Strong and Weak points of Agile
Unless you have been lost in the Andes for the past 14 years or so, you must have heard about Agile methodology in software development. Agile methods are diverse, but they all rely upon the basic principles put forward by the prominent software developers in 2001.
They are the following:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
Agile methods are based upon rapid development cycles which end with incremental delivery of software pieces and constant interaction with the customer. Each new cycle of software development relies upon the results of the previous cycle, with the consideration of customer’s feedback and requests as to functionality and a common vision of the project. Due to the constant cooperation with the customer and continuous delivery of the software pieces, the development project becomes very flexible and responsive to change.
Agile methods are considered as a panacea by many software project developers. However, like any other development methodology, the Agile methodology has its strengths and weaknesses. It works well with some types of projects and fails with others. Here we will try to outline the main advantages and disadvantages of Agile methods for you to decide if they are suitable for your own project.
Agile model strengths
- High flexibility of the project. Short cycles and constant iterations allow you to adapt your project frequently and tailor it to the customer’s needs at any moment. You don’t have to waste your time and resources on delivering a full project which will be rejected by the customer. This makes the development process extremely flexible.
- High customer satisfaction over the development process. Since Agile projects are closely coordinated with the customer, he/she has a strong impact on the development project. Software pieces are delivered constantly, in short cycles and customer’s feedback is always taken into consideration.
- Constant interaction among the stakeholders. With your teams constantly interacting with each other and with the customer, you avoid producing tons of technical documentation, processes, and tools. Each member feels like an important part of the team participating in the decision-making process. This stimulates creativity and initiative and leads to better results.
- Continuous quality assurance, attention to details. Quality of the product should be ensured by the testing team from the early stages of Agile development. Since the development is conducted in short cycles, testing is run non-stop, allowing you to produce a good final product.
Agile model weaknesses
- Problems with workflow coordination. Agile projects involve several small teams working on their own software pieces. They should always coordinate their work with each other, testers and management. Add to that constant interaction with the customer, and you will get a ton of communication management to consider before starting the project. Even though a lot of interaction is considered an advantage of Agile methodology, it may become a weak point due to many factors.
- Difficult planning at early stages. Planning in Agile development is essential before the process is started. It is important to assess your resources, build up teams, and communicate an overall vision of the project to them before it is kicked off.
- Professional teams are vital. Agile projects require teams to make serious decisions constantly. It means that only experienced software developers, testers, and managers should be working on the project. This software development methodology provides a very few places for rookies.
- Lack of long-term planning. A lack of final vision of the project may be disorganizing in some cases. Your project may end up off track if the customer changes his mind too often during the process. And remember, by the end of the project you will have to assemble all those software pieces, which had been changed and adapted a few times over the development cycle and make them work. Also, there will be weak documentation, since the interactions with the customer were mostly verbal.
As you can see, Agile includes enough pluses and minuses. Therefore, it is very important for project managers and their teams to identify and select the right and appropriate project management tool for strategic goals and issues.
How to do it? The best way is to search, test, try and compare. It will take time for you, for example, to study the detailed differences between Hygger and Jira or to realize the main points in the comparison of Hygger and Trello. However, it’s worth it.
Agile software development strengths and weaknesses, specified in this article, should prompt you to make the right decision whether to use them or not and to choose the appropriate project management tools.
Regardless of all their benefits, Agile methods do not give the answer to any challenge. And in certain cases, traditional software development methods will be more useful and productive than Agile.