Today, as business cycles are getting faster and faster, the best way for software development companies to keep up is by turning toward Agile Development. Because we have to deal with a market that is extraordinarily quick to embrace new innovations, being able to adapt and make quick pivots is of the utmost importance—and really, this is what Agile is all about.
In software development the problem to be solved is often complex, solutions are initially unknown, and product requirements will most likely change. But because the work can be modularized, close collaboration with customers and stakeholders (and rapid feedback from them) is feasible, and creative teams typically outperform command-and-control groups—means that the software development industry is particularly well suited for success with Agile.
In Agile Development, cross-functional and self-organizing teams collaborate to build solutions by working towards a common goal. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continuous improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change. So really, what’s not to like?
Listed below are some of the key benefits of Agile Software Development.
Agile development requires teams of individuals to work together, collaboratively, sharing knowledge and updates at the same time. This cuts down on the back and forth we often see when teams work in silos on the same deliverables. With agile, tasks are broken down into smaller pieces, discussed in scrums and completed. The daily scrums are particularly useful in moving things forward because of the three main questions that are addressed:
- What updates do you have to report regarding yesterday’s work?
- What will you be working on today?
- What (if any) obstacles need to be removed in order to move toward completion.
These questions not only create transparency but also improves the group’s focus by way of individual accountability.
The Happiness Factor
We’ve all heard that happy employees are more effective, more motivated and provide more output. Well, it’s true. An Agile system provides a clear path to the day’s goals and deliverables and requires the employees take charge and be accountable for their workload without any dreaded micro-management. It’s a way to empower staff by giving them the ability to collaborate and engage with individuals they may not otherwise work with.
Completing smaller, broken down tasks proves the bigger project is closer to being completed. Agile also allows stakeholders to be involved in every step, seeing parts completed quickly, providing input on how to optimize, and allows project managers or scrum masters to ask questions on more specific items so the project is done right the first time. Being able to prioritize the most important tasks also keeps the project moving forward in a timely manner.
Staying Within Budget
Gone are the days when clients request obscene amounts of changes or try to swiftly inflate the scope of a project (without inflating price). By being agile, your project managers, developers, and most importantly, your client, are all on the same page on a daily basis. When things go awry, the Scrum Master can alert the troops to help reset expectations without stalling production. This keeps the budget and timeline on par with what was promised.
There’s nothing worse than a project going off the rails for your team and your client. With Agile, challenges are seen faster and can be addressed immediately. Identifying issues early helps to decrease time spent re-working tasks, minimizes any budgetary impacts and most importantly, reduces the likelihood of larger, more costly mistakes down the road. It also forces product managers and clients to make quick decisions to eliminate the need to extend timelines, which means getting to market faster.
When your product is released faster than your competitors, you position yourself as the authority. Agile development aids in this type of environment, allowing you to release faster and keep you ahead of the game. Not to mention, you’ll also have time to gain crucial customer feedback so that you can make sure you’re giving them the product they want and need. Agile gives development teams the ability to make rapid iterations so they can deliver the right features and services to their customers as fast as possible.