Today, the most common methodology used by teams in software development and project management is the agile methodology. The concept of being “agile” has been implemented in working environments for quite a while now and, finally, established itself as the collection of the best software development methodologies to adhere to. 84% of the teams using agile mentioned that they were still not fully competent with their agile practices. According to InformationWeek (UK), the agile set of beliefs and principles still hasn’t reached its final destination and has to mature with and within organizations and accumulate valuable experience. The chief scientist of the Agile discipline at the Project Management Institute, Scott Ambler thinks that
Agile isn’t just a trend; it’s here to stay, especially as we better learn how to effectively yield its benefits.
So, what is the phases of agile methodology everyone is talking about? And what are the principles of agile development that are here to stay? Let’s find out!
Learn more: software development methodologies comparison
What’s Agile in Software Development?
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According to Atlassian Agile Coach, Agile is an approach to software development and project management that is based on iterations and fast value delivery to the clients. This means that the team works iteratively giving continuous results, which are evaluated on the spot. The process resembles a mechanism, where each piece works in tandem with the other to carry out one common goal and flexibly adapt/respond to the changes.
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Top Agile Methodologies
Currently, several best methodologies and frameworks fall under the name of “agile”. These are:
It is an easy framework that aims at generating value by resolving complex problems with adaptive solutions. There are 58% of individuals, teams, and organizations that focus on Scrum. If you’d like to get more information on how Scrum works, see the available Scrum Guide.
It is one of the most popular methodology frameworks that implement agile and DevOps software development. It focuses on real-time communication, work scope, and its full transparency. So, the items a team works with are represented on a Kanban board, giving the team an idea of where their work is at any particular moment.
It is a hybrid methodology based on Scrum and Kanban that was created as a transitional point from the first methodology to the second one. Here, teamwork is carried out with the help of small iterations. These iterations are being monitored on a visual board with notes, like the one in Scrum or the Kanban board.
Extreme Programming (XP)
It is an agile methodology dependent on fast communication, quick feedback, and software development simplicity. Thus, the main focus here is the process of development.
It is a methodology hybrid that delivers value within the scaled agile framework for teams of cross-functional, and self-organized character. It combines Scrum and Extreme Programming (XP) practices to produce higher quality software and promote a higher quality of project lifecycle phases.
It is a development methodology that works by breaking down large app development into smaller chunks, i.e. iterations. So, the feature code is being designed, developed, and tested in cycles that are repeated. Iterations occur by adding new features until there is a fully functional ready-to-market software system.
Lean Software Development
It is also one of the agile methodology frameworks revolving around time and resources optimization for development, waste elimination, and delivery of the needed product.
Most companies adopt methodologies according to their preferences and possibilities. Some even try to stick to two and more in different project teams. The choice depends on the team preparedness and the ability of employees to quickly adjust to the methodology and give positive results. According to the 14th Annual State of Agile Report, 95% of organizations have implemented and practiced agile development methods. Here, 27% of organizations use agile methodologies for more than 5 years, 34% from 3 to 5 years, 23% for 1-2 years, and the last 10% for less than a year.
Learn also about the risk-based testing in agile!
7 Agile Software Development Lifecycle Phases
As you might know, the process of software development is extensive and consists of mini-development sprints that are self-integral agile development steps. Here’s what the steps of the agile development cycle diagram look like:
Planning of the entire project is the core of any project initiation phase in agile development. It consists of setting up timeframes and human efforts to conduct additional research activities. Here, the team has to plan how the project will be carried out in general.
Read more about the software development time estimation techniques!
Analysis of requirements
The second step in the agile software development cycle is to get requirements from every project stakeholder. Why is it needed? To ensure you are on the same page with the client and you understand what software has to be deployed 100%. Only after you have the requirements gathered by the business analyst, you can talk about possible timeframes, tech stack, design, testing, production iterations, and people involved. Every requirement counts, so try not to miss any.
The third step in the agile software life cycle is to make a prototype of the future application. It is vital to produce a clickable prototype with both the UI part and the user flow. Based on this design, the client may be quite satisfied or offer some minor adjustments to what he/she thinks would be best. Design is meant to show the real-life app even before it goes to production. This way the team can implement possible changes without altering the code and taking up additional time.
