What is Agile Methodology in Project Management?

What is Agile Software Development?

Agile (sometimes written Agile) methods in software development include self-organizing and cross-functional teams working together with their customer/end-user to identify requirements and create solutions. Agile software development promotes agile responses to change and adaptive preparation, evolutionary growth, early implementation, and continuous improvement.

Agile methodology

Any development phase that adheres to the Agile Manifesto and principles is referred to as agile development. A group wrote the Agile ManifestoThe Agile Manifesto of fourteen prominent tech industry leaders.

It represents their knowledge of what techniques work and don’t work in software development. The Agile manifesto ideals and principles were drawn from and underpin a wide variety of software development systems, including Scrum and Kanban.

  • Advantages Include: 
    • Software deployment is faster, which contributes to the customer’s increased confidence.
    • Not the method, but the people. People and relationships are given precedence over processes and tools.
    • Allows for immediate feedback, which it can then use to enhance the program in the next update.
    • Can adapt and react more quickly to rapidly changing requirements.
    • Consistent emphasis on technological performance and aesthetics.
  • Disadvantages Include:
    • Only senior programmers are capable of making the kinds of decisions needed during production.
    • Agile development focuses on the code and provides less documentation.
    • It’s difficult to estimate the effort needed early on in the software development life cycle for large software projects.
    • In large organizations, face-to-face contact is more complicated.
    • The customer’s feedback is critical in agile growth. If the customer’s view of the result is ambiguous, the project is more likely to go off track.

History of Agile Software Development

Software development had a bit of a problem in the 1990s. The industry realized it couldn’t move quickly enough to satisfy consumer demands and requirements, dubbed the “application development crisis” or “application delivery lag” because the average time between a business need and actual application was around three years. 

Traditional production models used a timeline approach, in which development took place in stages, and the finished product wasn’t revealed to consumers until the very last step. As a result, by the time an actual application was completed, it was highly likely that the project’s initial goals’ specifications and processes had changed.

The lag was even longer than three years in some industries. The aerospace and defense industries may take 20 years or more before a complex device is used. The Space Shuttle program, which was operationally launched in 1982 and used information and processing technology from the 1960s, is an extreme but not uncommon example. Highly complex hardware and software systems were frequently planned, built, and implemented over a decades-long period.

Agile Software Development Values And Principles:

  • Individuals And Interactions Over Processes And Tools:

The first importance emphasizes coordination and teamwork. We must recognize that software development is a human activity in which the quality of human interaction is critical. Interactions over processes and tools working are essential in software development, but excellent software requires teamwork regardless of the tools working software.

  • Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation Customer Collaboration: 

Working software over comprehensive documentation means that documentation has its location, and it may serve as a valuable resource or guide for both users and colleagues. However, software development aims to create software that provides business benefits rather than extensive documentation.

  • Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation:

The customer collaboration over contract negotiation responding to change signifies that customers and software development teams must collaborate and meet regularly. Teams can gain a better understanding of what all stakeholders want by listening to and receiving input.

  • Responding To Change Over Following A Plan:

Changes are an inevitable part of software growth, and the software development process should represent this fact. A project schedule must be adaptable enough to adjust as circumstances dictate.

12 Basic Values and Principles of Agile Manifesto 

  • Deliver working applications regularly, anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, with a shorter time frame preference.
  • Build projects with people who are passionate about what they’re doing. Give them space and resources they need, and trust them to complete the task.
  • Face-to-face communication is the most reliable and effective way of conveying knowledge to and within a production team.
  • Customer fulfillment is our top priority, so we produce useful software on time and schedule.
  • Working software is the most critical indicator of success.
  • Changes in specifications are welcome, even if they occur late in the development process. Agile product development takes advantage of the transition to help customers gain a competitive advantage.
  • Agile systems aid sustainable development. Sponsors, creators, and users should all be able to keep up with speed indefinitely.
  • Self-organizing teams provide the best architectures, specifications, and designs.
  • Throughout the project, business people and the development team must collaborate regularly.
  • The development team focuses on becoming more successful at regular intervals, then tunes and changes its actions accordingly.

Benefits Of Agile Software Development 

  • Engagement of Stakeholders

Before, during, and after each Sprint, Agile development offers many stakeholder and team participation opportunities. Since the client is working on every aspect of the project, they are in constant touch with the project team.

