What Is ‘Agile’ And Why Is It Important?
19 Apr, 16 | illumisoftadmin
You may be considering having some software created for your business. You may have done some research and come across the term, agile methodology before. But what exactly does agile mean and why is it important to software?
Many of us have grown up with the notion that things are built in a sequential manner. After all, automobiles are built on assembly lines, with each part being added to the previous one until the car is complete. Bridges are also made using this sequential methodology. Schools teach us how to take tests in a sequential order and our human lifespans follow a rather straightforward linear trajectory in time.
But there exists a number of disciplines that do not benefit from sequential, linear methodologies. Software development is one of them and I’ll show you why after we explore what agile methodology is.
In its essence, agile methodology is a frequent test-and-adapt approach using sprints or iterations. Iterations are small incremental periods of work that produce changes that are then evaluated by both the team and client.
In an agile environment, every aspect of software development, including the requirements, design, purpose, function and direction is continually revisited throughout the development life cycle. When a team stops and re-evaluates the project every two weeks, there is always time to steer it in a new direction. This highly organic and malleable nature of agile development produces much better results than a static, linear approach. In fact, agile methods were developed because the linear method produced a large amount of disasters in software development.
Here are 6 reasons the agile method in software development is superior to the sequential one:
- Communication between team members is greatly increased.
- “Analysis paralysis” rarely occurs.
- Time to market is faster.
- Overall cost is lower.
- Ensures that the right product is built.
- Allows for rapid and flexible response to change.
Another positive aspect of agile methodology relates to the highly collaborative role of the client. When agile methods are used to quickly create a workable piece of software that is shown to a client, he/she finds this more useful and helpful than just seeing documents in a meeting.
Additionally, rarely ever does a client have all the necessary requirements fleshed out when a development cycle is started. It is therefore extremely important to have continuous client involvement during the entire process of building the software. This kind of involvement is made possible by the fact that a workable piece of software is able to be assessed and evaluated in real-time.
The agile methodology is a lot like giving an artist a verbal description of a painting you want to have done and then you quickly get sketches of parts of it before the entire painting is completed. If you had this process done without first seeing the sketches, it would be difficult to tell the artist what you wanted to modify. The constant feedback between client and team allows the finished piece of software to be a much better and more timely product.
I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about agile methods or software development in general. My name is Dan Prince and I’m the founder of illumisoft. You can reach me via email at [email protected] or via my cell phone at 816.564.9595.