Software project management is the process of planning and leading software projects. Agile development is one of the most popular of all software development methodologies. In an era when businesses and ideas grow rapidly and market needs change quickly, agile development principles serve these ever changing needs in cost-effective, timely, and responsive ways. This article gives you an overview of agile approach in software development.

History and the birth of Agile Development

In 1990s, industry experts noted the lag in software development whereas businesses were moving faster. As a result, software application was not able to meet the changing requirements of the business processes. Software developers were looking for methods to overcome this lag.

In the year 2001, a group of software developers with industry experts came together to develop a manifesto called “The Agile Manifesto” that marked the beginning of an evolution in software development.

Manifesto for Agile Software Development

Four principles were identified as the basis for all agile methodologies: Individuals and Interactions over processes and tools, Working Software over comprehensive documentation, Customer Collaboration over contract negotiation and Responding to Change over following a plan

Agile Software Development

Agile development is an umbrella term for several methodologies. An Agile methodology is an iterative and incremental approach towards software project management. It focuses on helping teams maintain and consistently deliver the business value through collaborative efforts. Software updates and new versions can be released regularly by smaller teams. Agile supports improved planning, quick fixing of issues, early and continuous delivery of tested software.

Agile is not just restricted to software development, Agile principles can be implemented in various departments of an organization as it primarily promotes quick, effective and transparent solution to problems. Most of the companies have switched to Agile development approach for its ability to be adaptable and flexible with changing market needs.

Advantages over Traditional Model

Traditional approach of software development, that refers to the Waterfall Model, follows sequential method that begins from preliminary analysis, requirements gathering then moves to product design, implementation and then ends at testing and maintenance phases.

Unlike traditional model, Agile’s adaptive approach allows flexibility of gathering requirements throughout project development life cycle. Work is carried out through a few iterative phases with close customer interaction in order to make the process more transparent and visible. The idea is to be ready with the working software to show the progress at any point of development.

Benefits of Agile

There are a number of benefits to using an agile approach to manage software development projects:

Customer Satisfaction

Involvement of the customer in the process of development implies high customer satisfaction. Demonstration of working functionality gives visibility and flexibility to change.

Business Value

with the high degree of collaboration between client and the development teams throughout the process gives opportunity to understand the needs and client’s visions gives the most business value.

Early Delivery

On of the primary goals of agile is to deliver product as early as possible. New features are released every few weeks through continuous development, testing, planning and feedback.

Quick Fixing of Issues

Ability to quickly respond to the changes without a plan of action makes the process faster.

Improved Quality

Project teams focus on high-quality development as the major tasks are broken down into smaller manageable sprints that are handled independently resulting in improved outcomes.

Reduced Risk

It lowers the risk of failure as tasks are carried out independently in multiple iterations, that allows teams to identify bugs and cost overruns easily.