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About agile methodologies 🔄
Explore the agile methodology to see if it fits you and your team's strategies
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Facing a large project is a daunting task, you might not know where to start or how to tackle the individual problems that you face. Two methods standout when trying to start a project, one of them is known as the Agile methodology.
It gets its name from its ability to adapt to changes as it’s quite verstile, it proves to be very efficient when trying to tackle large projects.
Let’s try and understand what the methodology is all about.
An Agile methodology is an iterative approach, with each iteration taking 1 to 4 weeks, each iteration is supposed to be improved upon. The idea behind these methods is to align themselves to the changing needs of a business. This iterative process makes for faster development and fewer changes.
Other methodologies that don’t use this iterative approach take 6 to 18 months to develop a software, in these approaches, all the risk and research is done initially.
The Agile methodology on the other hand takes feedback on the different iterations to accelerate development and adapt to any required change, a product is often delivered within 1 to 4 weeks of iterations.
Agile methods provide solutions in a fast and incremental way, the goal is to grow the project in the direction of the customer and provide them advancements. Employees are also trusted with the development of one aspect of the project which they have to oversee with the client.
These methods rely heavily on communication, mostly with the client to ensure the project is developing in the right direction but also inside the team, there are regular meetings to keep everyone in touch with the latest development and help on any ongoing problem.
There are a few reasons why you should take a look at agile methods:
As less time is spent on fixing mistakes created by previous choices, the agile methodology provides great speed, meaning projects are delivered quicker, costing you less time and money. This all means a more profitable business.
Another very strong argument is the fact that your customer sees gradual improvements being made. In linear methodologies, your customer receives a finished product once its complete, he might not like what he gets and only his initial thoughts were taken into account. This new approach allows customers to react to what’s happening, reassuring them on the progress, and making their voice heard to ensure the finale product meets all their needs.
As a direct contact with the client is created, your employees are going to grow much closer to your clients, they’ll fee more valued as they have certain responsibilities. By giving them a goal and having their hands on the controls, employees are in the best position to respond to the challenges they’ll face and to meet their goals.
Another major improvement agile methodologies bring to the table is the various iterations they use. By aknowledging that the initial thought probably isn’t the best, you limit your backtracking and the lost time spent on redesigning entire parts of your projects because your client doesn’t like what he sees.
Let’s take a look a how you can implement these methodologies :
While Agile methodologies incorporate several different methods, the most famous ones being Scrum, Extreme Programming or XP, Lean software development and Crystal, they all share the same ideas that are implemented in different ways.
If you want to precisely see what the principles are, you can take a look at the original manifesto here. Let’s take the time to sumarize these ideas and what they mean :
The central idea in all of the agile methodologies is to keep the client in mind, this means taking their needs into account and making it the most important aspect of the project by delivering early and continuous software developments.
These methods are called agile because they welcome change, even at late stages in development, change is what will give the customer a competitive edge, it has to be though after.
To keep the client in touch, working updates have to come frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, while shorter timescales are preferred, the idea is to keep giving the client updates to value their feedback and make sure development is going the right way.
The idea is to trust people by giving them space, time and resources, you trust them to get the job done. If they’re motivated, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Developing code behind a screen all day makes you a bit numb, to convey information to and within a development team, make sure you engage in face-to-face conversations, this facilitates dialog and helps people understand the problems better.
What you have to deliver is a working software, it makes sense to consider it as your unit of measurement.
This principle promotes the fact that all participating actors in the agile methodologies should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely, this means they shouldn’t be overworked or that users shouldn’t be solicited too much.
These methods aim at delivering high quality projects, this means thoughtful designs that serve the product and the user while relying on excellent technical systems.
Sometimes simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, developing insanely complex features might just not be useful to the user, stick to what is required and do it incredibly well.
By organizing themselves, teams exhibit their best bahaviours, creating great architectures, designs and implementations. The goal is for everyone to work and what works best for them.
Teams should have a moment to reflect on their efficiency, what works, what doesn’t, this helps them stay in tune by adjusting accordingly.
Agile methodologies are modern solutions to software development methods, they iterate their product to gather feedback from the client and develop accordingly. These methods stick out as they allow for changing environments, and keep the client in the foreground at all time.