One of the most popular terms in information technology has been agile software development with developer teams swearing by the methodology. The automatic association of agile with software has bracketed the iterative process with software development alone.
However, the concept finds applications in other areas of operation in a business. The impact and benefits are both direct and indirect. For instance, businesses that rely on agile processes are most likely to have a very efficient and well organized IT team or workflow.
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Here is an overview of how agile methodology helps a business or a software development company through continuous iteration and flexibility.
Responding swiftly to market dynamics
The standout feature of agile methodology has been the quick response to change. Traditional processes were rigid, and the inflexibility made it difficult for processes to change dynamically. Agile, as the name implies, offers concurrent development, iteration and change. It is this distinct feature/characteristic of agile that helps a business and any software development company to make changes on the ago, as developments unfold in the market.
Collaborative process dispenses with back and forth negotiation
There is a huge difference between collaboration and negotiation. While it can be argued that both are intended to reach the same goal, the processes differ in a manner that make a huge difference to the ultimate goal.
Collaboration is the coming together of different entities to work towards the success of the project. Negotiation is the art of trying to prove a point, and making adjustments to ‘accommodate’ points of the others. The outcome of this approach does not match the outcome of a collaborative approach.
Software development companies and businesses that work in a collaborative model will see better results in outcomes and across the whole development and implementation stage of a project.
Bringing functionality in products/projects even before completion
Products and projects that are developed through agile methodology will have functionality long before actual completion. In other words the functionality of the products/project makes it possible to tweak the product/project in a manner that syncs it with market conditions.
For instance, if during the process of development of a product, conditions change, the product will have to be changed midway, or modified midway in a manner so as to fit into the changed circumstances. Agile methodology permits a software development company to be able to make the appropriate changes midway so as to fulfill the changed requirements.
Medium and small businesses can leverage the advantage of flexibility better
One of the biggest advantages of small businesses and medium businesses over large organizations is the ability to bring in changes in the business quickly. Large organizations typically find it difficult to bring in changes in organizations, because of the effort required and the time that may be necessary for processes and workflows to switch to a new or modified one.
Small and medium businesses will find it relatively easier to collaborate with software development companies and use agile processes to build products that can easily adapt to changed requirements.
‘Real time’, the ‘real differentiator’ in an evolving landscape
The true differentiator in business is the ‘real time’ actions. Real time inputs, real time processes, real time updates, real time response and a long list of actions that are prefixed by real time indicate clearly that real time is the true differentiator in an evolving landscape. Agile processes offer businesses the options of quickly leveraging the benefits of real time actions.
The cascade or waterfall method that used to be followed earlier by every software development company involved inflexible processes that took tome to respond to real time demands. Agile software development on the other hand offers developers options to quickly bring in changes that will meet the real time demands.
Shorter time to market
Rigid processes are by default tedious. A rigid process follows a fixed schedule that actually follows a process. The heavy documentation involved in rigid processes combined with a multi-tiered approach for a process to commence and conclude creates roadblocks to project development and businesses. Agile methodology dispenses with the need for documentation or other processes that burden the system, instead replacing it with a flexible workflow that ensures a shorter time to market.
This is again more like a corollary to the fact that time is a differentiator in the new age of business. Organizations that are in position to get their products to the market in shorter times enjoy lesser costs and the first mover advantage.
Agile methodology is undeniably related to software development. However, the concept and the methodology are suitable for businesses that can quickly leverage the benefits of agile processes. A business that ties up with a software development company that uses agile methodology for development of applications will find that benefits and the imperatives of the ecosystem justify the choice.