This gives the team more chances to comprehend its vision better. Delivering working software early and often builds stakeholder trust in the team’s ability to produce high-quality software and allows them to become more involved in the project.

  • Transparency is Essential

Clients have a unique opportunity to be active in the Agile approach, from product prioritization to iteration preparation and testing sessions to regular software build featuring new functionality. However, in return for the added core values of accountability, clients must realize that they see a work in progress.

  • Early and Predictable Delivery

With frequent delivery of new features rapidly and regularly, with a high degree of predictability, using time-boxed, fixed schedule Sprints of 1-4 weeks. If there is a market value, this often allows the program to be released or beta-tested earlier than expected.

  • Predictable Costs and Schedule

Since each Sprint has a set length, the cost is predictable and limited to the amount of work that the team will do within the fixed time frame. When combined with the client’s forecasts before each Sprint, the client understands each feature’s estimated cost, making better decisions about which features prioritize and whether or not they need further iterations.

  • Allows for Change
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Although the team must remain concentrated on producing an agreed-upon subset of its functionality at each iteration, the overall product backlog can be continuously refined and reprioritized. Backlog things that have been added or modified can be scheduled for the next version, allowing improvements to be implemented in weeks.

  • Focuses on Business Value

The team knows what is most important to the client’s business and can provide the features that have the most business value by enabling the client to decide the priority of features.

  • Focuses on Users

User stories are frequently used in Agile software development to describe product functionality, along with business-focused approval requirements. Each feature incrementally delivers value, not just an IT aspect, by focusing on real users’ needs. It allows you to beta test software after each Sprint, allowing you to get helpful feedback early on in the project and make improvements as needed.

  • Improves Quality

The project team will concentrate on high-quality production, testing, and coordination by breaking the project down into manageable units. Quality is enhanced by identifying and repairing defects rapidly by delivering regular builds and performing testing and reviews during each iteration.

Agile Methodology: What are Agile Methods Software Development Models?

According to Alistair Cockburn, Agile methodology is a collection of conventions that a group chooses to obey. That means that development teams will have their methodology, which will vary from the other teams’ methodologies in small or significant ways.

As a result, Agile methodologies are the conventions that a team prefers to adopt when adhering to Agile software development values and concepts. Let’s take a sight at some of the most used methods:

  • Scrum Methodology 
scrum methodology

The scrum process is an agile development process focused on iterative and incremental methods used in software development. Scrum is an agile system designed to deliver value to the customer during the project’s growth.

It is adaptable, fast, scalable, and reliable. Scrum’s primary goal is to meet the consumer’s needs by fostering a culture of open communication, shared accountability, and quality improvement.

The development process begins with a general understanding of what needs to be created, followed by making a list of characteristics ordered by priority (product backlog) that the product owner desires.

Scrum Methodology’s Advantages

In comparison to other agile growth methodologies, Scrum has several advantages. In the software industry, it is still the most widely used and trusted system of reference. 

  • Flexible To Changes: Flexible in response to changes in requirements brought on by consumer demands of industry developments. The approach is built to adapt to the evolving needs that come with complex projects.
  • Easily Scalable: Scrum processes are iterative and handled over specific work-life cycles, making it easier for them to concentrate on particular functionalities for each life cycle.
  • Reduction Of Risks: Doing the most important functions first and understanding how quickly the team progresses through the project.
  • Time To Market Reduction: The customer will begin using the project’s most critical features before the entire product development is completed.
  • Higher Software Quality: The working process and the requirement to receive a functioning version after each iteration contributes to higher software quality.
  • Compliance Of Expectations: The client determines their expectations, showing the importance that each project requirement/history brings, the team estimates them, and the Product Owner prioritizes them using this knowledge.
  • Timely Prediction: We can estimate when a specific feature in the backlog would be available using this technique since we know the team’s average pace by sprint.

Agile methodology like Scrum practices consist of three functions, each with its own set of responsibilities:

scrum team
  • Scrum Master: The person in charge of leading the team and ensuring they follow the methodology’s rules and processes. Scrum masters handle the project’s impediments and collaborate with the Product Owner to optimize ROI. The Scrum Master is responsible for keeping Scrum up to date and providing coaching, mentoring, and training to the teams as required.
  • Product Owner: It is the representative of the software’s owners and customers. They concentrate on the financial side of things and control the project’s return on investment. They communicate the project’s vision to the team and justify the advantages of user stories summed to the Product Backlog and prioritized regularly.
  • Scrum Team: A group of professionals with the requisite technical skills who work together to build the project and complete the user stories they commit to at the beginning of each sprint.

