Agile methodology can be defined as a software development methodology, which helps the software developers in their process. Though it is a software development methodology but it is used not only by the software developers but by project managers, team leaders, development managers, product managers, technical writers, QA engineers and managers engaged in delivering software to their organizations. For this reason, this methodology is used by a large number of industries and organizations all over the world to avail the advantages of shortening feedback loop, increasing collaboration between teams and delivering products faster. 

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In order to adopt this methodology, organizations have to move from traditional project management systems to Agile system but this transition was not as easy as it seems to be. The adoption of this methodology faced a number of hurdles and misconceptions like any other new approach or concept. In this write-up some of the top misconceptions attached to agile Methodology are discussed, in brief, to help you in understanding this concept more precisely.

No documentation is required:

The statement of one of the agile manifestoes saying that people misunderstood the use of comprehensive documentation for working software. This misunderstanding supported another myth that the team working on agile methodology do not use or create any kind of documentation. This misconception is not true as the project teams using agile methodology use and create documentation as the teams using other methodologies. At every stage of agile methodology, documentation is essentially important as the product of every cycle has to be tested and improved. The documentation in each cycle is important to know the right and wrong developments in the product and improvements required for them. This documentation will help in testing and improving the product accordingly.

Agile models cannot work with other models:

The incompatibility of agile methodology with the process models driven by other methodologies is another misconception, which is not true. On the contrary, agile methodology offers more flexibility to its users to include various aspects of traditional methods into it. Though the stages contained in the product development cycles of the agile method are shorter and multiple but they are complete like that of the other traditional methods. In this way, agile methods are extraordinarily compatible with the processes of traditional methods. The only way to combine agile method with a traditional plan-driven model like waterfall model is to use the sprints of the agile method within the linear structure of waterfall model to start work for next stage without completing the work of previous stage. The decision to combine agile methods with other methods and to what extent essentially depends upon the discretion of the project manager. 

No planning is required for the projects:

It is another very common misconception about agile methodology. This misconception is completely wrong as this methodology offers extensive flexibility to its users. Though it is true that the development process of agile is neither plan-driven nor has Gantt charts or WBS but still planning is done at a number of points like Dev Sprint Planning of formalized ceremonies including PO and PBR to address the goals and priorities of the project of the team. The stories of the ceremonies related to the owner of the product convey the details to the project team about their requirements and the project manager and the team establish their priorities to accomplish the task in a planned manner to plan build and run the project successfully. The establishment of the goals and priorities for a project helps in making a framework of the work stages which in turn helps in planning the tasks of the project and how to handle them effectively.

Role of management is eliminated in agile methodology:

Another misconception regarding agile methodology is that it eliminates the necessity of clearly defining the order and roles due to the exceptional flexibility provided by it as compared to traditional plan-driven methods. It is again not true as the role of every person is defined in agile and the owner of the product works as the manager of the project. The supervision of the project including the goals and priorities of the project team and leading the team to accomplish the task is the responsibility of the product owner.

In agile projects along with the product owner, there is a Scrum Master who is responsible to make sure that the development teams of the project complete the tasks within each sprint by working in the best condition. The agile product development team includes everyone involved in the project and responsible to achieve the goals of the project by working on it continuously. In order to decide the number of tasks to be done in each sprint and how to organize them to accomplish the project as soon as possible the development teams work with the product owner. 

Agile methodology is specifically for Software Development:

Another false misconception about agile methodology is that it is specifically developed for software development. Though initially agile project management started with development of software but with the passage of time it emerged as a complete methodology, which can be used to the projects of various other types where potential of change and continuation is higher and feedback cycles are shorter.

A wide range of industries from technology to financial services uses this methodology, especially by establishing businesses, for launching new products and services. The analysis of the design, situation, verification, implementation, maintenance and deployment are the stages of agile project management which help it in using them in agile methods in the projects other than software development as per the needs of the project. In this way, agile methodology is useful for any type of project. Along with maintaining the stages of the work the agile methodology also helps in making quick changes in the project, without requiring much feedback, to make market sensitive products which can be changed as per the changes in the lifestyle. 
Thus, even after these misconceptions, agile methodology is considered as a useful development methodology for the developers in a wide range of industries all over the world.

About the Author

Eshna VermaEshna Verma

Eshna writes on PMP, PRINCE2, ITIL, ITSM, & Ethical Hacking. She has done her Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication and is a Gold Medalist in the same. A voracious reader, she has penned several articles in leading national newspapers like TOI, HT, and The Telegraph. She loves travelling and photography.

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