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By now, “Agile Processes” and “Agile Software Development” are household terms in the world of software development and IT, but why is it such an important practice? Agile is a software development approach in which tasks and solutions are completed through the collaborative effort of cross-functional teams. More IT professionals are beginning to recognize the impact of adopting agile principles for its ability to produce high quality projects more frequently, consistently, and with greater value. In the 11th Annual State of Agile Report, 98% of survey respondents stated that their organization realized the success of using an agile approach, and as a result are working to incorporate across all cross-functional teams.
In addition to providing development teams “more bang for their buck,” fewer software projects today require a waterfall methodology approach which enforces the importance of gaining qualified experience in the agile development process. While it’s clear that implementing agile principles has dramatically improved results for both development teams and the customer, what benefits does it have to offer?
5 advantages of implementing an agile development process:
Often touted as a tenet of agile principles, fast-failure makes a lot of sense and offers more flexibility for change throughout the project. With an agile fast-failure mindset, it’s easy to change a design or implementation strategy mid-cycle vs. waiting until the project is fully implemented to realize a bad decision was made. There are numerous opportunities throughout the process to reprioritize or reorganize tasks providing greater flexibility for the team. Teams are therefore more productive as they can focus their efforts on the most important tasks at hand, find and fix defects quickly and identify potential blockers early on in the process.
Effective collaboration is a foundational characteristic of agile teams. It is proven that by implementing agile principles, development teams have more open lines of communication internally with their own teams as well as with the client. Internally, agile teams have tighter collaboration and more close, consistent communication boosting productivity and efficiency. Internal teams are challenged to work seamlessly together and navigate the best ways to communicate. Collaboration success relies heavily on quality feedback, communication and motivation across the team. In addition, agile environments provide a unique opportunity for teams to collaborate more efficiently with the client as well resulting in greater levels of trust in the team’s ability to deliver high quality work.
Another great benefit of an agile development process is the ability for projects to release quicker and thus more often. An agile process uses a fixed and reliable schedule. New features are able to be delivered quickly and more frequently with higher levels of predictability. With this delivery, it is common for projects to be released ahead of schedule and earlier than originally planned.
Rather than being isolated in silos, all contributors to the project are exposed to all aspects of the process resulting in a deeper understanding of what is being delivered. This is a benefit for all members of the team and provides them an opportunity to experience all angles of the project and enhance their learning. A deeper level of engagement is encouraged and provides team members a rich and more valuable experience.
With tighter team collaboration and open lines of communication, it’s easier for team members to get a view of the overall process of any given project. There is a greater level of transparency and routine meetings address work being done, in addition to any impediments to progress. An agile approach also provides a unique opportunity to have more transparency with the client as they are actively engaged in the project from start to finish. This greater level of transparency with the team and the client result in more trust, openness, and communication for all parties.
Incorporating agile development principles is a powerful tool that is dramatically improving overall team effectiveness, project quality and providing greater value to the customer. It may be hard to predict, but we see that agile methodologies will continue to gain popularity and be further implemented as a development best practice. Further adoption by companies that have traditionally only operated in a waterfall model need to incorporate agile principles to stay competitive in today’s environment. Before kicking off your next development project, consider the benefits agile can bring to your business and explore utilizing an agile development process.
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Jason leverages over 20 years of cross-industry software development experience as Lead Software Engineer at EagleDream Technologies. He is experienced in the full software development life cycle (SDLC) from helping to define requirements, to design and development. He additionally excels in delivering Software Design & Architecture solutions.
He has a deep level of knowledge in Agile Methodologies and experience working on numerous Agile teams. Jason was part of the movement to spearhead Agile processes at his previous role at Windstream Communications where he worked on various system integrations, internal sales tools and downstream data synchronizations.