The Agile software development process emphasizes the flexibility, changeability, and responsiveness of agile principles. In order to achieve agile principles, the project should be flexible, changes should be made to the product as needed, and the team should respond to feedback in regular intervals from stakeholders.
How agile software development increases agility in your business and what business benefits it can offer will be discussed in this post.
What is agile software development?
The Agile approach to software development tries to keep up with changing customer needs. With a continuous focus on both business value and technical quality, it delivers the most important features first.
Agility contrasts with more traditional methods of developing software, such as plan-driven or waterfall methods where requirements are outlined in advance, all at once, prior to writing any code, leading to too many bugs being discovered after significant development time has passed.
Compared with the waterfall model, agile software development proves to be more efficient and agile. It allows for scope changes when business needs change, which can lead to cost savings, higher customer satisfaction, and faster delivery times.
Read more about the Agile philosophy in this article.
How does agile software development work?
In an agile environment, the software is released early and often, resulting in rapid delivery and value creation. In order to bring products rapidly to market, teams work in shorter cycles (called iterations). Together with customers, suppliers, partners, and other stakeholders, they capture valuable information about the problem they’re trying to solve.
As long as your team follows tried-and-true processes that ensure quality at each step, you can deliver work at any time during or between these short cycles without causing chaos. In addition, the faster delivery pace puts your product on an equal footing with competing offerings.
Let’s compare: Agile vs Waterfall
The waterfall approach is more regimented than agile when it comes to managing projects. It’s about planning in advance and completing one phase before moving onto another, whereas with agile, phases are more dynamic and they overlap in time.
Agile can be adopted without high costs since changes can be made quickly to accommodate for the changing conditions, while waterfall requires higher upfront investments with reduced flexibility over time.
They both rely on “rigid budgets”, but with waterfall, you cannot change that budget after the beginning stages because it will throw off all of your established plans; whereas if you use agile you know you can make adjustments later on without needing approval from anyone else.
The other benefit of agile is that it enables you to finish products faster, since changes can be made along the way, which reduces time-to-market.
Benefits of agile software development for business
The main benefits of agile software development for business are quantifiable and known upfront. They include things like improved developer productivity, adaptive planning, improved code quality, and reduced integration and deployment conflicts.
When it comes to agile software development for businesses, success is measured by the customer’s satisfaction with the final product, and by the development phase during which the project is being developed. This means that meeting or exceeding expectations doesn’t happen because you hit business goals or reached milestones. They occur because you can show the stakeholders incremental results every couple of weeks at sprint review meetings or sprint planning, where they can approve new features based on what they see so far, and look forward to the next sprint with agile development teams.
We discussed some of agile values and benefits in detail below.
#1 Constant learning and feedback
In agility, frequent interactions between teams and companies enable everyone to learn from each other. Continuous feedback loops mean we’re immediately fixing mistakes and adapting the plan in response to feedback. Continuous delivery definitely helps in this process.
Thus, teams can be more productive with fewer chances of low-quality deliverables, and they are often able to deliver more value on time and within budget.
Agile teams are able to learn and adapt quickly, taking feedback from management throughout the process.
#2 Less risk
Using agile processes increases productivity with less risk; the processes reduce defects; customers are satisfied through continuous deployment; interested parties are kept happy by releasing public versions early and often, and sustainable development leads to sustainable ecosystems.
In agile software development, customer feedback plays an essential role in deciding if new features should be released or not; in the waterfall, however, there’s a lot more risk since once you start investing in a phase, it’s very hard to stop or change it.
A key component of agile software development is that the end product is delivered early and often, allowing to provide feedback continuously so that issues can be fixed as they arise. In waterfall projects, large amounts of work are completed before any customer feedback is received, resulting in large amounts of work needing to be changed to meet customer expectations.
Agile allows for making changes along the way rather than waiting until everything is developed just to discover that you’re missing something. By seeing their feedback implemented early on, management gains more confidence in agile processes.
Due to the lower risk and less time spent planning in agile software development projects, there is more opportunity to make changes according to customer needs without incurring any additional costs, which can lead to higher software quality products.
#3 Better cost-efficiency
Among software development methodologies, agile is the most complete, since it takes into account unpredictable business objectives and customers. In this way, the company can respond quickly to changes in customer demands, giving it a competitive edge. In addition, there is a significant saving on all work that is produced with quality assurance, since fixing errors found later will require less time, because they would have been discovered at a much later date in code development if agile did not allow it to change direction quickly with feedback from customers or stakeholders.
