The agile process for software development is far better than the traditional waterfall ideology because it focuses on an end product, not methodology. In simple terms, it helps your custom software development company create better software by focusing on these four things:
- Individuals and interactions over process and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
Jim Smith, author of History: The Agile Manifesto, explains, “The Agile movement is not anti-methodology, in fact, many of us want to restore credibility to the word methodology. We want to restore a balance. We embrace modeling, but not in order to file some diagram in a dusty corporate repository. We embrace documentation, but not hundreds of pages of never maintained and rarely used tomes. We plan but recognize the limits of planning in a turbulent environment. Those who would brand proponents of XP or SCRUM or any of the other Agile Methodologies as “hackers” are ignorant of both the methodologies and the original definition of the term hacker.”
Individuals and Interactions Over Process and Tools
Waterfall methodology is about moving to the next phase of the project at any cost. Project managers blindly follow their roadmaps and checklists, forgetting the most important thing – the clients’ needs and wants. There is no latitude for changes that occur within the business over time.
In agile processes, individuals and their needs are the top concern. With agile methodologies, the developer, designer, tester, project manager, and client stay on the same page. The process cycle allows for any changes in the business to reflect faster in the software, compared to delaying the whole project or waiting until the very end to make changes.
Embedded in agile methodologies are key meetings and communication points, so information occurs quickly and efficiently.
Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation
Working software is the end goal. However, what constitutes working? Correct requirements, reliable, and validated? Have you ever heard a discussion between a software developer who insists the new software is functioning and the client who knows it’s not what they need? The developer may even refer back to the requirements and point out where functionality matches. It may match, but the point is that the software isn’t “working” for the user.
Technical requirements cannot be the only definition of working for software. Functional requirements can make or break a software’s true intent. The why and how a requirement, either technical or functional, changes along the development cycle must be clearly understood so that everyone is moving toward the same goal. The software should adjust to match the new changes. Delivering software that works for the client’s needs outranks comprehensive and detailed documentation.
Client Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation
Clients need to be involved throughout the entire software development process, not just early on in gathering the requirements. Scrum accounts for this during the two-week cycle: sprint planning, backlog grooming, daily Scrum, retrospective, and demo. Throughout the product development, stakeholders help fine-tune the software.
Responding to Change Over Following a Plan
The software development team reviews each stage to deliver business value. The client and Scrum master will reprioritize the list of requirements in a meeting called Backlog grooming. During this meeting, requirements are removed or added and given higher or lower priority. The client and software development team have an understanding of what needs accomplishing. This element in an agile process, like Scrum, encourages change and allows for it to occur. In Waterfall methodology, change is not encouraged and is discouraged from getting the project done.
Digital Maelstrom Follows the Scrum Agile Methodology
We use Scrum for our software development, requirements gathering, security, and architecture. We have seen great results with Scrum. Our clients know where we are on the budget on a biweekly basis, and the estimation of costs is structured.
In the end, our clients still receive software documentation and so much more. They get working software that matches their business needs for today and peace of mind.