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A Case for the Agile Development Method

As you know, software development is very challenging. It can be difficult to get your project completed on budget and on time.  Having quality output is a whole other facet of the project. The reason many projects can seem needlessly complicated is that they are approached with a traditional mindset or what is commonly known as the Waterfall development method. The Waterfall method usually consists of lots of upfront documentation and full-blown features sets. This means compiling many aspects of the project before developing concept, initiation, analysis, design, construction, and so on.

One of the biggest pitfalls in doing things this way is that teams do not have a full understanding of what the final product is going look like at the beginning of the project.  I’m sure some teams have a really good idea of what the final product should look like, but no one has the capacity to think through every minute detail, until at least some portion of the working software is completed. This, in turn, can lead to the need for redesigning and redeveloping, in-process, which inflates the budget and extends the project timeline.

Development teams combat this by utilizing a new methodology known as Agile development. Using Agile development, you are able to push out your initial product faster, and receive constant feedback from your customers, which helps reduce the likelihood of needing significant revisions after the fact.

The agile development method values individuals and interactions over processes and tools, working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation, and responding to change over following a plan.

The Benefits of the Agile Development Method

There are many benefits of Agile development, but some of the main benefits are…

  • Rapid application development
  • Quick deliverables to the customer
  • Ability to quickly adjust and move forward
  • Production of the best possible product

The roots of Agile stem from the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, twelve principles which state:

  1. Customer satisfaction by early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even in late development.
  3. Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months).
  4. Close, daily cooperation between customers and developers.
  5. Projects are built around motivated individuals, who can be trusted.
  6. Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication.
  7. Working software is the principal measure of progress.
  8. Sustainable development, and able to maintain a constant pace.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design.
  10. Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done.
  11. Best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. Regularly, the team reflects on how to become more effective and adjusts accordingly.

Using Agile for your software development project will streamline your efforts throughout rapid, iterative development, which, when executed properly, can lead to happier end users. Agile development offers a lightweight framework for helping teams, which is why it has become the recommended method for modern software development, and one that our team at Swip Systems utilizes for our projects.

The Bottom Line…

The benefits of the agile development method software for development allow organizations to significantly reduce the overall risk associated with software development. If your software project is still employing a waterfall or similar antiquated approach, it’s time to move up!

Tom established Swip Systems in 1995 and has been providing business automation, software development, web application, and mobile app solutions ever since. As a business owner himself, he’s aware of the challenges and what’s necessary to stay competitive, which is why he is on a mission to help business owners grow and maintain profitability through technology. Tom is also the founder of Midwest Manufacturing Leaders (MML) and a keynote speaker.

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