How to be Agile: A Guide to Agile Scrum Development

Agile Scrum Software Development

Everyone talks about being an Agile development firm, but what does that really mean? As a client, you ought to arm yourself with knowledge to help you discern the real thing from the misguided. Business owners and Product Managers may want to be sure they’re taking full advantage of the powerful methodology.

There are many different variations of Agile methodology, each with its own set of advantages. Here at Codal, we implement Agile Scrum methodology, which emphasizes a test-driven development approach.

This article will illuminate the five most important aspects of Agile application development from the perspective of a successful Agile Scrum development firm.

1. Agile requires an iterative and incremental approach to development.

With Scrum, Agile developers are given a simplified project design, which becomes organized into small modules. Modules are completed in short, iterative and incremental “sprints,” after which they are tested for quality assurance, and reviewed by the client.

The modular nature of Agile Scrum development means that clients are given much more accurate insight into the actual progress made on a project, because the status of the project is measured and evaluated at the end of every sprint—and before beginning work on the next.

2. Transparency is essential.

Efficient face-to-face communication between the development team and client is an integral part of Agile methodology. Over the course of a project, the client becomes engaged in every step of the design and development process.

In this way, the client may rest assured that their project is on track, and their money is not being wasted. Furthermore, at the end of each sprint, the client may review the status of the project and request changes to be implemented in a subsequent sprint.

3. The timeframe for review and adaptation is very short.

The short timeframe for review and adaptation in Agile based projects enables developers to address any new concerns or product requirements as they come up. As a result, teams are able to align the software that is being developed with the evolving needs of the client—and the industry.

This process is central to the success of Agile methodology in environments where the requirements for adaptability exceed those offered by other product management methodologies.

4. Agile builds are all about quality assurance.

Quality assurance is a fundamental aspect of Agile development. Agile builds—when done right—tend to be very high quality, having undergone testing and revisions multiple times by the time they are completed.

Short, iterative and incremental sprints, in conjunction with a shortened timeframe for review and adaptation, ensure that Agile builds meet or exceed the qualitative and functional expectations of the client.

5. Agile methodology is not the same as Waterfall development.

You may be wondering about the differences between Agile and Waterfall development, one of the leading product management methodology.

Agile Methodology Waterfall Development
Advantages
  • Allows for changes to be made at any stage of development
  • Ensures that the project can stay up to date with the latest developments
  • Clients are involved, and offer feedback, at every stage of the project
  • The project undergoes testing at the end of each sprint
  • Works very well in environments where the same model for development can be used more than once
  • The client knows what to expect from the developers
  • Excellent documentation practices ensure minimal project impact should employee turnover become necessary
Disadvantages
  • Changes to the project at multiple points in the design process can occasionally cause the finished product to be very different from the initial design
  • The project will often only be as good as its project manager
  • Developers cannot go back to previous phases of development and make changes to the code
  • Errors in previous phases can drastically affect the code the in following phases
  • Waterfall development does not allow for changes to made based on the evolving needs of the client
  • The project may only be tested once development has been fully completed

Having established that Agile and Waterfall are very different, we ought to explore the appropriate uses for each.

Agile methodology is an appropriate choice for businesses that place a higher value on rapid production, adaptability, and client involvement. On the other hand, Waterfall development is the right choice for businesses whose clients have a clear vision of the finished product, and no desire—or opportunity—to alter the scope of the build once the project has begun.