Agile software development describes a unique approach to computer programming. The popularity of the concept really took off more than a decade ago in 2001 when a group of experienced software developers got together to document the best way to develop software. This effort culminated in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, a publication detailing the 12 core principles of this unique approach to creating software.
Over the years, the popularity of the agile approach is increasing as individuals, project teams, and entire companies recognize a variety of benefits.
A primary feature of agile software programming involves breaking projects into a series of regular, predictable iterations, or development time periods (also referred to as “sprints”). While the length of these iterations may vary project to project and team to team, they typically last between 7 days and one month.
Agile software development is often contrasted with the waterfall approach to programming. One of the major differences between the two approaches involves the issue of software testing. In the waterfall approach, software is created and then tested just before implementation. With agile, software testing is done on an ongoing basis, repeatedly throughout the coding process.
The scrum framework is another popular methodology used by many teams engaged in the agile approach towards custom software development. This is an organized, collaborative approach that encourages cross-functional teamwork, regular communication, and a clear focus towards well-specified common goals.
5 Benefits of Agile Software Development and Scrum
The popularity of agile software programming has grown exponentially over the past decade for a number of different reasons, and there are now many champions of this approach. Follow along to learn five benefits of the agile approach to software development:
- More Productivity – During agile software development, the workload is broken up into smaller chunks and the deliverables are completed in shorter iterations. This decreases the chance that programmers get too far off track on a project, and when problems do happen, they are more easily identified and corrected more quickly.
- Increased Morale of Programmers – Many computer programmers prefer to do their work in smaller achievable pieces, rather than big overwhelming tasks that may lack clarification. This helps people recognize accomplishments and better measure progress which tends to increase overall morale both individually and on a team.
- Clearer Communication – Both agile and scrum encourage clearer and more frequent communication between all of the business partners involved in a software project. The scrum framework establishes an organized process for daily communication and responsibility, creating tighter team bonds and greater project clarity.
- Higher Quality – Agile and scrum often lead to a better end product because the project work is divided into smaller units which are easier to test and validate along the way. In the end, this typically leads to fewer errors and higher overall quality.
- Predictable Costs – Because cost estimates are typically required at the beginning of each iteration in the agile software development work cycle, estimating costs tends to be easier and more transparent. Predictable costs also improve decision making about priority features and project changes.
While agile programming is dynamic and includes a range of approaches and preferences, the fundamental structure to agile software development yields some clear benefits for business leaders, software developers, project managers and others.
An increasing number of companies are seeking talented people trained in the agile and scrum approach and more software consulting and IT staffing firms are featuring career opportunities for individuals with these skillsets. Given the many benefits of this unique approach to programming and project management, it is likely that the popularity of agile for developing software will only continue to increase.