Agile methods are designed to be more flexible and dynamic, which means you can make changes along the way without incurring additional costs or time. Therefore, high-quality deliverables may result since changes will only need to be made when necessary rather than at each stage of development.
Customers can plan their needs better around agile software development when they have a clear understanding of what to expect from your team. Additionally, this is beneficial for agile teams because it means there will be less pressure when sprints are over and customers are waiting for new features or bug fixes that have not yet been developed but are necessary to meet customer needs.
Agile processes are cost-effective and dynamic since they encourage continuous deployment even during the agile software development lifecycle, which enables you to make changes quickly without any additional costs or time spent on planning, rewriting documents, developing new product features, advanced development cycles, researching user stories, etc.
#4 Reduce complexity
It helps reduce complexity in software development life cycle, which is one of the benefits of agile development. The central programming team is not required to write, test, and maintain everything at once. Instead, smaller teams iteratively work on different pieces of the project at the same time, doing their own work and passing it on to another team (or looping back around to fix any problems found).
As a result, individuals are encouraged to make mistakes and are given the autonomy to learn without much worry. It also encourages product owners, developers, and business owners alike to not shy away from changes because they fear they won’t be able to please everyone. Lastly, it gives a clearer explanation of what you’re actually getting for your money and time in the product backlog.
Since agile software development projects are decentralized, you can spread out the work among multiple teams working simultaneously, rather than delivering it all at once. This can lead to better customer satisfaction since better quality products can be delivered thanks to early feedback.
#5 More predictability
Due to agile software development’s iterative approach, projects are more likely to finish on time, on budget, and with a higher quality result than they would have without it. It’s because during the entire unified process, features are prototyped and tested rather than being implemented blindly by various programmers at different times in a linear fashion.
The feedback loop stays tightly closed, so there is no scope creep or dramatic changes between stages of creating an item. Agile software development also promotes accountability, which incentivizes team members to be more vigilant about every detail.
Agile software development in a cross-functional team is the answer if you want to improve your workflow efficiency and quality.
#6 Frequent & smaller increments
With an agile approach, your software development company can deliver more frequent and smaller increments so you can get feedback early on how users interact with your product. When users are happy or annoyed with something, it’s more obvious to them, and that also contributes to your bottom line if they are satisfied. As well as reducing bugs that often occur at the end of a project (e.g. mobile apps) when there is little time to fix them since everything has been finalized for launch.
Agile software development is therefore a great alternative to traditional product development. As you iterate through smaller changes over time, agile model ensures that you can make continuous improvements without having to redo large chunks of work and continue to improve your product with little additional costs or resources for different versions.
Businesses that use agile methodologies have increased agility, thus being able to respond to changing customer needs more quickly. Considering the state of agile product development today, this responsiveness is crucial. Companies which adapt quickly to agile products will be able to capitalize on opportunities that arise from them and take the lead over less agile competitors. One of the core principles of agile practices is customer collaboration.
#8 cost savings & a shorter time for ROI
Agile application development is more cost-effective since agile project managers can produce projects with fewer resources. In addition to the faster delivery of agile products, agile product management teams are able to create products that are more efficient and better suited to the needs of their end users during the entire development process.
Agile methodologies should definitely be considered if you are looking for a way to improve your agile product development while simultaneously improving the quality of agile software. Traditional software development methods are less flexible than agile methods, which can deliver more in a shorter time frame.
In one case study and relevant metrics delivered by Mattel, for example, agile software development allowed the company to reduce product delivery time from nine months to three months without any increase in cost. Specifically successful agile projects have reported a 66% percentage reduction in project schedules and 55% in team effort when using the engineering practices advocated by the Agile Manifesto.
Pair programming is another practice that can facilitate improvement, as it only requires one programmer at a time. By eliminating human forgetfulness or loss of focus when coding under extreme pressure from deadlines imposed by supervisors or clients, pair programming eliminates possible errors.
Over to you
A short time to ROI and cost savings are not the only advantages of agile software development. Because agile product development has shorter delivery timelines, and the agile methodology ensures that the business is in control of what is delivered, it actually gives you more control.
A lot of what you get out of agile development is really the culmination of what people like Scrum and Agile tell you to do. Communication, rapid (and continuous) feedback loops, and empowering project participants are all important practices in these philosophies. A business that adheres to these principles will be able to create highly effective feature-driven development teams that are able to create high-quality programs in a timely manner, thus being both efficient and nimble.