Today, 71% of companies choose Agile as a leading project management framework for software development. This shows its tremendous popularity.
Whether you're considering adopting an Agile project methodology or just want to learn more about its specifics, this article will help. We will talk about Agile methodology and its core characteristics and principles.
You will also find useful information about Scrum and Kanban, which are two main types for nurturing an Agile culture and delivering software quicker and more efficiently, and learn how you can check if they suit your project. So, let’s get simple answers to complex questions.
What does Agile project methodology mean?
Agile is the most common methodology for managing software development projects. Organizations of all sizes choose it for their project execution due to the numerous benefits it offers (we’ll discuss them a bit later). The Agile approach was initially intended solely for software development, but it has expanded and now is used to serve a wide range of tasks.
So what is agile project methodology all about? The key idea is that Agile project management prioritizes short work iterations above long-term project deadlines. Thus, the Agile workflow is split into iterations or sprints - short cycles lasting for a few weeks.
Each cycle is designed to cover a pipeline of small tasks. At the end of every sprint, a team analyzes the results and sets the priorities for the next cycle. In the Agile process, testing comes in parallel with development. As a result, a well-tested mini-product or a separate element is created during every sprint.
As a rule, in Agile groups, all team members, including developers, managers, designers, testers, and other employees, are equal within the work hierarchy (horizontal hierarchy). A product owner prioritizes duties and decides on what capability is essential in the first place. So, we can define the following basic characteristics of Agile:
Iterative work planning and implementation
Continuous testing and improvement during the development phase
Working in a lean manner
Committing to tiny increments at a time
Putting the client first
How is Agile different?
Before Agile appeared, teams had been using a traditional linear approach to managing a software development process called the Waterfall model. Let’s figure out the specifics of Waterfall and define how the Agile product methodology is different.
The Waterfall methodology highlights a project's linear implementation from start to finish. Before moving on to the next phase, project managers and team members must finish all tasks from the previous phase. They start at the top and work their way down, step by step. It's a very strict and logical procedure used by companies with a hierarchical structure. If something needs to be edited, the procedure must be restarted from the beginning, but this time with a new mindset.
Agile product methodology is the polar opposite. Agile is incremental, flexible, and iterative, whereas the Waterfall strategy is rigid, sequential, and linear. As we’ve already explained, project managers plan a series of short project milestones known as sprints, which are normally completed in two-week increments and involve all project members. This enables team check-ins, testing, feedback, and improvements to be made before the project is completed without having to restart from the beginning. An Agile project management approach based on sprints allows companies to share outcomes with stakeholders almost every week.
All in all, the main benefits of Agile methodology include an accelerated development process, reduced risks, greater customer satisfaction, and a superior quality product in the end. Most of the world's largest and fastest-growing companies—Amazon, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Apple, and Microsoft—apply Agile to many things. Their ability to adapt to changing market conditions is one of the reasons they have become the world's most successful companies.
12 Principles of Agile software to follow
The Agile software development approach was founded on the well-known Agile Manifesto, which outlined its key concepts, values, and principles. To implement Agile project methodology effectively, make sure you keep in mind the following things:
Customer satisfaction is the top goal. Thus we offer important software on time and schedule;
Changes in requirements are welcome, especially if they occur late in the development process. Agile methodology procedures take advantage of the change to help customers gain a competitive advantage;
Deliver working software regularly, anything from a few weeks to a few months, with a preference for a shorter time frame;
Throughout the project, business people and developers must collaborate daily;
Build projects around people who are passionate about what they're doing. Give them the space and support they require and trust them to do the task;
Face-to-face communication is the most efficient and effective way of transmitting information to and within a development team;
The most important measure of progress is working software;
Agile processes are all about sustainable development. Developers, sponsors, and consumers should all keep up with the pace indefinitely;
A constant focus on technical excellence and smart design improves agility;
Simplicity, or the art of minimizing the amount of effort that isn't done, is critical;
The team reflects on how to become more effective at regular intervals, then tunes and adapts its behavior accordingly;
Self-organizing teams produce the finest architecture, requirements, and designs.
Most popular types of Agile methodology
There are several types of Agile methodologies used by modern projects, including Extreme Programming (XP), Crystal, Feature-driven development (FDD), Lean Software Development, and others. However, we’ll focus on two of the most popular Agile types adored by millions of IT specialists worldwide—Kanban and Scrum.
1. Agile project management with Kanban
Kanban projects are managed with the use of a Kanban Board, which is separated into columns to illustrate the software development process flow. From concept to completion, work items are represented by cards that pass across these columns. This visual representation of work aids in eliminating bottlenecks and provides a "status update." This increases team visibility by allowing them to track progress through each stage of development and prepare for impending activities to deliver the product at the right time.
At TechWings, we use Kanban in the design stage. Agile project management with Kanban suits projects that include design work perfectly. This is because design projects are largely based on frequent communication with a customer and receiving feedback. Such an approach can radically change the direction or vision of the project, which does not work well in Scrum. Ultimately, the Kanban strategy enables cost savings as well as more efficient and speedier performance.
2. Agile project management with Scrum
Scrum is the most widely used Agile framework, with companies from 76 countries using it. In Scrum, as well as in Kanban, according to the general Agile approach, the development process is organized in sprints. Each sprint's development time is maximized and committed, allowing only one sprint to be managed at a time.
A Scrum team has dedicated project roles such as a Scrum master and a product owner. They hold daily scrums to ensure all activities are synchronized and a team discusses the best ways to implement a sprint.
You can check the official Scrum Guide to learn about this type in detail. It outlines a few roles and meetings that your team can start using right now, with no additional cost or training. It takes less than an hour to learn how to use a Scrum board.
At TechWings, we use Scrum in the development stage. Agile project management with Scrum is convenient to use for the development process, especially in conditions of high uncertainty when it is quite difficult to plan the entire project at once. We also often use separate tools from a particular methodology when it is impossible to apply a single method due to the nature of the project.
Agile methodology is extremely popular among project managers, teams, and organizations because it assists businesses in getting to market faster and assures that the company’s products and services meet customers’ expectations.
Agile methodology in project management helps to build and maintain high-performing teams and develop projects from start to finish flawlessly. Thanks to the ongoing feedback and reworking based on the Agile model, your final product will undergo rigorous testing before it is even released.
TechWings has successfully implemented hundreds of projects based on a well-established Agile methodology. We will help you complete your project quickly and at a high level using proven Agile methods, bringing value to your customers!