Learn more about the vivid advantages and disadvantages of Agile project management.
The power of Agile significantly depends on strong collaboration amongst the team that is hard to find in the traditional Waterfall approach.
Today companies try to avoid delays that can slow time to market. What is the power of the Agile methodology? Why Agile? With its development and testing, you can solve the problem of slow time to market by figuring out customer needs.
Agile provides so many advantages, and now it is time to learn more about them!
Read on below
Agile Advantages Articles
Teams that use Agile believe that this software development methodology helps them to significantly improve the quality of their software solutions at each release. This can hardly be disputed. Agile also helps teams to adapt to change quickly.
Are these facts enough to explain the incredible popularity of this approach? What are the advantages of the Agile methodology? Why is Agile methodology better than the traditional model? The aim of our quick article is to help you figure this out and to put together the puzzle called “Why Agile.”
The success of Agile relies not only on short iterations but also on strong collaboration amongst the team that is hard to find in traditional methodologies.
Modern businesses can no longer afford rollout delays caused by processes, procedures, and documentation. It can cost organizations their competitive edge and ultimately, happy clients. Agile development and testing are aimed to solve this problem by figuring out customer needs.
Agile values working software over in-depth documentation, as well as customer collaboration and transparency over process. Let’s dive into more details of the exciting world of Agile!
Quick Overview of the Agile Method
Agile centers around sprints – time-boxed project cycles. Any sprint is a short period that typically lasts two weeks, during which the Agile team works on a set of features that are also known as user stories.
Each story is an item that should be delivered by the team in two weeks. In fact, sprints include a significantly smaller number of features than a traditional Waterfall project. This limitation of the number of features makes the product development and release cycle more manageable.
Agile teams are usually much smaller than Waterfall teams. As a general rule, they involve no more than 12 people (a product owner (PO), developers, Quality Assurance specialists, analysts, and the Scrum Master).
The PO represents the interests of all stakeholders of the project. He/she is available to the team throughout each sprint to answer questions and provide feedback.
Team members participate in Daily Stand Up meetings with the aim to discuss progress and clarify possible issues. At the end of each sprint, the whole team does a formal release. Then a planning session for the next sprint starts.
Agile and Waterfall in Testing and Development
What was before Agile? Businesses used to follow a more structured approach to software development and testing. The traditional way of development known as the Waterfall model carries projects through a preset sequence of steps from its initiation through completion.
Each step forms project phases, each of which consists of a certain set of tasks. Waterfall can be considered more effective, however, it is really heavy in the documentation.
Traditional teams did not have the adaptability needed to keep up with clients’ demands. It was a process that caused delays and provided risks concerning the delivery deadlines.
Agile minimizes or even eliminates all these challenges. Agile teams work against a number of user stories during a time-boxed cycle. Everyone is focused on releasing a workable product rather than process and documentation.
Therefore, Agile projects can release new features frequently and rapidly while Waterfall teams cannot boast of the same.
The Benefits of Agile Software Development
According to the Agile philosophy, customers have a great opportunity to be involved throughout the project, from feature prioritization to review sessions. This literally increases the level of their involvement and transparency.
2. Stakeholder management
Being involved in Agile, stakeholders get many chances for better engagement – before, during, and after sprints. Customers are involved at every step of the project, and this leads to a higher degree of collaboration with the project team as well as provides additional opportunities for the team to better understand the customers’ vision.
3. Predictable and early delivery
Thanks to time-boxed and fixed scheduled sprints, new features can be delivered frequently and quickly, with a high level of predictability. It allows releasing or testing the software earlier than planned if there is sufficient business value.
4. Predictable costs and schedule
Every single sprint is a fixed duration, so the cost is predictable and limited to the amount of work. It lets customers better understand the approximate cost of every feature, which will definitely improve decision-making about the features’ priority and the need for additional iterations.
5. Focus on users
Why Agile is important… Just because it commonly uses user stories with business-focused acceptance criteria to determine product features. By making an accent on the needs of real users, every feature will not just deliver an IT component, but real value. This will allow conducting beta tests after each sprint, gaining valuable feedback early in the project.
6. Ability to change
This is another valuable benefit of the method as Agile teams can constantly refine and reprioritize the overall product backlog, despite the fact that they need to stay focused on delivering an agreed-to subset of the product’s features during every single iteration. The changed or new backlog items can be planned for the next iteration. This provides a chance to introduce changes within a few weeks.
7. Considering the business value
When customers have a chance to prioritize features, your team may understand what is most important to them and can deliver the features that provide the most value for their business.
8. Improving quality
When the project is broken into smaller units, the Agile team can focus on high-quality development, collaboration, and testing.
Quality is improved by running tests and reviews as well as by producing frequent builds during every iteration. The team defines and fixes defects, as well as identifies expectation mismatches early.
What about the drawbacks?
It is crucial to understand (and be able to manage) common disadvantages, limitations, and risks that Agile may bring. Here’s the list of some examples:
- Agile requires more energy and time from everyone in a team as developers and clients must constantly interact with each other.
- New members may have problems with documentation as it tends to get sidetracked.
- The progress is harder to measure (in comparison with Waterfall) because it happens across several cycles.
- Customers who work on a specified schedule or budget can not know how much the project will actually cost. It may lead to a complicated sales cycle.
- Agile projects can be ever-lasting because there’s no clear end.
- Agile teams can get sidetracked into delivering new features at the expense of technical debt. It may increase the amount of unplanned work.
- The product lacks overall design, meaning a UX and architecture point of view.
- The user journey is fragmented as the design is also fragmented.
- There is not enough time for the design thinking process because of short cycles. Therefore, designers need to redevelop the experience due to negative feedback.
When to Use Agile
Let’s define the common cases:
- When you need to implement new changes. Agile provides freedom and this is rather important. You’ll need little cost to implement new changes because of the frequency of new increments.
- To deliver a new feature the developers need only a few days, or even hours to roll back and implement it.
- Agile requires very limited planning to get started with the project (unlike the traditional approach). It assumes that the needs of end-users are ever-changing in a dynamic IT business. You can discuss changes or remove features based on feedback.
- Stakeholders and developers find they also get more freedom of time and options (than if the software solution was developed in a more rigid and sequential way). Having several options, they can leave essential decisions until more or better data or even entire hosting programs are available. It means that the project can move forward without the risk of reaching a sudden standstill.
When Agile Works Best of All
- You have no idea about the full scope of requirements and can’t estimate the time you will need.
- You don’t know anything about the need for your software in the market.
- Your customer is ready for extensive involvement, and you have a permanent connection.
- Your customer does not have a fixed budget and schedule.
- You are not able to map out the business needs. Therefore, the design needs to emerge through trial and error.
- There is no need to deliver fully functional software at once.
- There is no complex bureaucracy in your processes and relations that may cause delays in decision-making.
- You care enough about capturing the market before competitors do it.
- Your customer does not have trouble with updating his/her software.
Agile is not a set of directions and not a checklist. This method is more about a mindset and a culture and it needs buy-in across the whole company to succeed.
Agile practices have worked wonders for so many businesses! Positive aspects of Agile software development are not hidden, they seem evident in such areas as decreased time to market, lower costs, and improved communications.
That is why more and more software professionals have quite a success with the advantages of Agile every single day. And it is not surprising that fewer and fewer people are asking themselves the question “Why Agile?”