Scrum Events

Prescribed events are used in Scrum to maintain consistency and reduce the need for meetings that aren’t part of the Scrum framework. Many of the events are timed. A Sprint’s period is set once it starts and cannot be shortened or lengthened. The remaining events may conclude when the event’s goal is met, ensuring that a sufficient amount of time is spent without wasting time. 

  • Sprint
  • Sprint Review
  • Sprint Planning
  • Sprint Retrospective
  • Daily Scrum

Scrum Team

Scrum is built around a small group of people called a Scrum Team. One Scrum Master, one Product Owner, and developers make up the Scrum Team. There are no sub-teams or hierarchies in a Scrum Squad. It is a group of professionals who work together to achieve one goal at a time, the Product Goal.

  • Kanban
Kanban board

Like Scrum, Kanban is a method of organizing work to increase productivity. Kanban allows work to be broken down into manageable chunks and visualizes the job as it moves through the Kanban boards’ workflow. 

Kanban depicts both the mechanism and the actual work that passes through it. Kanban aims to recognize and eliminate possible bottlenecks in your process so that work can flow through it at a cost-effective rate.

The following are the six practices:

  • Visualization
  • Limiting work in progress
  • Flow management
  • Making policies explicit
  • Using feedback loops
  • Collaborative or experimental evolution

Kanban improves productivity by using visual signals to indicate different phases of the development process. A Kanban board, Kanban cards, and sometimes even Kanban swimlanes are the cues.

  • Kanban Board: The Kanban board is a visual management tool that helps developers visualize the creation process. It can be physical (such as a whiteboard, sticky notes, and markers) or interactive (such as Zenkit’s online project management tool). It can be used for personal and professional purposes.
  • Kanban Swimlanes: A visual feature on the board helps you categorize tasks/items to identify them better. It distinguishes itself by flowing horizontally and provides a more accurate description of the workflow.
  • Kanban Cards: Cards representing a work item/task in the work process are known as Kanban cards. It reflects information such as status, life cycle time, and upcoming deadlines and communicates progress with your team.
  • Extreme Programming (XP) 
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Extreme Programming (XP) scaled Agile framework process emphasizes the importance of improving interpersonal relationships to achieve software development success. XP also emphasizes the importance of teamwork, software developers’ learning, and a pleasant working atmosphere.

Extreme programming is defined by developers operating in pairs, with one programming while the other watches, and switching roles regularly during the Sprint.

Communication, simplicity, feedback, bravery, and respect are the five XP values listed in more detail below.

  • Communication: XP emphasizes the value of the right kind of contact – face-to-face conversation using a whiteboard or another drawing tool.
  • Courage: The concept demonstrates a desire for behavior based on other values to benefit the team. To bring up systemic challenges that are limiting your team’s effectiveness, you’ll need courage. It takes bravery to give up on something that isn’t working and try something new.
  • Simplicity: The goal is to reduce waste and do just what is required, such as keeping the system design as straightforward as possible to make it easier to manage, fund, and revise.
  • Feedback: Teams may recognize areas for change and revise their activities by receiving regular input on their previous efforts. The straightforward design is also supported by feedback.
  • Respect: To connect, provide and embrace input that respects your friendship, and work together to recognize clear designs and solutions, team members must value one another.
  • Dynamic Software Development Method (DSDM)

With the Dynamic Software Development Method (DSDM), you can create a project roadmap that includes early and continuous deliveries, introducing a gradual approach, responding to input received along the way, and ensuring that the planned benefits are met.

DSDM is an agile methodology that will undoubtedly assist companies accustomed to working on projects in changing their mindset and working style to increase their capacity to produce value and minimize time to market.

It encourages the use of the following strategies to provide best practice guidelines for project delivery on schedule and a budget:

  • Modeling and Iterative Development
  • Facilitated Workshops
  • Timeboxing
  • MoSCoW Prioritisation

Agile teams can use other iterative methodologies combined with DSDM since they are structured to be independent.

  • Feature Driven Development (FDD)

The Feature Driven Development (FDD) approach in agile processes is mainly geared toward broader teams of more participants than are typically served by other agile methodologies such as Scrum. Short iterations aim for this approach, which allows for tangible product deliveries in a short period.

