February 27, 2023

Impact of Agile Methodology on Software Development

Olufunso Oladiran
Blog > Test Automation
Impact of Agile Methodology on Software Development

What is Software Development? 

According to IBM (International Business Machines Corporation), Software development refers to a set of computer science activities dedicated to the process of creating, designing, deploying, and supporting software. The software itself is the set of instructions or programs that tell a computer what to do. It is independent of hardware and makes computers programmable.

Types of Software Development Methodologies

1. Agile Methodology

This emphasizes flexibility, collaboration, and rapid iteration. It is best suited for projects with rapidly changing requirements or a high degree of uncertainty, like requirement gathering. There are various types of frameworks in the Agile methodology but a few will be listed.

  1. Kanban
  2. Scrum
  3. Extreme Programming (XP)
  4. Crystal
  5. Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)
  6. Feature Driven Development (FDD)

2. Lean Methodology

This explains the elimination of waste and maximizing efficiency by continuously improving the process and people involved.

3. Waterfall Methodology

This is a traditional, linear methodology that involves completing one phase of development before moving on to the next. It is best suited for projects with well-defined requirements and a fixed scope.

4. DevOps Methodology

This is a methodology meant to improve work throughout the software development lifecycle. The DevOps process can be visualized as an infinite loop. It comprises the following steps: plan, code, build, test, release, deploy, operate, monitor, and thorough feedback while planning again which resets the loop.

Impact of Agile Methodology on Software Methodology

1. Quality and Team Involvement

Agile methodology is a widely adopted software development approach that aims to deliver high-quality software in a timely and efficient manner. This is based on a set of principles that prioritizes (1) Adaptability (2) Flexibility (3) Collaboration among team members

For example, my organization builds software solutions for clients. Here we adopt an agile methodology. Daily stand-up meetings are being conducted to ensure that every member of the development team fully understands what has been done and what is expected. We address issues or contributions in order to decide faster collectively. 

N.B: Agile teams work together to meet the customer's needs. This is achieved through regular team meetings called “Scrum” where teams share ideas, discuss progress, and identify issues that need to be addressed. Scrum is a lightweight agile framework that can be used by project managers to control all types of iterative and incremental projects. In Scrum, the product owner creates a product backlog that allows them to work with their team to identify and prioritize system functionality. The product backlog is a list of everything that needs to be accomplished to deliver a successful, working software system: this includes bug fixes, features, and non-functional requirements. Once the product backlog is defined, no additional functionality can be added except by the corresponding team. This close collaboration allows for early identification and resolution of problems, which helps to ensure that software is delivered timely, error-free, and of high satisfaction to customers.

2. Quick response and transparency for key stakeholders

Quick response to changing requirements and timely delivery of software, thereby meeting customer needs, is a positive impact experienced using agile methodology. It also provides visibility for stakeholders in a software development project through daily scrum meetings, sprint reviews, and progress charts. It sets the right expectation for the client and encourages the end-user to take on an active role in the direction of the project. This helps to monitor the completion of newly introduced and existing features, therefore, meeting customer needs and client requirements.

3. Regular retrospectives and iterations

The agile methodology supports conducting regular retrospectives to identify and address any issues in projects with a large number of unknowns (designs and functionality) that arise during the development process. The goal is to have a working product to launch at the end of each iteration. There are occasions when new features are requested to be developed for existing software products. User acceptance has to be conducted at the end of each sprint. This is achieved through a process called ‘iterations’ where software is developed in smaller chunks. Each iteration builds upon the previous one. Each iteration typically lasts between two to four weeks, with a set completion date. Agile development guides software projects with deadlines. Here, the most important features are delivered and prioritized first, likewise frequent code reviews are conducted to catch and fix any issues as early as possible. Multiple iterations occur throughout the development cycle and they each possess their own workflow which encourages the following work process in an agile environment:

  • Defining requirements based on the product backlog, sprint backlog, and customer and stakeholder feedback.
  • Developing software based on the set requirements.
  • Conducting Quality Assurance testing, internal and external training, and documentation.
  • Delivering and integrating the working product into production.
  • Gathering customer and stakeholder feedback on the iteration in order to define new requirements for the next sprint.

4. Continuous Testing, Improvement, and Adaptability

There is no doubt that software development is accompanied by different levels of constant pressure due to the need to scale and adapt to rapidly evolving needs and changing environments. For instance, I worked on a project which involves building an e-commerce website, this took about 8 months before completion. The app features reflect outdated components and glitches which were corrected, thanks to reviews, sprint retrospectives, and testing hence new features such as ratings, account user badge, integrating TikTok APIs into the app for product visibility, etc. This process positively impacts the process of continuous improvement revolving around regular testing and end-user feedback.

5. Control over Budget and schedule

There are realistic expectations in delivery and a reduction in miscommunication and misunderstanding. Agile development makes it much easier to provide accurate cost and scheduling estimates to clients for projects within a given timeframe due to the limited amount of work usually defined within a given sprint in an agile environment.

Agile Manifesto and its four values

The Agile Manifesto is a document that identifies four key values and 12 principles that its authors believe software developers should use to guide their work. Formally called the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, it was produced by 17 developers during an outing on Feb. 11-13, 2001, at The Lodge at Snowbird ski resort in Utah.

The developers called themselves the Agile Alliance. They were seeking an alternative to the existing software development processes that they saw as complicated, unresponsive, and too focused on documentation requirements.

There are four core values of Agile Manifestos that greatly impact software development: 

  1. Individual interactions are more important than processes and tools: People drive the development process and respond to business needs. They are the most important part of the development and should be valued above processes and tools. If the processes or tools drive development, then the team will be less likely to respond and adapt to change and, therefore, less likely to meet customer needs.
  2. Focus on working software rather than thorough documentation: Prior to the invention of agile methodology in software development processes, a large amount of time was spent documenting the product throughout development for delivery. The list of documented requirements was lengthy and would cause long delays in the development process. While Agile does not remove the use of documentation, it streamlines it in a way that provides the developer with only the information that is needed to do the work such as user stories.
  3. Collaboration between product owners and the product development team over contract negotiation: It is important to include the product owners throughout the entire development process. Not just at the beginning and end. This fosters understanding and meeting product desires.

Focus on response to change: Traditional software development observes the waterfall model of a software development life cycle. This is used to avoid change because one stage is completed before moving on to the next. The short iterations in the Agile cycle allow changes to easily be made, helping the team modify the process to best fit their needs rather than the other way round. Overall, Agile software development believes change is always a way to improve the project and provide additional value.

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Olufunso Oladiran

About the author

Olufunso Oladiran

Hello Everyone, My name is Olufunso Oladiran. I am three years experienced quality assurance software engineer who has a thorough understanding of agile methodologies. With a solid background in testing, and knowledge of identifying and reporting bugs in software. I love to work in a fast-paced environment and I am able to adapt to changing requirements. I worked closely with development teams and ensured there is effective communication between stakeholders and developers.

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