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Introduction to Agile Software Development: The Beginner's Guide

Kazeem Razaq @krazaq / 5.00 PM EDT. October 22, 2021.

Agile software development
Agile Software Development Lifecycle

Agile Software Development is a broad word that refers to a collection of methods and techniques for providing frequent value to consumers. Self-organizing and cross-functional teams are at the heart of Agile, and they apply practices that are suited to their context to produce solutions through collaboration.

Agile project management allows cross-functional teams to work on project pieces, solve difficulties, and progress projects in shorter periods which in turn allows teams to iterate more quickly and provide more regular updates to the consumers.

What exactly is Agile?

Agile is a project management strategy that divides large projects into smaller, more manageable parts called iterations. Something of value is generated at the end of each iteration (which normally takes place over a set period). Every iteration's product should be able to be released into the real world and receive feedback from stakeholders or users.

It's all about figuring how to comprehend what's going on in the environment you're in right now, identify the uncertainty you're dealing with, and figure out how to adjust to it as you go.

What is Agile Software Development & how does it differ from traditional software development?

Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), and Feature-Driven Development (FDD) are examples of agile software development frameworks. Pair programming, test-driven development (TDD), stand-ups, planning meetings, and sprints are all examples of agile software development approaches.

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development contains 12 ideals that describes a set of concepts and activities to follow when implementing pure Agile. It's typically beneficial to live by these manifesto to get the best value from Agile.

Agile methodology

Advantages of the Agile Methodology

Agile was created for the software industry to enhance and expedite the development process so that flaws and issues could be identified and corrected fast. Through short, iterative sprints/sessions that enable teams and developers to create a better project, faster. Agile is a fantastic fit for organizations trying to improve the way they manage projects and operate in general, especially as many companies move to the digital workplace. Here are some reasons why the agile methodology is advantageous.

1) Speed to Market

You can use the agile process to deliver your product to users as quickly as possible. An agile project creates something useful during each iteration. You could opt to launch at every iteration. You can begin building your user base or even test out your idea much quicker.

2) Flexibility

The agile methodology is built on the idea of adapting to change. Projects, especially software requirements, are always changing. You must be able to adapt and update the product as new products are released or the market expands. Agile also recognizes that fantastic ideas might emerge in the middle of a project and that locking yourself inside a scope will prevent you from taking advantage of such revelations.

3) Cost-cutting

Agile allows you to pay for what you need rather than paying for uncertainty. Do you have a fixed budget? This shouldn't be an issue because agile allows you to restructure the product backlog so that the most important new features get developed at the expense of the less important ones.

4) Quality

Testing is integrated into the agile methodology throughout the project lifecycle. Delivering tested products regularly means higher overall quality and less time spent quality-assuring the product as a whole. Early and regular product testing is possible with incremental releases.

The Agile Methodology Process

I want you to remember the word "flexibility," which properly describes Agile system development. Agile breaks a project into iterations, for starters. Each of the iteration must take the same amount of time and lead to the same result. Team members can provide comments during iterations, which enhances quality.

The following units are engaged in the process:

The Team: Developers (Programmers), Testers, Technical Writers, DevOps, and UX/UI designers are among the units involved in the product development process.

Product Owners, also known as Product Experts, are individuals who are in charge of a product and requirements.

Scrum Masters – frequently abbreviated as 'CSM' (certified scrum master)– are essential members of the development team. They provide support and work to minimize product blockages.

Stakeholders – while not involved in the product development, are end-users, project sponsors, systems admins, legal, sales, and subject experts.

Agile Coaches – mentors, whose expertise provide process guidance.

The Process of Agile Development

Agile development aims to achieve shorter product development cycles and more frequent releases than Waterfall development. Project teams can react more quickly to changes in a client's needs because of the shorter time frame. Various agile management frameworks are available, the most popular of which is Kanban and Scrum. Regardless of which framework you use, the agile methodology follows the same steps:

1. Project Planning

Before beginning any project, your team must have a clear understanding of the final goal, the value to the customer or company, and how the goals will be met. You could expand your project scope at this point, but keep in mind that agile project management is critical since it allows you to quickly address any changes or additions to a project. As a result, the project scope should not be considered fixed.

2. Creating a Product Roadmap

A roadmap is essentially a list of all the features that will make up the final product. Because the project team will construct these specific features with each iteration, this is an important aspect of the planning stage.

3. Preparation for the release

There is only one implementation date in the waterfall process, which occurs after the project has been developed. A project using the agile project methodology has shorter development cycles, with features released after each phase. You'll establish a detailed strategy for feature releases before starting the project, and you'll examine and reevaluate the release plan for each feature at the start of each sprint.

4. Planning for Sprints

Before a sprint session can begin, participants must outline what they want each individual to accomplish during the sprint, how they intend to accomplish it and assess the job load. The workload must be distributed evenly among the team members for them to fulfil their allocated tasks during the iteration.

5. Regular Meetings

Short daily meetings are necessary for the team to complete its task throughout each iteration and review whether any adjustments need to be made. During the short sessions, each team member will discuss their previous day's successes and where they plan to pick up. Meetings and discussions should last no longer than 15 minutes. They aren't meant to belong to problem-solving sessions, but rather short project briefings.

6. Review of the Sprint

After each sprint, your team should meet with the project stakeholders to discuss the iteration. The stakeholders should be able to see the finished product during this meeting. A sprint review meeting could also be used to examine what went well during the iteration, what could have been done better, whether the task load was too heavy, and what was accomplished.

In conclusion, Agile management is meant to make your life easier. Its goal is to help your company produce better products faster and for less money while also being less risky than the waterfall methodology.

BusyQA top curriculum and courses in scrum master cover Agile Management practices and sprint management. You can enroll to learn more and gain hands on skills in our consulting department.


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