Projects involving several teams and many people pose the risk that not everyone is equally skilled or disciplined. FDD provides basic tasks that aid in the resolution of relationship issues and project management.

FDD consists of five specific tasks that are commonly used in large-scale agile framework projects:

  • Develop overall model
  • Build feature list
  • Plan by feature
  • Design by feature
  • Build by feature

Feature Driven Development (FDD) is usually used in areas such as:

  • The Planning Game, Small Releases
  • Collective Ownership, Continuous Integration
  • Metaphor, Simple Design, Testing, Refactoring, Pair Programming
  • On-site Customer, Coding Standard
  • Crystal Agile Software Development 

Crystal is an Agile software development framework. It prioritizes people over procedures, allowing teams to develop their ideas for and project rather than being restricted by static methodologies.

Unlike more rigid frameworks such as scrum, crystal acknowledges that different teams can function differently based on team size, project criticality, and priority, allowing users to customize the system to their specific needs.

  • The use of the crystal agile framework has several advantages.
    • Teams have a lot of freedom to function in the way they see fit.
    • Teams interact directly with one another, cutting down on management time.
    • As a team expands or shrinks, the structure will adjust.
  • The crystal agile framework’s guiding principles
    • Frequent Delivery: You can provide code to your actual users regularly. Without it, you risk creating a commodity that no one wants.
    • Reflective Improvement: Consider what you’ve done, how you’ve done it, and why you did it. Consider how you can develop it in the future as a community.
    • Focus On Work: Members of the team should realize what they should focus on next and complete it. It necessitates clear communication and, where necessary, documentation.
    • Personal Safety: Members of the team should feel comfortable discussing ideas freely and without fear of ridicule. In a crystal squad, there are no wrong answers or bad ideas.
    • Technical Tooling: Cockburn believed that development teams should have access to software tools like continuous deployment, automated testing, and configuration management even back in the 1990s.
    • Access To Subject Matter Experts And Users: Where needed, team members should get input from real users and experts.
    • Osmotic Communication: Co-location (having teams in the same physical space) is essential, according to Cockburn, since it enables information to circulate between team members as if through osmosis.

Applications of Agile Methodology

Applications of Agile Methodology

Agile approaches may be used in any area where there is a flow of work and distribution of work goods, such as IT or software creation. Agile processes aim to optimize consumer value delivery while minimizing the risk of developing software that doesn’t satisfy market or customer needs.

They accomplish this by dividing the historically long delivery life cycle (typical of legacy “waterfall” methods) into minor life cycles called sprints or iterations. Iteration is the process of providing a working product to a consumer, receiving input, and making improvements based on that feedback.

As a result, Agile practices have aimed to minimize delivery times (delivering early, delivering often) to ensure that smaller vertical bits of the product reach the market sooner. It allows consumers to provide early feedback and ensure that they eventually receive their needs.

Agile has evolved into a catch-all word for a range of planning, and technological approaches and processes for iteratively handling projects, software development, and other goods and services.

By far, Scrum is the most common and influential software development technique, XP (eXtreme Programming or Paired Programming), and, more recently, Kanban is among these techniques.

Best Practices In Agile Software Development 

Best Practices In Agile Software Development

When applying some kind of Agile methodology, there are seven things you and your team should do:

  • Customer Collaboration:

Customer collaboration is an important aspect that practices Agile, and it is one of the core values mentioned in the Agile Manifesto. The consumer can still be aware of progress thanks to clear contact with the production team, and the combined effort would result in a higher-quality product.

  • Burndown Charts:
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A burndown chart is a graph of the remaining job versus the amount of time you have to complete it. You will predict when it will do all of the work if you use one as part of your Agile development management strategy. It will include the number of User Stories per unit of time in a comprehensive burndown map.

  • Continuous Integration:

Continuous Integration (CI) means delivering a clean build of the device a few times per day to keep the code up to date. It allows the distribution of a software version ready for release at any time, thanks to a rule stating that programmers never leave something unintegrated at the end of the day.

  • User Story:

A User Story aims to provide a simplified explanation of a requirement. It is a tool used to describe a software function from an end-user perspective. It helps to visualize the type of product as a customer, what they want, and why they want it.

  • Pair Programming:

Programming in pairs aims to improve design, reduce bugs, and promote information sharing within the development team. One of the least standard Agile programming methods entails one programmer ‘driving’ another programmer. It can swap out the positions.

