In this guide to agile development methodologies, we will explore agile in detail and how you can use it in software development.
Agile software development, as in some Agile methodologies, describes iterative software development, where requirements and solutions are shaped through collaboration among cross-functional self-organizing teams.
The Agile method also values responding to change over following a plan. In contrast to plan-driven development, some Agile methods are designed to work with just enough knowledge for an immediate iterative cycle.
The Origins of Agile
Agile software development began to coalesce in 2001 and 2002 when several independent thinkers including Kent Beck, Mike Beedle, Alistair Cockburn, Ward Cunningham, Martin Fowler, James Grenning, Andrew Hunt, and Dave Thomas recognized commonalities in their respective works.
The Agile Manifesto was born from a joint agreement on four principles Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
Working software over comprehensive documentation; Customer collaboration over contract negotiation; Responding to change over following a plan.
What are Agile Development Methodologies?
So, you’ve been handed a software project and told that it has to be completed quickly, but with high quality.
There’s no room for error here and everyone on your team needs to be thinking about how they can help you succeed.
Different Bussiness Service providers specialize in agile development methodologies that use highly collaborative teams to build software with lightning speed.
Their goal is to get you what you need as fast as possible so that you can focus on completing your project without worrying about whether or not we can meet our deadlines.
They Also believe in iterative development, which means we keep testing our work until we get it right.
And when there’s something wrong with our product, they fix it before moving forward; after all, nothing is more important than providing quality work.
Out of the popular agile methodologies, the three most common are Scrum, XP (Extreme Programming), and Lean UX (or Lean UX) Development, but many others have been created over the years, including Agile Modeling, Feature Driven Development (FDD), and DevOps.
How does Agile Work?
If a software development project is run using an agile development methodology, it’s common for teams to be formed and assembled in ways that differ from traditional software teams.
An agile software development team may not contain dedicated analysts or systems engineers.
Instead, these roles may be played by business stakeholders who own certain requirements on a project.
Each contributor (or member of) an agile team typically has more than one role; for example, someone might be responsible for both designing and implementing aspects of an application.
When should you use Agile Development Methodologies?
The answer to that question is dependent on a variety of factors. Some businesses use agile development methodologies because they simply don’t have time to be slow and they want results quickly.
For other businesses, it’s because their business is constantly changing and they need more flexibility than what a traditional development methodology would offer.
And then there are those companies that use agile methodologies because that’s what their competitors do, so they feel like they have to as well.
Whatever your reason for using agile methodologies, you should know that not all organizations are suited for them.
If you have a small team or if your product requirements change frequently, you might find yourself better off with an iterative approach to software development.
But if you’re working with large teams or if your product requirements aren’t likely to change much during your project lifecycle, then waterfall may be a better fit for you.
What are Agile Development Methodologies?
Agile development methodologies, sometimes known as scrum or agile software development, have gained popularity since their inception in 2001 and remain one of the most popular choices for software developers today.
From its inception, Agile has been a lightweight and adaptive methodology. The more formal industry-standard version of Agile is known as SCRUM.
Other similar methods that are not strictly bound to these requirements but follow many of them include
- TDD (Test Driven Development),
- XP (Extreme Programming),
- DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Method),
- FDD (Feature Driven Development)
Another common term for Agile is Lean which refers to Lean Software Development. In addition, other non-Agile methods share some characteristics with Agile such as RUP (Rational Unified Process).
What is SCRUM and what does it have to do with Agile software development? Read on! SCRUM is an agile methodology that helps software teams work together more effectively, ensuring quick delivery of products and features.
Teams follow specific rules for updating their project with self-contained iterations, prioritizing tasks according to team members’ availability, and more.
Check out our infographic below to learn more about how SCRUM works—and how you can start using it in your organization!
2. TDD (Test Driven Development)
Test-driven development is a software development process in which the individual follows a simple step-by-step plan and sticks to the process religiously.
Once these tests pass, they can be considered to form part of an automated acceptance test suite for that particular module of functionality.
Programming is done in small increments, never writing code without first having written a failing automated test case that defines what must be implemented next.
3. XP (Extreme Programming)
XP is a software development methodology that treats software design as part of software construction.
XP is based on key practices and principles, many derived from earlier methods such as Scrum and DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Method).
The main practices include Test-driven development (TDD), Pair programming, Simple design, Collective code ownership, continuous integration (CI), and Refactoring.
These elements are intended to be supported by eight process freedoms: no documentation or up-front design; choice of the programming language; choice of platform; interactive development; responding to change over following a plan; working software over comprehensive documentation; customer collaboration over contract negotiation; and responding to change over following a plan.
4. DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Method)
Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) is an iterative, incremental approach to software development.
In DSDM, teams work in cycles called timeboxes that have fixed durations. Within a timebox, everyone commits to achieving a particular set of deliverables to stay focused and accountable for their actions during that cycle.
At the end of each timebox, any unfinished features from prior cycles become part of a backlog of work for future timeboxes.
The goal of DSDM is to produce working software at regular intervals. The frequency depends on what’s best for your project, but it’s usually every two weeks or so.
5. FDD (Feature Driven Development)
In Feature Driven Development (FDD), teams identify and create a product backlog based on business requirements.
The team then works iteratively, developing and delivering one to three features each iteration.
This process allows your development team to deliver smaller chunks of functionality that can be reviewed by end-users at each iteration rather than waiting for your project to reach completion before getting valuable feedback.
You’ll also save time since you don’t have to wait until all features are developed before delivering any part of your project.
Agile vs. Waterfall
Agile Development Methodologies vs. Waterfall is not a team-wide use of water pistols and spraying, but a comparison of two software development methodologies that take very different approaches to how software should be built.
In short, waterfall methodology is about planning things out before doing them; agile methodology recognizes that you have no idea what you’re doing until you’ve done it.
It’s like playing chess with a partner who knows what they want to do before they even make their first move: if you don’t know what your opponent will do next, how can you plan your strategy?
The point of agile development is that there isn’t always an obvious way forward and that flexibility in thinking leads to better results.
Benefits of Agile Methodologies
Agile development is based on iterative and incremental models, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams.
At each step in a project’s lifecycle, team members focus on what was previously defined as Done.
They do so to complete an iteration of the period in which progress is measured, rather than a specific date or phase in a project.
The focus of an iteration is to continuously add value and test what has been done so far.
This process results in faster delivery of business value from projects and products, higher quality with fewer defects, more flexibility for changing priorities and requirements, better visibility into project status at any given time, and better use of resources. In short: it leads to better software faster.
Application of Agile
Agile methods can be applied to many different kinds of projects, ranging from software and business processes to individual and group learning.
They have been applied in contexts as diverse as construction management, space missions, open-source software development, engineering change proposals, military planning, writing fiction, and chess tournaments.
The most common use of agile is for iterative and incremental development. The term agile has become a buzzword that is often used to describe a set of practices rather than a specific methodology.
As such, what is meant by agile varies widely. This includes applications of scrum (such as Scrum), extreme programming (XP), feature-driven development (FDD), Lean software development, or Kanban systems.
Agile is an umbrella term for a group of software development methods based on iterative software development and it provides several Agile Development Methodologies.
Within these methods, requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams.
They promote adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continuous improvement, and at their core is an emphasis on communication and feedback.
These iterations produce working software quickly to keep risks low while identifying defects or improvements early in a product’s life cycle.
The overall result is faster time-to-market with higher quality products that are more responsive to changing customer needs.
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