Custom Software Development projects are complex and require a thorough understanding of the clients’ industry, goals, challenges and expectations. To address all these areas, multiple software development practices have come into the picture. While each has its own significance, in this blog we take you to a detailed walk-through on agile software development methodology.
Agile methodologies have been tested and tried and tagged as the best practice that foster client and team collaboration and eventually deliver amazing results. And that is precisely why they have become the new buzzword in the bespoke software development industry. To provide a brief idea on it:
Agile software development is a group of software development methods in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, continuous improvement, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change. (wikipedia)
The entire objective behind implementing agile software development methodology is to easily deliver high-quality software at minimal project overhead and optimum business value.
The generic modus operandi of agile software development methodology is as follows:
1. Knowledge Gathering Session
The success of any custom software development project rests on a deep understanding of the clients’ objectives. That is precisely why agile software development methodology initiates with a joint collaboration session between the client and the project manager, designer, developers. This meeting serve as a discovery session where both the parties discuss the key principles of the to-be build software. It serves mutually benefiting for both the sides as on one hand while the clients fully express their vision in relation to the software, the development team also gets an open forum to directly ask queries and remove any kind of dubiousness in relation to the project. Altogether, there is a shared understanding across the two sides.
2. The Scope of Work
Post the knowledge gathering sessions, it comes upon the project management team to frame a scope of work. Based upon all the pointers that have been discussed in the initial meeting, the team works together to create a high-level document. Scope of Work is the most crucial area in the Software Development Process.
Traditionally the scope of work has been defined through various other terms. Irrespective of the terminology used, the essence of the document remains same which involves an elaborate detailing of the software requirements along with functional and program specification.
Note: Nowadays many custom software development firms produce a non-technical SOW where the product features are explained in the user context. This serves to be quite effective as the clients easily understand how the feature will deliver value upon actual usage. Reading these user stories enable the clients to determine the degree of usefulness of all features and re-prioritize/modify them.
The clients study the wide and deep SOW that covers the entire breath of requirements in considerable detail and determine the order in which the software will be developed, tested, and delivered.
Once done, the SOW stands as the comprehensive documented testament to the way the software development process will commence and finish. With the clients’ sanction attached to the SOW, the development team stays relived and delivers the software in the defined way to optimally delight the clients.
Unlike traditional software development methodology where any changes to the scope are seen as a threat to the project, agile development methodology is flexible enough to incorporate the changes that occur during the course of the software development.
3. The Development Phase
Agile methodology usually divides the development phase into several milestones where the team delivers batches of features at intervals. These intervals vary from one to four weeks, depending on the nature of work done. What makes the development phase highly productive is the review meetings that are conducted at the end of every session. These meetings provide the opportunity to the development team and the clients to revise and review the tasks accomplished; identify and resolve defects if any; and elaborate over the forthcoming items.
Based upon the minutes of the meeting, the team of designers, developers and testers again start working together to develop the new software features or ameliorate the existing ones.
Needless to say these consistent review sessions ensure that the software is developed as planned and no pain points crop up at the later stage that impact the project adversely.
Incorporating agile methodologies carves a big impact on the overall success of the software development project. In a stark contrast to the traditional methodologies where software is perceived as one single block of structure, agile calls for revisiting of the development phases again and again. Resultant of which corrections happen quickly that prevent the surface of big problems. Constant involvement of the customers, high end adaptability and consistent testing makes agile approach a more simple and effective model for any type of software development.