Agile Development, the modern software development process
Agile development methodologies were created to make software creation routines more flexible and to provide more agility for teams to adapt to any type of change. In general, agile methods are more flexible and have the foundation for teams to deliver results quickly.
Bascially, agile frameworks work on four principles from the Agile Manifesto (see more details in https://agilemanifesto.org):
- Focus on individuals and their interactions with procedures and tools;
- Software functionalities prioritized against the creation of comprehensive documentation;
- Client collaboration above contract negotiation and definition;
- High responsiveness to change.
Shorter development cycles are one of the biggest advantages of the agile methodology. They allow a company to maintain greater contact with the customer and make changes whenever necessary.
In a smaller interval the results are presented, feedback is given, and corrections are made. As a result, the chances for the business to succeed with the initiative are much greater.
A widely used example of an agile method is Scrum.Many different companies of various business areas and sizes use the Scrum Framework. Scrum has a specific framework with ceremonies, artifacts and roles. The principles of Scrum are based on collaboration between people and agile culture.
Comparison Waterfall vs Agile
In general, the differences between Waterfall and Agile focus on:
- Cascade: Late delivery of value (only at the end of the project) with a need for prior detailing of the scope and with great difficulty in managing changes.
- Agile: Early delivery of value (incremental) with the need for short feedback loops and constant prioritization. This model is flexible and facilitates change management.
The waterfall model is simple to understand and to manage, as it is a linear process, but in fact, for software development all the lack of definitions and unknown requirements can lead a project to failure.
About the waterfall model we can say that it can fit well for specific projects where requirements are easily understandable, the results of which are predictable, and where there is little expected scope variation, but it is very difficult to occur nowadays.
Advantages of the agile model
It is a customer-focused process. Thus, it ensures that the customer is involved at all stages. In addition to this:
- Agile teams are extremely motivated and self-organized;
- Agile teams focus on quality;
- The process is entirely based on incremental progress, this reduces risk in the development process.
Waterfall Model Limitations
It is not an ideal model for a project in complex environments (low predictability) and also if the requirement is not clear at the outset, it is a less effective method.
The testing process is another challenge in the waterfall process. Testing starts as soon as development ends. Consequently, it has a high chance of finding bugs late in development where they are expensive to fix.
The decision between using a traditional waterfall development model or an agile model depends on your context. Therefore it is important, before making the decision to migrate from one model to another, to identify whether your context requires adaptability or is more predictable.
The Cascade model is best suited for projects that have clearly defined requirements and where change is not expected. While Agile development supports a process in which requirements must change and evolve, the most common scenario nowadays.
In the case of the agile model, it is important in addition to tools and frameworks, a cultural change focused on collaborative work and focused on small incremental deliveries. In addition it introduces a product mindset that focuses on ensuring that the developed application satisfies its end customers and changes accordingly.