Is the Agile Development Style right for your company?
As discussed in our blog post about the Traditional Development style, since the late 2000’s there has been an industry shift towards agile development style. While traditional development certainly has its place at the table of development style, agile development has moved to the head chair. We discuss why agile is the new standard here, but in this blog, we discuss what agile development is and when it’s appropriate to utilize it.
What is Agile Development?
Agile web development is a development methodology based on free-flowing steps, where requirements and their solutions evolve through a collaborative effort between self-organized and cross-functional teams. Basically, this means that each team in an agile development system has knowledge of the other team’s processes and jobs. It also means that steps in the process of development flow forward, backward, and side-to-side, unlike the unidirectional flow of processes in traditional development.
Agile development style promotes frequent inspection from many different developers and allows quick adaptation. It also encourages teamwork and accountability from each member of the development team.
One of the main principles of agile development is a collaboration between the self-organizing teams. There are still managers in this developmental process but the teams or individual developers have the ability to approach problems and figure out solutions on their own.
Agile development does not require stable requirements or rigidly defined end-goals to begin. That is because agile development relies on the best solutions to present themselves during the completion of the project as a result of feedback from customers or end-users. Work is broken down by function most often, as opposed to being broken down into stages.
Advantages of using Agile Development
Customer reflections can be taken into account easier. Businesses can be more responsive to customer needs and expectations by using agile development methods. Agile development also allows features to be designed, tested, and delivered more quickly than with traditional development methodology.
Businesses can reduce wasted time by focusing on high-value features. The time to publication can greatly be reduced as the efficiency is improved through agile development strategies. This translates to improved customer satisfaction and better retention based on a more positive experience for the customer.
Agile development allows alignment of customer needs easier. Managers are responsible for making customers happy by making sure that development is aligned with customer needs. This alignment is easier because the opportunities are greater to refocus work priorities through agile development than with traditional development.
Working software is delivered quickly. Thanks to the adaptability of agile development, working software is delivered in a time frame that aligns more with weeks than with months.
If you like working face-to-face, agile developments may be for you. The best form of communication is face-to-face (or video-to-video) in agile development because of the quickness to modify and redirect efforts.
Your business will feel more involved. Businesses work more closely with teams using an agile development strategy. This is good for any industry that has rapid changes or developments.
Late changes can be made without starting over. Whether it’s a new requirement, a new end goal, or modifying either, late changes can be made without starting an entirely new project.
Disadvantages of the Agile model
Some projects, especially larger ones, are difficult to assess the effort required at the beginning stages. Agile development strategy is great for remaining flexible and adaptable, but because it lacks the structure that traditional development strategies have, it is harder to estimate the exact effort needed for each stage of development.
There is a lack of emphasis on documentation. In traditional development, each stage has a specific job making it easier to generate reports on progress. However, with the teams working so fluently together in an agile development environment, the documentation efforts may not be as great. This is especially worrisome when higher management wants to have total control and leadership over development teams.
Agile development is hard for newer developers. New developers may struggle with making decisions for projects. There are ways to mitigate this though such as; teaming new developers with experienced developers on a team or providing them with more resources while developing.
When does Agile Development make sense?
Agile development makes sense in many different scenarios. It has the ability to be less structured, more fluid, and way more adaptable than a traditional development strategy. Here is when using agile development makes sense:
- When changes are needed to be implemented throughout the project. The freedom that agile development gives is important. New changes can happen at a very little cost due to the frequency of new increments.
- The implementation of a new feature means losing only a few days or even hours to roll back and implement it. In a traditional development strategy, this implementation could mean going back a few steps or even having to start the project over or postpone until the project is complete, causing more time lost.
- In an agile development model, limited planning is needed to get started on the project. Agile assumes that the end-users’ needs are constantly evolving and changing. Features can be added or removed based on up-to-date feedback, allowing the finished product to be adjusted according to customer’s needs.
If you are unsure about what strategy would work best for you, we happen to know quite a bit about development strategies and can point you in the right direction.
How to choose your Development Style?
There are things to consider when deciding which development style would make sense for you and your business. Many industries that are fast-paced or constantly evolving and changing should rely on agile development but there are some disadvantages to agile development and they are;
- Greater demand for developers and client
- Lack of documentation
- Projects can easily fall off track
However, if the following are true for your next project, agile development is a good choice for you;
- My project has unclear requirements and deliverables.
- The level of participation from higher up is minimal.
- The cost of change is important to me.
- The development team should work together toward continuous improvement.
Agile development methods can be used in a wide variety of industries and should be considered when choosing your next development strategy.
There are always different ways to reach your end goal. Of course, some ways are better than others. If your project requires any sort of flexibility, you should strongly consider the use of an agile development strategy. If you want customer reflections to have a greater outcome on your end result then consider agile development as a solution.
No matter what development strategy you think would accomplish your eCommerce goal, NuEthic can help. Reach out and see what we can do for you.