Agile is literally defined as being fast, or quick. There are different opinions on what agile actually refers to, but in the field of development, agile refers to how quick a person is to adapt. It refers to how quick a person is to respond to change, or create something that is useful for the community.
Here is what agile software development is, and how it actually works:
What is agile software development:
Agile software development software is a compact collection of practices such as pair programming, sprints, planning, and so much more to develop a software in a fast, and efficient manner, and to save resources in the long run.
Agile development is a way for programmers to tackle a certain problem in a way that saves them time in the entire project, by following a certain set of rules. These rules are steadfast, and must be followed throughout, so that the problem can easily be solved without wasting resources. There are many frameworks, and techniques in ASD, but that depends on who is trying to implement agile software development.
How does it actually work?
Here is a brief view of how agile software development works:
Agile development is a mindset
Some people confuse fast development as a mindset with a technique. Sure, there are a certain set of tricks and techniques that must be followed for agile development, but for a developer, the most important thing is their mindset. Agile development is, therefore, a mindset. A complete mindset of how to approach and tackle a certain problem without losing resources, or time.
Agile development is ever-so-evolving & adaptive
Agile development is an always-evolving process. Because development is always changing, and there is always a way to do something in a different manner, agile development respects that and follows it as a hardcoded methodology.
Both the developer, and the customer have to do a collaborative effort of self-organizing. When both sides know what they want, agile development will reach the maximum scale, and both parties will enjoy benefit.
Communication is key
The best way to produce a software solution to a problem is to properly understand the problem first. This is where proper communication comes in. Communication is the key to solving every kind of issue in the world. There are many different ways to communicate, but the most efficient way is for face-to-face communication.
The entire principle of co-location is very important here. Not only should the client and the company be able to sit down and have a face-to-face chat, but the programmers of the company should be able to do that too. Talking over Skype and other online mediums is a nice alternative, but the most efficient way of communication is to directly interact with each other.
For an interaction between the client and the company, there should be a proper customer representative from the company’s side that is able to properly represent the company in front of the customer, and vice versa. That person should be able to provide a proper channel of information between each other, while ensuring that neither sides have any kind of issues when it comes to understanding the problem, and the various steps that might be taken to save that problem.
Feedback loop is important
A very important element of agile software development is to do a complete feedback loop. Feedback is important no matter what kind of application is to be developed. Feedback doesn’t only have to concern the complete application, but only a certain part of the application too.
By reporting the different parts of programs that are assigned to a certain member of the team on a regular basis, the overall efficiency of the team can be increased, and the software can be developed on a faster basis, than it would have been developed if the company didn’t do a feedback loop.
By continuously checking for feedback, the company is also looking out for any potential roadblocks on their way to making a complete program.
Focus on quality too
By quickly developing the application, and the usage of certain tools like automated unit testing, the team can easily focus on increasing the overall quality of the application. This is basically the last phase of agile software development, but is very important as this can prove to be vital in helping the developer build a good relation with the customer.
The team can either have quality assurance members onboard, or employ the developers themselves to do the quality testing after they are done developing their part of the program. This can go in an infinite number of ways, depending on the mindset of the company and the developers.
It targets dynamic products
Agile software development targets products that are dynamic, and can be changed easily. Several parts of the software product should be removable/changeable without much effort at all. This is because agile software development must develop products that are long-lasting and can be used by a certain company for a variety of tasks, for a longer time period than normal products.
The products shouldn’t be linear, but should following a non-deterministic and non-linear characteristic approach.
Agile means diving head on
Most agile developers dive head on into developing the program against the problem, and skip the previous steps that they had been taught in the basics of programming. Though this might not be a good idea in many cases, being able to dive head on might save a lot of potential resources. This depends from case to case, but ultimately the developers themselves should be flexible enough to choose between developing the up-front of the application, and diving directly into the program’s development.
Agile software development is more likely used in smaller projects, because this is where agile development works the best. This is also the scenario where the customer would save the most resources. Using a different approach like the waterfall software development approach might be better for bigger projects though.
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