Then, the agile system development life cycle shifts to the development phase. Everything is being set up, the team knows what has to be done and the timeframes. The plan with iterations is also created and there are approximately two weeks before the first demo with the client.
Actually, testing should be initiated at the beginning of the agile product development life cycle. Quality assurance engineers have to be involved in the process from the project planning stage. This way they will have a fuller understanding of the project, might share some thoughts and ideas, and carry out testing sessions each time there is a feature release. It allows shortening the time and costs. It is always better to start testing small and proceed to accumulate the tested features than test the whole app at once and acknowledge that it is not working.
Here, the agile development cycle takes a turn towards each b>developer on the team creating the app’s architecture and trying to code everything that has been designed/discussed/changed/implemented before. Usually, this process happens in iterations, where one feature is developed and released at a time.
After the project is released, it might need 24/7support and constant monitoring. Anything can happen. Potential clients have so many devices and if the app works on one device it may crash on the other. Besides, the market0leading technologies change all the time, so updates are much needed for the app to function properly and perform at its best.
Learn more about the stages of app development and web application architecture
Each of these steps is important, and includes its own requirements, challenges and assessments. However, the biggest impact on the agile software development lifecycle is done by the first two steps, where requirements are discussed, described, and finalized by the customer. Accurate and well-defined requirements are always easier to meet in comparison to the ones that are vague and need additional answers from the customer. And, as we know, additional information requires extra time and resources and might even trigger an increase in the project development budget.
According to IBM, managing requirements enables successful product development based on the set of techniques that are being documented, analyzed, prioritized, and agreed with the development teams, who rely only on approved requirements. This way, the software development engineers will avoid errors, keep track of requirement changes, and foster stakeholder communication from the start of a project throughout the agile product development lifecycle.
Top 5 Agile Techniques
The most adopted agile practices used in the software development lifecycle phases are daily standups, retrospectives, iteration plannings, iteration reviews, and short iterations by a team working on the same project.
Source: 14th Annual State of Agile Report
The daily standup is a short meeting of the development team where the team members share what has to be done and what was already done.
Retrospectives aim to wind back the project progress and see what was done ok and not ok. This helps the team to be aware of the possible mistakes and make them less often further.
Iteration planning is a project outline done for the two weeks. Depending on the complexity of the app it has features. And each feature should be deployed separately. After one feature is completed it is presented to the client on a demo session and then the team proceeds to another task.
Iteration review also makes it easier to find pitfalls in the process. For example, if the iteration was successful, it is advisable to discuss what was done the right way. And, if it was not that successful, it is best to discuss why this happened and what has to be changed. The end result of every iteration is the successfully developed feature. So the review of a kind might help in future processes of agile project lifecycle phases.
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Short iterations are a little catch-up on the project progress and may include only small features or additional short gatherings. These iterations allow improving the work practices of the development team.
With the help of daily standups, retrospectives, iteration planning, sprint review, and short iteration the team learns how to perform successful project communication and project discussions. As the percentage shows, the following practices are carried out by the majority of teams. And, not without results, of course.
Reasons for adopting Agile Methodology
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Enhancement of software delivery processes and changing requirements management remain the biggest reasons for adopting Agile. However, there are plenty of other reasons that are also important. For instance, agile principles were adopted because
- 71% of teams aimed at software delivery acceleration
- 63% of teams would like to be more flexible in changing priorities
- 51% of teams were considering agile to enhance productivity
- 47% of teams would like to improve their business
- 42% of teams needed an enhancement in software quality
- 39% of teams wanted to enhance predictability in delivery
- 37% of teams longed for project risk reduction
- 36% of teams tended to improve project visibility
- 31% of teams aimed at strengthening the team spirit
- 26% of teams searched for cost reduction possibilities
- 23% of teams were driven by engineering discipline improvement
- 21% of teams needed to know how to manage distributed teams effectively
- 18% of teams wanted to increase software maintainability
What’s Agile in Design?
User Experience is the perception of a system by a user. Mainly, it involves the process of design and its outcomes. I.e. whether the system is easy to use, its utility, and to what extent is the user interface (UI) effective for a user. Thus, UX design is keen on building systems that deeply and wholly understand the needs of the end-users. More information about UI/UX and its importance for product success can be found here.
