Understanding Agile Process: Everything You Need to Know

In the years before the 2000s, product development was quite a complicated process. Imagine this, mid-way through working on a project; the client adds a new set of requirements. Perplexing, isn’t it?

Given the process methodology of that time - The Waterfall Model, it was nearly impossible to add those new impromptu requirements. But in 2001, things changed with the introduction of agile. The agile process is now one of the most commonly used methods in the world. 

In this article on the agile process, we’ll be covering the following topics: 

  1. The Waterfall Model
  2. What is Agile?
  3. Agile Principles
  4. What Are the Advantages of the Agile Process?
  5. Agile Methodologies

First things first, let’s dive into the waterfall model.

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The Waterfall Model

Before 2001, most organizations used the waterfall model to perform project activities. It is a methodology that involves teams following a series of systematic steps. The possibility to move forward in this model is possible only when the preceding steps are complete. 

This method is best suited in scenarios where the teams are small, and work is expected to go ahead in a predictable order. But this wasn’t always feasible. Here are some reasons as to why an alternative methodology was essential:

  1. Making changes was difficult to do and incorporate.
  2. There was little or no focus on the clients/end-user.
  3. Most of the testing phase was delayed until the end of the project.
  4. It was hard to measure the progress within different stages of the project.
  5. Until very late in the project lifecycle, no working software was produced.
  6. It had high chances of risk and uncertainty. Hence it wasn’t suitable for long and ongoing projects.

watefall-model

The Waterfall Model - Agile Process

Next up, let’s have a look at what exactly Agile is.

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What is Agile?

Agile is a set of principles that are used to improve the process of project management and software development. To put in simple terms, Agile helps teams in delivering value to customers quickly and effortlessly. 

The work provided, although small, is in usable increments. The requirements, plans, and results are evaluated consistently. Thanks to this, teams are able to respond to changes swiftly and efficiently.

Every primary value and principle that’s related to agile is mentioned in the agile manifesto. The agile manifesto mainly focuses on these values:

agile-manifesto

Agile Manifesto

Now, let’s move on to the principles of agile. 

Agile Principles

Here is a sneak peek into some of the principles that help make the Agile Process what it is:

  1. Customer satisfaction: Customers need to be satisfied with the quick delivery of the product at the earliest.
  2. Welcome change: Even if the change is late in the development process, it needs to be addressed and handled as soon as possible.
  3. Deliver frequently: The focus must be on the continuous delivery of software in a shorter timescale.
  4. Work together: Business units and developers need to work in tandem throughout the project lifespan.
  5. Motivated team: The projects need to have motivated team members. They must also be trusted to get the work done.
  6. Face-to-face: Conversations that take place face-to-face have maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
  7. Working software: The primary measure of progress is evaluated based on the working software created.
  8. Constant pace: The agile process is greatly beneficial when it comes to sustainable development.
  9. Good design: Focusing on technological excellence and good design can significantly affect agility.
  10.  Simplicity: The amount of work not being done needs to be reduced via simpler processes.
  11.  Self-organized: Self-organized teams end up providing the best architectures, designs, and requirements.
  12.  Reflection and adjustment: The effectiveness can be significantly improved by regular reflection on it, by the team.

Now, let’s have a look at some of the advantages of the agile process. 

What Are the Advantages of the Agile Process?

  • Thanks to agile, there will be plenty of interaction between the project team and the clients.
  • The clients can have greater insight into every phase of the project, due to improved transparency.
  • The outputs are easily predicted, and can sometimes be delivered faster than expected.
  • Most projects follow a rigid schedule and can incur predictable costs.
  • Agile enables changes that can empower the product catalog to be refined and reprioritized.
  • The maximum project value can be ensured since the client can decide the priorities of the features.
  • By understanding the needs of the customer, the team can provide more value effortlessly.
  • Since the project is broken down into smaller units, development, testing, and collaboration will be of the highest quality.

Now, let’s have a look at some of the ways to implement agile. 

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Agile Methodologies

The following are some of the methods to implement agile: 

  1. XP
  2. Kanban
  3. Lean
  4. Scrum
  5. Crystal

Let’s go through each one of these methods:

XP (Extreme Programming)

Extreme Programming is a framework that helps teams create the highest quality of software while improving their quality of life. It combines software development with appropriate engineering processes.

When is it applicable?

  • When there are changing software requirements
  • When risks caused due to new software need to be handled
  • When there’s work with a small, extended development team
  • When technology is required for automated unit and functional tests

Kanban

This method is primarily used for designing, managing, and improving the flow of systems. With Kanban, organizations can better visualize their workflow and reduce the amount of work in progress.

When is it applicable?

  • Wherein the arrival of work is unpredictable
  • When work needs to be deployed immediately, without having to work for other items

Lean

It is a set of tools and principles that identify and remove waste, to speed up process development. It emphasizes on maximizing value to the client while minimizing waste.

When is it applicable?

  • When used in any domain that produces any kind of waste.

Scrum

Scrum is a framework used by teams for establishing a hypothesis, trying out how it works, reflecting on the experience, and making appropriate adjustments. Depending on the team’s requirements, Scrum enables them to incorporate practices from other frameworks. 

When is it applicable?

  • When teams are cross-functional and have work divided into more than one 2-4 week iteration. 

Crystal

It is an approach to software development that emphasizes people and interactions, instead of tools and processes. It primarily focuses on streamlining processes and improving optimization. Crystal's main principle is that all projects are unique and dynamic, with specific methods of handling each one of them.

When is it applicable?

  • When the primary focus is on strengthening team communication. It also focuses on continuous integration, configurable processes, and active user engagement. 
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Conclusion

This article on the agile processes talked about several different areas associated with it. From the waterfall model to the principles of agile, to the advantages of agile and the various agile methodologies, a wide spectrum of topics were explored. 

Do you have any more questions about Agile? Let us know in the comment section. Our experts will get back to you on this, as soon as possible! 

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