Born back in 2001, the Agile methodology has been all the rage in the IT world over the last few years. As reported by GoodFirms, 61.50% of the companies that participated in their recent survey use the Agile approach.
And there’s no wonder for such popularity — Agile helps to achieve more efficient collaboration within the team and increased transparency due to the regular client involvement. But even more importantly, it allows teams to easily adapt to changes in requirements, effectively tackling one of the toughest challenges ever faced by developers.
What is Agile?
Agile is an approach to project management and software development that suggests delivering work in smaller increments. This allows teams to receive regular feedback, respond to challenges promptly, and make changes quickly. As a result, Agile teams deliver software faster and with minimum chances of failing to meet customer needs.
Agile is an overarching philosophy emphasizing the value of iterating fast and satisfying clients. There are many Agile frameworks based on Agile principles, each with its strengths and weaknesses, making it essential to choose one that suits your company size, team structure, available resources, etc.
The most common Agile frameworks include Scrum, Kanban, eXtreme Programming (XP), Lean, Rapid Application Development (RAD), Feature Driven Development (FDD), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DDSM), Adaptive Software Development (ASD), and Crystal.
Why product discovery is crucial for Agile
The Agile approach primarily focuses on fast delivery and customer satisfaction, which would be hardly possible to achieve without understanding the customer’s vision of the final product. To avoid misunderstandings and wasting resources, reliable Agile teams never get down to work without software product discovery.
Besides making sure that the team fully understands the customer’s needs and expectations, the discovery phase helps define the problem that users can solve with the product, providing useful insights as to prioritizing features.
As a result, you get well-defined requirements, which translates into lower costs and greater customer satisfaction.
Agile development lifecycle
Agile development is performed in a sequence of phases that can vary slightly depending on the Agile framework selected by the team. Still, these phases typically boil down to the following:
In this phase, the project goals and scope are identified. Also, the product owner creates a document outlining product requirements and time frames.
The next step involves assembling the right software development team to best fit the project’s needs. At this stage, the team can embark on the design process, producing a UI mock-up and building the architecture.
This is the most extended phase of Agile development when the development team actually builds the software. In Agile, the product is delivered in sprints, each designed to enhance the current version of the product by making changes based on customer feedback.
Although the product undergoes testing at each iteration, the final product is also tested to ensure it is fully functional, has no bugs, and is ready to go live.
Reviewing means examining project deliverables (including the requirements documents, source code, designs, test specifications, etc.) by all the stakeholders to collect feedback.
Software reviews fall into several types:
- peer reviews, undertaken by the developer’s teammates to assess the quality and technical content of the product;
- software management reviews, conducted by the management to evaluate the status of the work;
- software audit reviews are held by an external body to verify if the product complies with standards and specifications.
Software reviews are essential for software development since they go a long way toward spotting issues before the product hits the market.
Release and maintenance
Finally, the software is deployed and becomes available to its end users. But this is not the end of the story. Once released, the product enters the maintenance phase, meaning that the team provides ongoing support to ensure it runs smoothly.
Why go Agile
The Agile methodology is associated with a number of benefits. Let’s take a closer look at them.
High quality of the outcome
Agile methodologies use an iterative approach, meaning the product is improved with each iteration. A strong focus on improvement belongs to the fundamental principles of Agile, facilitating the creation of high-quality software.
Agile gives managers more effective control over the processes since it involves absolute transparency, continuous feedback, and quality-control features. All stakeholders are engaged in the project and can easily monitor the progress with the help of tracking tools.
More flexible teams
The Agile approach suggests that teams work in short sprints, which allows for better flexibility in making changes.
More predictable budget and time frames
Work done in sprints makes it easier for the project manager to analyze the team’s performance and allocate resources more effectively.
The Agile teams test and assess the product at each sprint, which provides them with better visibility into the project. This allows developers to identify and tackle issues early, minimizing potential risks.
Greater customer satisfaction
With Agile, customers are actively involved in the project development, providing feedback after each sprint, which helps make sure that the final product accurately aligns with the customer’s needs. Needless to say that such an approach inevitably feeds into customer satisfaction and trust.
From reduced risks to high customer satisfaction, the Agile approach has you covered. With so many benefits it provides, the number of teams using Agile will definitely grow. Still, it is essential to choose a framework that best addresses your team’s needs and never overlook the importance of project discovery phase in software development.