiations
- Responding to Change over Following a Plan
Agile’s continuous delivery approach has many advantages versus a linear, Waterfall methodology. Here’s an overview:
1. Manage Change More Effectively
By creating smaller iterations, the team is able to focus on providing value without needing to get all the requirements up front. At the end of each iteration the team will review the backlog of features and re prioritize where they should invest time in the next sprint.
2. Improved Customer Engagement
Agile requires that the clients are significantly involved in the development process. The development team is going to look to the clients to prioritize what is going into the next sprint and to review work product during review sessions. This continual interaction reduces the confusion between what the client wants and what the developers are going to provide.
3. Focus on the Highest Priorities First
In a software development environment, you have to make many decisions and it’s tough to keep it all straight. Your backlog becomes your ultimate, prioritized to-do list that lives out in the open for all to see.
4. Increased Productivity
Agile makes better use of your resources, allowing them to get started faster and remain productive throughout. With work broken into iterations, there is always a milestone and deadline. Developers are always focused on re factoring and moving forward. They won’t be sitting idle, waiting for work during the discovery and design phase.
5. Product Owner Feedback
With work broken into sprints, it is possible for you to provide feedback before, during and after each one. This collaboration provides frequent opportunities to ensure that the team is on course to achieving the established business goals.
6. A Highly Collaborative Environment
Agile values individuals, interactions and customer collaboration. All team members have buy-in the entire way. The success of the project relies on acknowledging and optimizing each person’s subject matter expertise.
Agile lets you see and become intimately familiar with the product from inception to completion. While watching the application grow, you can provide feedback as it progresses.
After a sprint, the team will know their velocity. This allows for better planning. In future sprints, this will serve as a guide for what they will be able to accomplish.
9. Key Features First
Agile allows us to prioritize and focus on the items that provide the biggest impact to the business to provide value faster.
10. Agree on Clear Definitions
Do the words “ready” and “done” create confusion for your IT team? In the Agile world, you set the parameters for these definitions. “Done” can mean fully tested, or it can mean that it is ready for the client to test. Clear definitions give developers more accountability, and everyone agrees on goals.
11. Improved Transparency
Agile is highly transparent. Everyone from stakeholders to the development team knows what’s getting done, what’s not and who is making decisions. When the entire team understands the big picture, projects tend to move forward faster.
There are several advantage to taking an Agile approach to software development. Getting started requires some work up front in order to reap the benefits of a more successful project in the end.