Agile UX vs Lean UX – Is there a difference between them?
Using Agile methods practically everywhere in software development, we also use them in designing software. The most common issue occurring in the design lifecycle is the UX incorporation into the fast SDLC iterations and functionality implementation. Mostly, when designers try to resolve complex UIs they go through numerous designs and simultaneously attempt to produce additional results. So, having to carry out two processes at a time makes a team a bit disappointed with the Agile methodology. Here’s when we should consider Lean UX vs Agile UX, specifically the Lean Startup approaches in design development. Eric Ries, the author of Lean Startup speculates:
What if we found ourselves building something that nobody wanted? In that case, what did it matter if we did it on time and on budget?
To answer this question, let’s find out more about the concept of Lean UX and its main principles.
Lean UX Lean User Experience (UX) is a design-related mindset, a culture, and a workflow that includes both Lean and Agile methods. At the core of Lean UX is the obtaining of feedback in the shortest time possible. This way, having fast responses the team can make quick and valuable decisions. The difference between Agile vs Lean UX is that the first try to make both designers and developers work unitedly to achieve a common goal, and the second promotes the idea that the product should be carried out outriding the set schedule norms. Being ahead makes MVP developed, tested, and sent for more improvements. So, this process denies the final version of the design to be created beforehand as there should be ongoing measuring and validation phases.
Lean UX core concept is in the constant design creation and gathering metrics of what was designed well and what was not. In comparison, traditional UX always tries to understand what the design should be like, and what the final product will look like before initiating the development process. But, using its unique methods, Lean UX offers a process with minimal business outcome risks and solution risks. With the help of Lean UX, you will know at what point you need to stop before making irreversible mistakes and think over your approach, especially if there is a limited budget.
Lean Startup isn’t about being cheap [but is about] being less wasteful and still doing things that are big. – Eric Ries
If you’re questioning yourself, where’s the difference between terms, remember that both Lean UX and Agile UX will surely lead to the same product result, but the road to this result will be different for each. The agile methodology uses its key principles to produce one polished product that will be leading on the market. Lean principles allow us to produce several versions of the product so that they could be tested in real-time with a selection of only one final version to be marketed. And, design thinking is the creative problem-solving approach, which includes the three mentioned methodologies: Agile, Lean, and Traditional UX.
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Inoxoft is an international company that works according to Agile principles. We have a successful experience of using agile methodology steps on projects. Especially, if the requirements are being appropriately set and discussed together with the business logic of the final product. What’s more, we always tell our customers that the more explicitly they can inform about their needs, the better and faster we will produce first results. Also, our customers can collaborate with the team in the agile methodology stages of the production and see the results after each iteration.
Also, before participating in the agile development phases, we offer customers a risk-free project assessment service – our discovery phase, which we believe to be among the most efficient steps in agile methodology. With the help of the discovery, any client would benefit from a thorough investigation performed by our dedicated team and business analyst. The discovery phase focuses on business idea analysis, its improvement (if needed), and researches whether the customer’s product will be suitable for the software market and meet user demand. This way, we can inform the customer whether the product-to-deploy will be potentially effective to users, save our clients money and time, stimulate a higher ROI and make them one step ahead of the competitors on the market.
So, if you have a business idea and you’re eager to implement it using the agile methodology stages – Inoxoft is your top Agile development company to contact. Leave us a note and we will contact you right away! Let’s build the best software on the market together!
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The Manifesto for Agile Software Development states that we should value
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools,
- Working software over comprehensive documentation,
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation,
- Responding to change over following a plan.
These are the agile principles that make the software development process unique and effective. By so far, agile methodology has shifted the focus from processes, documentation, contract negotiation, following a fixed plan, and sticking to a linear approach to more flexible practices, where communication, collaboration, and constant feedback matter more. And, this agility works well. So, achieving 58% of customer/user satisfaction, 54% in received business value, 48% for on-time delivery, 45% in project quality, 44% in business objectives, 40% in increased productivity, 37% in organizational culture, 35% for process improvement, and more positive numbers, the future is going to be even more Agile!