With an aim to discuss new techniques and work processes, 17 software development experts conducted a meeting in Snowbird, Utah. During the meeting, they all reached the general consensus that traditional methods like the Waterfall Methodology are very static.
After a lot of pondering and comparing ideal scenarios, these 17 software development experts invented a new methodology called ‘Agile.’ The purpose of this methodology was to favour individuals and their interactions throughout the process, promote collaboration with customers, and have the ability to accept changes in the process.
Regardless of your role, if you’re part of the IT industry, you must have heard about Agile methodology and must have at least once cooperated with it. That being said, despite enjoying immense popularity and such a wide reach, many people still aren’t clear about what exactly the Agile methodology is.
According to a Forbes article, Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Netscape Communications Corporation and co-author of Mosaic said that one of the first web browsers that have a graphical interface and that makes use of the technology and innovation will dominate the market. And, that’s precisely how it turned out. Currently, the world’s largest companies that are ruling the market, including Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google, are tech firms.
Hence, to be on top of the industry, it’s key to be able to adapt in response to changing market needs by adopting the Agile methodology.
In fact, many companies have reported that by using Agile practices through optimized projects, their software development teams are able to create software more quickly.
However, Agile does come with its fair share of cons too. More often than not, common-sense is often pushed aside during development to follow Agile practices, or the methodology is bent to allow sloppy management decisions. As expected, the end result isn’t ideal.
Even though a majority of the development projects has used Agile in some form, there are some specifications about the effectiveness.
In this blog, we will cover certain pros and cons of Agile to determine if the methodology is a boon or a bane to software development companies.
The Perks of Agile
A stark opposite to traditional forms of project development and deployment, Agile methodologies and practices offer the following benefits for a company:
Arguably, the biggest and most prominent benefits of implementing an Agile framework is improved product quality.
The methodology breaks down the project into smaller, manageable units, which allows the project management team to focus on quality development, testing and collaboration in each phase of the process. Moreover, by conducting tests and reviews during each phase or iteration, the team is able to find and fix any defects immediately, thereby saving time and effort.
Hence, by adopting Agile practices for software development, companies can provide the software quickly, while maintaining quality. This results in an increased level of client satisfaction.
Focus on Users
A key aspect of the Agile methodology is to inculcate user feedback into the software development process, particularly to define product features. Hence, by focusing on the demands of real users, each feature and component of the software will deliver value and not just depend on assumptions.
To achieve this, Agile dictates that the software must be beta-tested in sprints, thereby gaining valuable insights and feedback early in the project. This gives enough time and space to make changes as needed.
By implementing an Agile process, you will get multiple opportunities to interact and collaborate with stakeholders, before, during, and even after every sprint. This allows you to get the stakeholders feedback and inputs in every phase, which gives your team the opportunity to truly understand the business’ vision, accomplish business goals, and gain the stakeholder’s trust.
Moreover, stakeholders feel like they are a part of the entire project too, thereby giving them an opportunity to work with the team and correct any misdirections in the early stages.
Another valuable benefit of implementing the Agile methodology is that the customer or end-user has complete control of the direction of the software. Moreover, using the Scrum methodology, the process offers complete transparency through Sprints or organizing work deliverables every two weeks.
Basically, the team that makes use of the Agile methodology conduct daily meetings to discuss and analyze the state of their tasks, including the progress they’ve made and what’s next on their to-do list.
The client receives full access to the updates of these meetings, thereby ensuring that they can measure and track the progress of the overall development. Moreover, they also get the opportunity to review each deliverable in detail and inform the team about scopes of improvement.
This continuous collaboration between the team and the client ensures that the final product matches exactly what the client needs, without going through the hassles of reworking or making corrections to the final product.
Room for Change
Another prominent benefit of the Agile methodology is that contrary to its predecessor, the Waterfall model, it makes room for change. While it is true that the team needs to focus its efforts on completing the predecided tasks while developing the software in each Sprint, there is always an opportunity to better the product by taking feedback from stakeholders or customers into consideration.
Any new updates or changes that need to be made can be adjusted into the next sprint. That’s why the Agile methodology is highly effective when it comes to integrating real-time feedback with an aim to better the software.
The Negatives of Agile
While there are a host of various pros and benefits of adopting the Agile methodology, there are few reasons why you should reconsider this process as well. Mentioned below are a few of them.
You Are Using Agile To Appear More Modern
Many companies simply adopt the Agile methodology because it is currently trending and working for many other companies. However, that is not a good reason to adopt this methodology.
This is because, if you’re simply adopting the methodology because it’s the latest trend, you don’t actually understand or appreciate the benefits of Agile. This will ultimately lead to failure as you won’t know how to optimally leverage this methodology.
Your Processes Are Expensive With Agile
While effective, Agile doesn’t always work with the development of every project. You need to consider the costs of moving to Agile, especially if your current products are regulated. For example, the Food and Drug Administration allows certain flexibility to incorporate Agile methods, however, their teams have developed extensive documentation and tests that are focused on the current method. Replacing these documents come at a great cost. Hence, you must consider is Agile is making your already functional processes expensive.
Your Team Doesn’t Understand Agile
More often than not, many teams start using Agile methodologies based on only what they’ve read online. Sometimes the information may be wrong, but almost always it’s certainly incomplete.
This results in many teams practicing mere terminologies, instead of understanding the undervalue behind each process. So, if the development team doesn’t have sufficient knowledge in the subject, there’s no use of implementing the Agile methodology.
In conclusion, there’s no doubt that the Agile methodology is a boon for almost every software development company. However, if you adopt Agile without proper training, it can quickly become an expensive liability.