Since its conception, the agile model of project management has had an irrevocable impact on the manner in which software is generally developed. Today, the term ‘agile’ is synonymous with exercises in IT planning and strategy. Much of the popularity involving agile methods stems from the fact that it presents an all-encompassing, multi-purposed model that emphasizes on flexibility and perpetuity. Suffice to say, it is incredibly difficult to find a software development team whose day-to-day operational processes are devoid of agile techniques. Given the extent of its global acceptance, this article takes a look at the true meaning of agile and its importance in software development processes.
A world without Agile
Prior to the emergence of agile as a theory of project management, most software development projects heavily relied on traditional models that could not accommodate change and transition as easily as agile. As a result, a major portion of work pertaining to IT planning and strategy involved large piles of binders filled with meticulously detailed paperwork from developers. Under such conventional models, the total head time of a particular software project could easily take three years or more including lengthy 18-month project delays. The cumbersome timespan involved in developing a single software meant that projects were often cancelled half-way through. Conventional models such as waterfall documentation were known to instigate laborious processes of software engineering which resulted in a near-developmental crisis. However, this crisis presented the perfect opportunity for a revolutionary concept such as agile to be introduced to the IT sector.
What exactly is the Agile Approach?
The origins of the agile project management model can be traced back to the release of the 'Agile Manifesto' in 2001. This manifesto was created by software developers from various parts of the world who were looking to permanently solve the time constraints presented by traditional, heavyweight planning methodologies. Since traditional waterfall models were often criticized for not being flexible enough, this group of developers aimed to create a managerial tool that could mitigate these effects.
Simply put, the Agile Manifesto professed a set of 4 values and 12 essential principles . Using this, it was made clear that the agile methodology prioritized brief team meetings, functioning software, increased customer insight, and heightened responsiveness to change. Additionally, the Manifesto also denounced traditional practices such as laborious operational processes, complicated software development tools, meticulous documentation, time-consuming client negotiations, and blind adherence to a pre-established plan.
Manifesto for Agile Software Development
Following the path to absolute Agility
Now that the origins and true meaning of agile has been covered, let us delve into the numerous benefits that the software development tool has to offer. It is fair to say that agile is a lean methodology that is capable of aiding engineering teams in escaping common pitfalls such as going over-budget, providing inaccurate timelines, or limiting the scope of the project. By adopting agile development practices, IT firms are able to deliver high-quality solutions within a reasonable amount of time. The agile approach also helps engineers and project managers more sensitive to the needs and satisfaction of the clients.