Agile Methodologies for Software Development

Learn about the different agile methodologies for software development and how they can be applied to improve your business' efficiency.

Agile methodologies are strategies for product development aligned with the values ​​and principles described in the Agile Manifesto for software development. Agile methods seek to deliver the right product, with incremental and frequent delivery of small chunks of performance, through small cross-functional self-organizing teams, enabling customer feedback and course correction.

In accomplishing so, Agile aims to correct the challenges faced by the traditional “waterfall” approaches of delivering large products over long periods. It translates to frequent changes in customer requirements and delivery of the wrong products.

In this article, we will cover:

  • What Is Agile Software Development?
  • The 12 Principles of Agile
  • The Agile Software Development Cycle
  • Types of Agile Methodologies for Software Development

What Is Agile Software Development?

Agile software development – also referred to simply as Agile – is a development methodology category that predicts the need for flexibility and applies a level of pragmatism to the final product delivery. Agile software development needs a cultural change in many companies because it focuses on the clean delivery of individual elements or parts of the software and not on the whole application. 

Benefits of Agile include its capacity to help teams in an evolving landscape while preserving a focus on the efficient delivery of business value. The collaborative culture encouraged by Agile also improves efficiency throughout the organization as teams work together and understand their specific roles in the process. Finally, companies using Agile software development can feel confident that they are releasing a high-quality product since testing is performed through the software development, making changes as needed and alerting teams to any potential issues.

Agile has replaced waterfall as the development methodology of choice in most companies but is itself at risk of being eclipsed or consumed by the growing popularity of DevOps.

agile methodologies for software development

The 12 Principles of Agile

It all began back in 2001 with the Agile Manifesto. There was a need for a new approach to help organizations be more flexible, responsive, and adaptive to changes. Frustration was with how things were, so Agile’s “founding fathers” came up with a manifesto based on 12 principles. They are:

  1. Satisfy customers through early and continuous delivery of valuable work.
  2. Break big work down into smaller tasks that can be completed quickly.
  3. Recognize that the best work emerges from self-organized teams.
  4. Provide motivated individuals with the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done.
  5. Create processes that promote sustainable efforts.
  6. Maintain a constant pace for completed work.
  7. Welcome changing requirements, even late in a project.
  8. Assemble the project team and business owners on a daily basis throughout the project.
  9. Have the team reflect at regular intervals on how to become more effective, then tune and adjust behavior accordingly.
  10. Measure progress by the amount of completed work.
  11. Continually seek excellence.
  12. Harness change for a competitive advantage.



The Agile Software Development Cycle

Agile Software Development refers to the methodologies centered around the idea of iterative development where processes and solutions unwind through continual cooperation between cross-functional teams. 

And while procedures and documentation are relevant, Agile teams do not stick to plans. If a step jeopardizes the efficiency of the development, they adapt it and improve it. What matters is to deliver the best result possible. 

The original Manifesto for Agile Software Development outlines the ideas behind the methodology. These are the four core values outlined in the Manifesto: 

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan. 

The Agile Software Development Cycle (SDLC) model highlights process adaptability and customer satisfaction by quickly delivering a working software product.

Agile methods break the product down into small incremental builds provided in iterations. At the end of the iteration, the developers show the customer a work product that includes all the customer’s functionality.

Each iteration usually lasts from one to three weeks and includes:

  • Planning
  • Analyzing
  • Architectural design
  • Coding
  • Unit testing
  • Acceptance testing
  • Delivery
  • Feedback

You repeat the steps until all items in the product backlog are complete. There is a cyclical rather than a linear process. The sequence is visible on the Agile SDLC diagram.

According to the Agile model, the team handles each project differently, and existing methods are adapted to fit the project requirements best. Your company focuses on more achievable goals that guide your team’s immediate actions.

Types of Agile Methodologies for Software Development

Agile software development methodologies are a group of development methods that enable software development using various iterative development techniques.

These methodologies are based on a continuous evolution of requirements and solutions that occurs by establishing collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams.

A way of encouraging the well-managed and organized project management process, these methodologies allow for recurrent inspection and revision of the tasks.

Giving a scope to adapt the best engineering practices, these methods also assist in the delivery of high-quality software products.

While there are several different methodologies available, some of the common ones used are as mentioned below:

  1. Kanban:
    Originating from the Japanese language, the translation of the word ‘Kanban’ is “visual board or signboard” and is connected to the concept of “just in time”! Initially, the Kanban concept was introduced as a lean manufacturing system and slowly moved its way to agile software development teams. This method uses visual approaches for developing and managing projects.

    Projects through Kanban are handled with the help of the Kanban Board, which is divided into columns to show the process flow of the software development. This helps in increasing the visibility of teams as they can see the progress through every stage of development and prepare for the upcoming tasks to deliver the product “just in time”.

    This method requires comprehensive interaction and transparency to enable the team members to be equipped with the right stage of development at any time and have a cohesive flow of work at all times.
  1. Scrum:
    Another example is the agile scrum development methodology, depicted by various development cycles. As Kanban, Scrum breaks down the development phases into stages called “sprints”; the development time for each sprint is maximized and dedicated, thereby operating only one sprint at a time.

    Scrum and agile methodologies focus on constant deliverables, and therefore this method lets designers adapt priorities to ensure that any incomplete or overdue sprints get more attention.

    The Scrum team has exclusive project roles such as a Scrum master and a product owner with constant communications on the daily Scrum where the harmony of the activities plans the best way to implement the sprint.
  1. Extreme Programming (XP)
    Extreme Programming (XP) is a methodology that emphasizes teamwork, communication, and feedback. It focuses on ongoing development and customer satisfaction. Like Scrum, this method also uses short cycles developed by a team to create a productive and efficient environment.

    XP technique is supportive of constant and varying demands from the customers. It motivates the developers to accept changes in the customer’s demands, even if they pop up in an advanced phase of the development process.

    In Extreme Programming, the project testing starts from the initial stages by collecting feedback that progresses the system output. It also presents a spot check to implement any customer requirements.
  1. Crystal
    Introduced by Mr. Alistair Cockburn, Crystal is a group of smaller agile development methodologies incorporating Crystal Yellow, Crystal Clear, Crystal Red, Crystal Orange, and more. Each has its peculiar and exclusive framework characterized by factors such as system criticality, team size, and project priorities. The team chooses the type of Crystal agile methodology depending on the nature of the project, such as Comfort (C), Essential Money (E), Discretionary Money (D), and Life (L).

    Similar to other methodologies of Agile, Crystal also addresses prompt delivery of software, regularity, less administration with high involvement of users, and customer satisfaction. The Crystal family endorses that each system or project is inimitable and needs the demand of various practices, processes, and policies to achieve the best results, earning the name of the most lightweight methods of agile methodology.
  1. Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)

    The Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) has been developed to address the need for a standard industry charter for the swift delivery of software. DSDM gives a thorough structure that is defined and modified to create a plan, execute, manage, and scale the procedure of software development. Based on a business-driven approach and eight principles, the DSDM believes that modifications to the project are always expected, and quality with timely delivery must never be negotiated.

Conclusion

Choosing the correct methodology among the different Agile framework types requires a dynamic approach. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each to select the best method for your company. Go for the framework that helps you get fantastic digital experiences in the increasingly competitive market. Note that the right agile approach also entices talents to your team.

This post has been a detailed guide to Agile methodology types. Here, you learned the concept of each of the most common Agile frameworks available. Hopefully, this article can help you pick up the method that best fits your organization’s needs.

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Are you struggling with software development delays and quality? We help insurance companies strengthen their software projects with smart, hybrid onshore-nearshore delivery teams.

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