The agile methodology offers an incremental and iterative technique to manage the workflow along with building the IT tasks. It is widely used in the IT industry for developing software in a highly iterative and flexible way.
The advancement in the software development has gone through three major events. The first breakthrough was the introduction of the waterfall technique which was developed to optimize the required time for releasing a product. The second advancement was the evolution of agile techniques which enhanced the life-cycle of a product. The newest advancement in software development is the rise of DevOps (Software development and IT Operations) which has integrated the product development and working operations in a single unit.
Agile development is a technique associated with the deployment of minor increments continuously in a product development process through testing. This method was developed as a substitute to the conventional waterfall technique, owing to its sequential, linear, and structured life-cycle in product development.
Agile development methodology involves communication between multiple teams of various units and the deployment of iterative releases of products constantly. Generally, the different teams working together have same skill-sets. This technique is used for making changes in the mid-process of product development, with increase in deployments after every stage. Agile leads to delivery of better products, boosts the productivity and collaborations.
Continuous operations such as software development and project administration require flexibility to cope with the variations and new demands of the market. The waterfall methodology lacked the flexible approach, due to which it was not able to match the expectations of this fast-changing world of continuous advancements in technology.
Agile offers efficient, daily administration of complicated projects, enhancing collaboration and communication between various teams of different departments and consumers.
Basic functions of agile software development
Agile technique encourages a flexible environment for work by valuing every team member for their contribution. To enhance efficiency, the agile technique promotes the interactions among team members constantly, hence, engaging all members in the development operations.
Retrospectively, all projects were supposed to make documents which describe the need and goal of the project before getting initiated for further development. Agile development eliminates the unnecessary time spent on documentation and promotes quick initiation of projects.
Elements of Agile software development
Consumer involvement: Regular interactions with customers and quick feedback directs the project towards the best outcomes.
Adapting to the changes in task execution: During the in-process of product development, the changes or variations should be accepted wherever required. Some crucial changes often lead to overall success of the products. Coping-up with the new situations and encouraging development of new functions is the main difference between the waterfall method and the agile approach.
Agile Software Development
Agile software development includes the deployment of agile frameworks such as Kanban and Scrum. It is a software managing technique in which the principles of agile are applied for software development. The conventional software managing methods involved control and command techniques at the managerial level for software development, but the agile approach includes decentralized system for decision-making, i.e., all the team members equally share their contribution in software development. Every life-cycle of software development is initiated with segmenting the project into needs and expectations that can be achieved. The operations are arranged as per the ‘sprints’. A single sprint might take up to 15 days for completion, during this period the teams will focus on setting-up a particular feature for running.
Over the sprint, the team will concentrate on development, trials, and implementation of application along with adjustments throughout the operation. On the completion of one sprint, the team will work on the next sprint until the completion of the project. This methodology enables the continuous deployment of software. During this time, consumers, product managers, and stakeholders are allowed to give their thoughts for assuring convincing results. While some of the development sprints also consist of computerized procedure to accelerate the combination such as trails and code administration.
In 2001, a group of developers from Utah, U.S., had collaborated to create the agile methodology, based on the principle of developing the software in an iterative and flexible way. Upon its emergence, agile was widely adopted across the IT sector. Besides, creating software products, the agile technique was also used for uniting team members of dissimilar departments on specific projects within an organization.
Over the last two decades, the popularity of agile methodology for initiating and completing various projects has gone beyond the IT industry and across all business. Accelerated volume of partnerships and mergers among major companies and departments, especially the digital and marketing departments, has fuelled growth of the agile software management techniques globally.
Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Agile Software Development
The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 virus has propelled the adoption of agile techniques in various non-IT businesses. When the lockdown was imposed in most parts of the world in March 2020, employees and their managers of non-IT organizations had to operate their tasks from home. Although, these organizations had a vast list of tasks to be carried out from their respective remote locations. The projects of all businesses were meant to be completed during the lockdown period, as the owners of the non-IT sectors needed a quick digital transformation to achieve their targets. In such a situation, the agile approach proved to be a boon for these businesses as it has provided an advanced way to manage their business restraints.
CEOs of several companies have reported that the agile software management is a perfect match for their new working normal, and they have adopted this approach to accommodate this shift. Below are some of the examples of agile development adoption;
- Pandora, a jewelry firm, had used its virtual hub for data science and engineering talent to accommodate the agile software development.
- The insurance firm, Direct Line, had initiated a consultation procedure to boost agile governing methods across the company.
- The bank-holding company, Capital One Financial Corporation, had developed agile teams in various businesses to generate creative solutions for its customers.
- The travel agency company, TUI Group, had used an agile administration system for making rapid decisions, which otherwise would have required almost a month to decide.
The agile governance is majorly based on methods and principles of agile software development such as flexibility and iterations. The director of digital marketing at Direct Line, Mark Evans, claimed that the working agile administration is known for its governance, a leading concept in which the sole objective of the leading body is to serve.
The leaders in agile management are quite distinctive than those working in the conventional organizations. Agile leaders have to foster their team members to make their own decisions while the conventional managers have a firm grip of control. In agile management, the failures are equally embraced by the whole team and the success is celebrated altogether. The managers of agile methodology encourage new ideas and mind-sets and convince their teams to work with newer methods.
- Pros of Agile Software Development
- Agile methods provide continuous delivery of small increments which can be managed during the software development process.
- This method can perform iterative development and testing of software within the sprint.
- Agile techniques can be used in any department.
- This methodology can manage complicated projects.
- The environment created by this method enables changes in the project with the ongoing tasks.
- All the team members working together share similar skill-sets.
- After every sprint, there is increment in deployment rate within a week or two.
- Rare requirement of documentation, which leads to flexible development procedure.
- The quality of product improves after every sprint.
- Develops the products as per the customer’s requirement.
- Agile Methodology and DevOps Technology
DevOps and Agile approaches have a similar goal of delivering the quality software in a given timespan. Comparatively, DevOps approach integrates the development process of software and the IT operations of an organization, while the agile approach is related to optimization of a software product’s life-cycle during the development process.
- Benefits of integrating Agile and DevOps
- Tracking Success: Integration of DevOps with agile includes measurement and monitoring of major metrics of DevOps and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in the development life-cycle.
- Sharing: In agile techniques, the team members working together need to understand the work of their fellow members. This can be done by sharing information and ideas among the team members and also with other teams through the DevOps model.
- Team collaborations: The DevOps method unites the operations team with the development team, which leads to improved co-ordination among various departments in the organization.
- Computerize the workflow: In the DevOps method, automation is a major feature. Merging the practices of DevOps and agile approaches will benefit the workflow of the later in planning the projects.
- Sprints with DevOps: Apart from managing weekly sprints, the collaborating teams can merge DevOps method in the software development life-cycle.
The agile methodology has proven its credibility over the lockdown period of COVID-19 virus. With the help of agile techniques, numerous teams have rapidly generated effective solutions to the challenges in business. Furthermore, the agile development is best suited for the new working normal, i.e., work-from-home.