When you’re looking for a software development team, what’s most important. Price? Timeframe? It’s easy to make these most important. Rather, what you should be looking at is their process. Today we’re going to discuss the benefits of agile software development methodology, and why its alternatives aren’t as effective.
What is agile software development?
Agile software development delivers work in stages. Some people believe it’s a looser way of operating, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We’ll touch on all the benefits shortly, but agile methodology gives customers more control, less risk of budget blowouts and a better end product. The main stages of development are:
What’s the alternative?
The alternative is ‘waterfall’ methodology. In essence, this involves planning the entire project before commencing work. It’s also known as a ‘fixed price’ project, which in itself is often misleading.
Because every facet of development is planned before you start, there’s very little room for adjustment. So, for example, the customer decides halfway through that their software needs additional features, you need to reset, re-plan and seek approval for the additional cost.
The benefits of going agile
So, why is agile better? Well, there’s a whole lot of reasons why we use an agile methodology for software development. Here’s just a few.
More tailored end product
In software development, change is a constant. As you move through projects, markets change, customer needs change and that means project direction changes. With agile methodology, you’re able to change direction much easier, usually without extra cost. That’s the benefits of doing everything in stages.
There is also more testing in agile, because you’re constantly testing at every stage. In other methods, problems may not even be discovered until the whole project is completed.
Agile software development promotes more collaboration
When you work with agile methodology, customers are much more involved in the process. Because you’ve clearly mapped out each stage of development, a customer knows what to expect and when. They also get to see parts of the product and test it along the way, making sure it truly meets their needs.
Less risk of problems
Regular testing throughout development ensures that each piece of the final product works correctly. More to the point, issues are fixed along the way without stalling progress. In agile methodology, the small chunks of work are known as ‘sprints’. While one ‘sprint’ is being tested and bugs are being ironed out, developers can still move on to the next stage. This also gives better visibility of risks and potential problems. It makes things quicker for the next stage of development.
Better budgeting for software development
When you budget in agile methodology, there’s essentially a cost assigned to each sprint. Now, if the focus or direction of that sprint changes along the way, it usually doesn’t result in extra costs. Unless of course it’s a complete change of direction and the customer wants a lot more than first thought. With fixed price projects, if the customer’s needs change halfway through, there will be extra costs. That never makes a customer happy. So, in agile methodology for software development, you can ensure an overall higher level of customer satisfaction.