A Guide on Agile Software Development: Methods, Tools and Best Practices

Listen to this article

Agile Software Development

This year’s findings indicate significant growth in Agile adoption within software development teams, increasing from 37% in 2020 to 86% in 2021 – 15th State of Agile Report.

Agile software development has proved to be a game-changer for many software development teams. All thanks to this approach, they can now release high-quality products in the market much faster.

However, agile is also a nightmare for those who adopt it without completely understanding it. A half-baked understanding of the approach becomes a dangerous pitfall that takes down the entire project. That’s why it’s essential to get familiar with agile software development before applying it to practice.

This blog will discuss everything you need to know about agile software development and how you can make the most out of it. Grab a coffee and read on as we thoroughly explore the agile software development approach.

What is agile software development?

Agile is a flexible and incremental software development approach in which teams deliver work in time-boxed sprint cycles. Each sprint lasts two weeks, and a team can only start working on a new sprint once they’ve completed the old one. The idea is to deliver value in tiny, digestible cycles instead of relying on a big launch.

Agile software development principles

The agile software development approach operates on the following 12 principles:

  • Always satisfy your customers by continuously delivering valuable software.
  • Even late in development, you must welcome changing requirements to offer a competitive advantage to customers.
  • Frequently deliver actionable software from a few weeks to a few months.
  • Your agile development team should work together daily throughout the project.
  • Keep your team’s morale high by offering them the environment and support they need to work efficiently.
  • Face-to-face conversations are the most efficient way to convey information and deliver feedback to your development team.
  • Working software should be the only way to measure progress.
  • It would be best if you focused on creating a process that promotes sustainable efforts and development.
  • Pay continuous attention to technical excellence and sound design, enhancing agility.
  • Self-organized teams deliver the best architectures, requirements, designs, and products.
  • Make your teams regularly reflect on how to become more efficient, and then adjust accordingly.

Benefits of agile software development

  • Agile helps you run your projects smoothly by predicting potential risks on time and helping you plan effective mitigation strategies to avoid them.
  • The agile approach helps you ensure client satisfaction by involving them in decision-making throughout your project.
  • Teams organize and thrive better in an agile environment. It gives them greater autonomy and authority over their decisions. As a result, team members feel confident enough to handle crucial tasks, ultimately boosting your team’s morale.
  • Since agile sprints are continuously tested, your product’s quality is superior. Also, if the client doesn’t like anything, you can easily incorporate their feedback without affecting the project’s progress.

4 best agile software development methodologies

1. Kanban

The Kanban methodology relies on visual cues to facilitate planning throughout the project. Here’s what we do in the Kanban approach:

  • Break the project into a series of tasks and list them on the Kanban board that lists three stages: To do, Doing, and Done.
  • Once the tasks are listed, each member can pick a task and start working on it.
  • After finishing the task, the member can move it to the done stage and pick the next task.

It results in greater visibility as each team can observe progress in each development process and deliver the product on time. However, Kanban requires extensive contact and openness among your team. Also, each member must be willing to maintain a continuous workflow.

2. Scrum

Scrum is a popular agile software development approach that helps organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems. In this approach, we divide the work into smaller planning periods, Sprints, lasting around 2-4 weeks. As a result, teams become flexible while keeping productivity intact.

3. Lean software development

Lean software development aims to maximize productivity by reducing waste and getting the most done with minimum effort. The approach works on the following seven principles:

  • Reduce waste
  • Encourage learning
  • Deliver fast
  • Empower your team
  • Wait until the last moment to make a decision.
  • Build integrity into your work processes
  • Always see the process as a whole

The lean approach is best for organizations on a tight budget as it significantly reduces costs by eliminating unnecessary processes.

4. Scaled Agile Framework

The scaled agile framework (SAFe) is a set of organizational practices designed to guide enterprises in scaling agile and lean practices. It operates on the following core values:

  • Alignment: All teams should work in coherence to achieve their goals.
  • Built-in quality: Focus on achieving agility but not on the cost of quality.
  • Transparency: Plan work in smaller batch sizes to offer your team members real-time visibility.
  • Program execution: Ensure your teams deliver quality and business value regularly.
  • Leadership: Support lean-agile leadership behavior because only leaders can change the system and embrace all core values.

The SAFe framework provides flexibility for smaller teams and offers solutions to common issues encountered by large-scale companies using Agile methods.

Agile Software Development Best Practices

  • Use agile estimation techniques to predict the time accurately and effort your team needs to complete the project. It would ensure each member delivers what’s expected and the team sticks to timely deliverables.
  • Involve the customer in your project right from the beginning. This way, you can quickly incorporate their feedback and ensure the project turns out to be as expected.
  • You must favor individual and team interactions over processes and tools. People drive development processes and respond to customer demands, which are essential for growth.
  • A working software holds more importance than comprehensive documentation. You shouldn’t delay software development because of it. Instead, only the information required to continue with the project is enough.
  • Communication and collaboration are keys to success in agile software development. Make sure your teams regularly connect and attend scrums. It would ensure the product fulfills your expectations.
  • Changes help you enhance your project by adding value to it. Hence, any requested changes should be made immediately.

Conclusion

Agile software development is vast. What we explored in this blog is just the tip of the iceberg. It uncovers all the basics you need to know before beginning your journey into the agile methodology. Next, you only need to put what you learned here into practice because, as a wise member of my team often says, you forget 40% of the knowledge if you don’t apply it within 72 hours. So, best of luck!


Roy M is a technical content writer for the last 8 years with vast knowledge in digital marketing, wireframe and graphics designing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.