Developers and users can both benefit from agile software development. This is where apps are incrementally updated over short time spans. It is possible to learn more about its benefits and challenges.
Agile software development emphasizes iterative processes and collaboration between multiple stakeholders. Even though the agile method is no longer in use, it still serves as a foundation for many other practices such as DevOps or Site Reliability Engineering.
Agile software development was born in the early 2000s when a group of developers published the “AgileManifesto.” Software development at the time was slow and projects often missed their deadlines. Agile software development was promoted by its supporters as a faster, more efficient way to create and deploy software.
What is Agile Software Development?
Agile software development is based on two principles: collaboration and iteration.
Iteration allows developers to break down complex software development workflows into smaller parts that are easier to manage. Developers should not set large development goals, such as releasing a whole new set of features every year. Instead, they should focus on implementing each feature one at a time. The application develops incrementally as a result.
Iterative development was a viable alternative to the traditional “waterfall” model of development that existed at the time. The waterfall approach requires that major software updates are released on a regular basis. The waterfall development approach is similar to a series of waterfalls. Application functionality remains the same until it receives major updates.
Developers may face difficulties when using a waterfall approach. It is often more difficult to establish a realistic timeline for the implementation of a large number of features than for individual features. Because new features often depend on each other, delays in the development and implementation of one feature can lead to problems in the development of the rest, which can muddy the whole development process.
Users may also find waterfall development difficult. Users often have to wait for updates and may not receive them in the time frame they desire. Users may also face significant learning curves once updates arrive. The application has changed dramatically and there is not much to prepare them for.
The agile framework prioritizes iterative feature update cycles. This makes the software development lifecycle easier for developers and enhances the user experience.
Agile development emphasizes collaboration to meet the needs of all stakeholders.
Before agile practices, developers decided which features to implement without much feedback from users or the IT engineers who were responsible for the software’s management. Developers sometimes created features that were not of value to users or made it difficult for IT teams to manage the applications.
A perfect agile project encourages close collaboration between developers, and other stakeholders and aims to avoid these issues. Agile is not as effective as DevOps in this regard. DevOps explicitly promotes close collaboration between IT and developers and encourages specific processes to enable collaboration such as CI/CD. Agile still emphasizes collaboration as an overall principle. This is why agile thinking is often seen to be a precursor to the DevOps movement, which emerged in the latter 2010s.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of agile software development?
These are the main benefits of agile tool, as we have already mentioned:
- It is possible to manage the application update cycles and reduce the chance of delays
- Users get rapid application enhancements
- Users learn more quickly by learning with each app update.
- Strong ability to implement features that stakeholders value;
- Improved alignment between IT and developers
The greatest drawback of agile software development is the effort required to coordinate. It takes more effort to plan iterative updates than to identify large numbers of features that will be implemented over a long time. Also, gathering feedback from stakeholders takes more work than allowing developers to decide what features to build.
Agile development teams could also fall prey to the temptation of implementing small, incremental updates that don’t add up to significant application changes. It can be hard to create a completely new application version because agile teams tend to focus on iterative updates rather than major overhauls. Custom software Developers can avoid this by understanding how to reach major milestones through small changes and not implementing new features on a sporadic basis without a long-term plan.
Examples of Agile Software Development
Software development teams use agile development has many real-world applications. Below are a few examples.
Moving from Waterfall to Agile
One of the most common uses is to move from a waterfall-based development process to an agile process. Many teams have made this transition by now. For organizations that still rely upon slow release cycles or lack strong collaboration among developers and other stakeholders, agile is a crucial step towards overall modernization.
Refactoring a Monolithic Application
Agile development is a way to refactor monolithic applications. These are those that run as one process and are built on one codebase. This can be used to create microservices-based applications. Microservices applications break down an application into separate services with their own codebase. Although developers could theoretically create a microservices application without using agile, it is much easier to update each microservice individually and make changes to the app iteratively with an agile approach.
Transitioning To DevOps
Agile software development doesn’t necessarily mean DevOps. DevOps is more about specific processes like CI/CD. Agile, however, is more of an approach than a methodology.
Agile emphasizes many core principles that DevOps does. DevOps is often used as a stepping stone by agile developers.
Building A Larger Team
Agile development is an effective strategy for companies that are growing and require a more efficient way to manage projects. While a small development team with a project manager may be able to succeed with a waterfall approach, entire teams might need agile in order to maintain efficient development operations.
Agile software development is a way for organizations to become more digital-first and innovative. Agile software development allows teams to be more agile and more efficient in their development processes, which allows them to take advantage of digital resources more effectively and respond more quickly and efficiently to technological advances.
Although agile software development is no longer at the forefront of innovation, it remains an integral part of how businesses approach software development. It is also an important stepping stone to other modern development practices like DevOps.