If you take a look at the list of most valuable companies in the world, you will find a majority of them to be software-based enterprises. Even the ones that aren’t are critically reliant on it. And it’s not just their application but software themselves have grown exponentially in complexity over the last decade to the extent that even a modest enterprise-level software can easily stretch out to thousands of lines of code. Now to keep up with this rising complexity and critical nature, software developers too have devised numerous models of which Agile remains the most popular.
But even before we get into the dynamics of the Agile method, we must have a clear understanding of why we use any model in the first place. Be it Waterfall, Spiral, RAD, or any other development methodology for that matter, what do they really contribute to the development process and the project as a whole?
In simple terms- order and manageability. Software is now built like any other industrial product and owing to its nature requires the highest degree of quality assurance and development flexibility. No matter the type or scale of the software you build, the Software Development Life cycle (SDLC) consists of the same six basic steps:
- Requirement Analysis
Traditionally all these steps were executed in series- one after the another. If you were building a mobile app, you would first design the entire app and then code it.
But the problem with this model is that there is no feedback mechanism. So if the designers make a mistake, the developers would code for that flawed design and the problem would be discovered only at the testing stage- leading to wastage of time and efforts. For complex systems where requirements often change within the development lifecycle, this inflexibility poses a major problem.
What is Agile model?
Like all other development methodologies, Agile too uses the same set of stages but differs in how it implements them. Rather than building the entire software at once, it builds it piece by piece. Crudely speaking, it breaks down the entire software into numerous parts and then each of those parts passes through all the five development stages. So if you are building a mobile app, you would first design a few screens, code for it and only after testing them that you would move on to other parts. This model works best with smaller teams with open communication between all stakeholders.
Agile is broadly an umbrella term to describe this iterative style of development and there are numerous such procedures that businesses use depending on their interests. Some of the most popular ones include:
- Lean development
- Unified process
- Extreme programming
No matter which procedure you choose, the basic principles of the Agile method remain the same.
Benefits of Agile method
Out of many, three of the most cited benefits for deploying Agile method include:
- Suited for building Minimum Viable Products (MVPs)
- Lesser chances of bugs in the final products
- Better adjusts to changing requirements
At a time when entire businesses rely on a piece of software, it is critical for them to adhere to the highest quality standards and that exactly what Agile method aims to achieve. In fact, offshore developers who often work with clients from across the globe find it quite empowering and are known to be one of the finest experts in building software through Agile methodology.