  • Automated Tests:

Automated testing informs the team on which code improvements are appropriate and whether a feature is functioning as intended. Before any analysis begins, regression tests are performed automatically.

  • Test-Driven Development (TDD):

TDD aspires to encourage simplistic designs while still instilling trust. It is a system based on the repetition of a concise development cycle where specifications are converted into test cases. Then the software is modified to pass the new tests, rather than a process where software is added that has not been proven to satisfy requirements.

What Is Agile Project Management?

Agile development

Because of its adaptability, agile project management is widely used to deliver value and complex tasks. Collaboration, versatility, continuous development, and high-quality performance are all emphasized. It uses six key deliverables to monitor progress and develop the product, to be transparent and measurable.

  • Product vision statement: A description of the product’s priorities is called a product vision statement.
  • Product roadmap: The high-level view of the criteria needed to realize the product vision is the product roadmap.
  • Product backlog: This is the complete list of what you’ll need for your project, organized by priority.
  • Release plan: A release plan is a schedule for releasing a working product.
  • Sprint backlog: The user stories (requirements), priorities, and activities associated with the current sprint are called the sprint backlog.
  • Increment: it may give the working product functionality shown to stakeholders at the end of the sprint to the consumer.

Under Agile development, it can use many methods to build and teams to deliver a product or service. Each methodology emphasizes a distinct approach and focuses on a particular result. Depending on the desired effect, Agile methods are selected and implemented. They all have their characteristics and terminology, but they all follow the same beliefs and procedures.

Traditional Waterfall Methodology

Traditional vs Agile Methodology

The traditional waterfall model is a linear project management technique in which stakeholders and customer expectations are gathered at the project’s start. A sequential project plan is then developed to meet those requirements. It gets its name from how each step of the project cascades into the next, like a waterfall.

The waterfall model divides project activities into linear sequential phases, each of which is dependent on the previous phase’s deliverables and corresponds to a task specialization.

All companies use the Waterfall, Agile, and Scrum growth methodologies, and each is considered a validated approach to development. However, as these two methodologies converge and clash, problems arise.

Phases in Waterfall Methodology

The phases have different names, but the inventor initially described them as:

  • Requirements: A vital feature of the waterfall is that all customer requirements are gathered at the start of the project, enabling all subsequent phases to be scheduled without customer interaction before the product is finished. At this step, it is presumed that it will gather all specifications.
  • Design: There are two subphases to the design phase: conceptual design and physical design. Possible ideas are brainstormed and theorized during the logical concept subphase. The physical design process transforms theoretical concepts and schemas into concrete requirements.
  • Implementation: Programmers assimilate the criteria and specifications from the previous phases and generate actual code during the implementation process.
  • Verification: During this process, the customer inspects the product to ensure that it meets the specifications set out at the project’s initiation. It is accomplished by delivering the finished product to the consumer.
  • Maintenance: During the maintenance process, the consumer uses the product daily, finding bugs, insufficient functionality, and other errors that occurred during development. These fixes are applied as required by the production team until customer satisfaction.

Conclusion 

Agile project management is an effective tool for the software development process. Agile teams help the development team and the customer by offering a range of essential business benefits.

Agile allows a project development team to manage many of the most popular project pitfalls more effectively. Agile achieves the same goals in a leaner and more business-focused manner by reorganizing and re-envisioning the processes involved in custom software production.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is meant by agile methodology?

An agile methodology is a form of project management process that is primarily used in software development and in which demands and ideas emerge from the joint efforts of self-organizing and cross-functional teams and their customers.

What is an agile methodology, and how it works?

An Agile project approach is a form of project management that divides a project into phases. It necessitates ongoing cooperation with stakeholders as well as continual progress at each point. Teams cycle through a step of preparing, implementing, and reviewing once the work starts.

What is the difference between agile and scrum?

Scrum is an Agile software development process that focuses on generating customer performance in the shortest amount of time. Agile is a continual iteration of growth and testing in the software development process. Scrum delivers software after each sprint, while Agile methodology delivers software daily for suggestions.

Why is Agile used?

The Agile methods, when properly implemented, allows development teams to increase the quality of their software with each release significantly. Not only that, but it enables teams to adapt to change quickly. Sprints are quick, time-boxed iterations that make up the Agile method. Each sprint yields a usable commodity.

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