Pros and Cons of Using Agile Methodology in Software Development
Managers and departments are always employing different strategies and approaches to make sure their projects, objectives, and deadlines are aligned with their respective schedules.
Agile methodology is a way of project management in such a way that each part of a project gets equal planning and execution phases before reaching completion.
Knowing more about Agile Methodology can benefit you in discovering different approaches to project and product handling. In this article, we will discuss Agile Methodology, its application in Software Development, as well as its benefits and drawbacks.
What is Agile Methodology?
Agile methodology is a way of managing projects that involves breaking them down into smaller tasks, completing them in short sprints, and incorporating feedback along with each cycle.
The team cycles through the planning, development, and testing phases from the start of the project to work collaboratively in achieving various project goals.
The agile development methodology as a project management approach incorporates four core principles, which are:
- People over Processes:
Agile methodology values individual team members in accomplishing projects rather than relying on tools and processes. For instance, a supervisor using this strategy will call a full team meeting rather than run tests to resolve a process problem.
- Working software over documentation:
Although it is important to document details in any project for accuracy and accountability, the agile management method values real-time solutions to issues instead of excessive documentation.
- Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation:
Agile management way prioritizes collaborating and communicating with different departments and clients to reach a certain goal instead of compromising on the contract or promised materials. This helps in adhering to the benchmarks more reliably without having to change goals to meet the expected results.
- Change Responses over Plan change:
Departments using Agile methodology avoid compromising contract terms, instead they change their responses when they can’t adhere to their plan fully. For instance, if a team realizes that they won’t be able to finish a deadline in time, they are quick to change the aspects of their process rather than the current goal to make things feasible.
The Agile Software Development Model:
The Agile development methodology is a process for designing, delivering, and testing high-quality software at the lowest cost and in the shortest possible time.
It is a set of principles and values that prioritize flexibility and collaboration, here are some key ways that Agile can be implemented in software development:
- Breaking the project into small iterations:
As mentioned above, Agile development breaks the project into smaller, manageable iterations. Each iteration focuses on a specific set of requirements and produces a working software increment.
- Prioritizing communication and collaboration:
Teams powered with agile, prioritize communication and collaboration among teammates, stakeholders, and customers. They use techniques like daily stand-up meetings, sprint planning sessions, and retrospectives to ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Embracing change:
Change is always expected and team members are prepared to adapt to new requirements or feedback from stakeholders. Instead of rigidly sticking to a plan, they use feedback to adjust their approach and ensure they’re building the right product.
- Focusing on delivering working software:
Agile teams prioritize delivering working software as early and often as possible. This allows stakeholders to see progress and provide feedback early in the development process.
- Using user stories to define requirements:
They utilize user stories to define requirements from the perspective of the end user. This ensures that the software meets the needs of its intended users.
- Test early and often:
Testing is valued throughout the development process. This ensures that issues are caught early, and reduces the risk of major defects in the final product.
Types of Agile Methodology in Software Development:
Following are the most commonly used types of agile methodology in software development.
Agile Scrum: Scrum is one of the most widely used agile methodologies in software development. It involves breaking down a project into small, manageable tasks that can be completed in short iterations called “sprints”. During each sprint, the team works on a specific set of tasks and then reviews their progress before moving on to the next sprint.
Lean Software Development: An agile methodology that emphasizes minimizing waste and maximizing value. It is based on the principles of the Toyota Production System and involves continuous improvement and streamlining of processes.
Kanban: Another popular agile methodology that focuses on visualizing and optimizing workflow. Kanban boards are used to track tasks and progress, and the team works together to ensure that work is constantly flowing through the system.
Extreme Programming (XP): The most user-centric development method where the customers work closely with the development team. Extreme Programming is designed to be highly flexible and adaptable to changing requirements. It mainly focuses on software development practices such as continuous testing, pair programming, and frequent releases.
Crystal: An agile approach used for product development, it emphasizes communication and collaboration within the development team rather than processes and tools. Crystal is based on the idea that different projects require different processes and it is highly customizable to meet the needs of each project.
Now that we know the core principles of agile development methodology and let’s compare the pros and cons of applying it to software development.
The Pros of Using Agile Methodology in Software Development:
The agile methodology emphasizes the delivery of working software in small, incremental releases. Allowing teams to quickly respond to changing requirements, and deliver valuable software to users on time.
The Agile approach focuses on continuous improvement through regular feedback and testing. This ensures that quality is built into the software from the start, and any issues are caught early in the development process.
Collaboration between team members, stakeholders, and customers is highly encouraged. This fosters a shared understanding of project goals and helps to ensure that everyone is working towards a common objective.
Agile project management is super flexible and adaptable to change. This results in departments quickly responding to changes in requirements, market conditions, or technology advancements.
Higher Customer Satisfaction:
The customer is at the center of the development process, with regular feedback and involvement in the development process. That ensures higher levels of customer satisfaction and better alignment with customer needs.
What are the Cons/Disadvantages of using Agile Methodology in Software Development?
Lack of Documentation:
The agile way emphasizes working software over comprehensive documentation, which can be a disadvantage in some cases.
Some stakeholders may require detailed documentation, such as legal and regulatory compliance, which Agile teams may struggle to provide.
Lack of Predictability:
The agile model is based on the concept of frequent iterations and changes, which can make it difficult to predict when a project will be completed. This lack of predictability can be challenging for stakeholders who need to plan budgets and timelines.
Requires Highly Skilled Teams:
Highly skilled teams that are self-organizing and can adapt to changes quickly are a necessity. This can be a challenge for some organizations that may not have the necessary resources or expertise to support an Agile development process.
If the customer is not available or does not have the necessary time to collaborate, the Agile process can become difficult to manage.
Limited Scope for Design:
Agile methodology favors iterative and incremental development, which may lead to a lack of attention to design and architecture. This can lead to technical debt and maintenance challenges later on.
Applying Agile development model in software development certainly allows more flexibility than traditional methods. It helps companies to anticipate change and unforeseen circumstances and helps them to counteract setbacks competently.
By doing so organizations are able to value individuals over processes which ultimately increases their product delivery and efficiency.