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Importance of flexibility in Agile Development

19.08.2016 Anastasia Yurieva
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Importance of flexibility in Agile Development

Agile development gained wide popularity on the market of IT technologies for the last ten years. Created responsive to various changes, it has proved its high efficiency for those business investors, whose needs are prone to changes due to the changeable market situation.

Let us first define what is Agile development? It is an approach to software development which is built on such principles as adaptive planning, permanent improvement and flexible response to changes.

What does make it so good for investors?

Agile development methodology with its iterative and adaptive approach, cooperation and teamwork throughout the entire development process brings really valuable advantages for a business. Some of them are following:

  1. Agile software development usually delivers the minimal functionality of the product necessary for a certain stage. Why is it considered as an advantage? When investors decide to develop a product, they see it as a sole and complete solution for their problems, tasks, needs or whatever else. However, in most cases, when they see a final software product, it turns out to be that it’s not really that all-purpose as they thought it would be. Reasons may be different. For example, investors might have the wrong picture of the problem, or the problem itself has changed for the development period. Anyway, minimal functionality necessary to start operation is enough to test software in real conditions and check what more it needs. You don’t need to do huge investments and develop multifunctional super software at once. In Agile development, you can invest a little, launch your product, see first results and only then continue software improvement in the recommended direction.
  1. You are more protected from possible risks. Thanks to the above-mentioned iterative approach, you can make serious amendments or even stop development at any stage if you see that the situation on the market changed considerably. If you change your development direction or take any other decision, it will not involve that big loss as it could be possible in case of traditional full-scale projects.
  1. The agile approach lets you introduce innovations on the market very fast. If a certain need or a trend appears on the market, you can respond really quickly and develop an appropriate new product before your competitors manage to do the same. It is much easier to be a pioneer on the market with agile development than with any other full-scale approach.
  1. Your software developer company deliver products of high quality. With the help of test-drives, unit-checking and other techniques the product you work on is being tested within all the period of agile development life cycle. If any flaws are found they are eliminated at once. This approach assures really sound engineering solutions. Permanent practitioners have already elaborated the entire range of agile development tools and practices for the most demonstrative evaluation of the product’s performance.
  1. Investors take active participation in product development. Since they are regularly involved in the process, business relationships have become more effective and investors have become really engaged with the developed product. It assures a better response, feedback and mutual aspiration to produce a worthy result.

Agile Development vs Traditional Development

Agile development environment differs a lot from any other. The atmosphere of flexibility is friendlier and work on the product that brings more joy to the entire team. Instead of making strict plans, future actions are mostly discussed in the format of workshops. There are no piles of papers. Instead of preparing hundreds of documents and reports to get something approved, the tasks are also discussed in a team and actions can be taken immediately. There is no need in management committees and other things which postpone the result.

How does it usually look like in traditional software development?

We build huge plans, prepare numerous documents and organize regulated processes. In case if any change is necessary the first thought in our mind is that this change will destroy all the plans and schedules created. Too much of things will need reorganization. This is when we begin telling investors how expensive it would be to make any changes and how unreasonable they are. If it still doesn’t help, we apply to committees in hope that they decide to reject changes. So, while traditional approaches oppose any changes, flexible agile development cycle allows them without any problems.

A reasonable order

Anyway, an agile development model should not be considered as a random activity. Less documentation doesn’t mean that there are no documents at all. There are no documents which are created never to be read, but there are all the necessary documents to regulate the process. If it is possible to change directions just in the middle of the way, it doesn’t mean that there are no plans or road maps. There are, but they are flexible enough to be modified.

One of the most popular methodologies in agile approach, named as an Agile development scrum, was introduced to systematize working processes. According to this methodology, a scrum itself is a team working on the project, which is headed by a scrum master and an investor. The working process is parted in short sprints, usually two-week long, during which the product is being developed. In the end of each sprint, the results are represented to the investor who gives the feedback. Then, further development actions are agreed. So, actually, the process is really well-organized. It is just more alive than other development methods usually imply.

Agile development as any other approach has its own pros & cons. It is possible that some of its principles will change somehow with a pace of time, but what will definitely stay the same is the feature of flexibility which is practically the core of the approach. Without it, Agile development will simply have little sense to be employed.

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