What is Agile Software Development? [Definition + Core Values]

What is Agile Software Development?

Agile software development is an iterative and incremental approach to software development that emphasizes flexibility, collaboration, and customer satisfaction. Agile methodology is a set of principles and practices designed to help teams respond to change, deliver working software quickly, and continuously improve their processes.

Generally, software engineers and developers select agile methodology during the software development process to create high-quality software products.

To better understand agile software development, you need to learn the core part, and the core part is the software development process. The software development process consists of several steps such as requirements analysis, designing, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance. If you want to clearly understand the steps to create software, check this guide about the software development process.

Once you understand the key steps that help in software development, it becomes easy to understand agile software development. As said, to clearly understand the core concepts, you must have base knowledge.

Now that you understand the meaning of agile software development, let’s learn why agile methodology is preferred above other methods.

What is the Aim of Agile Methodology?

The primary aim of agile methodology is to deliver high-quality software quickly and efficiently against dynamic requirements.

But, wait. Before you learn about all the goals of agile software development, first understand what software development is. Check this brief article on the meaning of software development.

Having knowledge of how software is developed with a traditional approach helps to better understand the agile approach. Once you understand the traditional software development practices, it becomes easy how agile is different and why widely preferred.

As you get aware of software development, you will better understand the goals or aims of agile software development.

With the iterative and incremental approach, you can achieve fast development, close collaboration with customers or stakeholders, continuous improvement, and a strong focus on producing working software increments.

In addition, here are the main goals or aims of agile development.

  • Enhancing customer satisfaction: By involving customers or stakeholders throughout the development process, agile methodologies ensure that the final product closely aligns with their needs and expectations.
  • Embracing change: Agile development teams are created to respond effectively to changes in requirements, market conditions, or technology, allowing them to stay competitive and deliver relevant products.
  • Delivering working software rapidly: To fasten your software development, you need to break down the project into smaller interactions or sprints. So, as an agile team, you can frequently deliver working increments of the software, and provide value to the end-users as early as possible.
  • Ensuring continuous improvement: Agile methodologies encourage regular reflection and adaptation, allowing teams to refine their processes and enhance their skills.
  • Encouraging collaboration and teamwork: Agile promotes close cooperation between team members and stakeholders, fostering a culture of shared responsibility and trust.
  • Reducing risks and uncertainties: During each sprint, delivering small increments of working software, agile methodologies helps to mitigate risks and uncertainties associated with large-scale projects.

Further, let’s learn about the core values of the agile method.

Which are the Core Values of Agile Methodology?

The core values of agile methodology are outlined in the Agile Manifesto, which serves as the foundation for various agile practices and frameworks. Learn these values from the following section.

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. While conducting a sprint review, you need to include all the stakeholders in the sprint review, including customers, users, sponsors, and anyone else who has an interest in the product. This ensures that the feedback received is diverse and representative of the product’s intended users.

    A sprint review is a meeting that is held at the end of a sprint in Agile software development. Furthermore, to properly know about what review meetings are, read our post on what is a sprint review.

  3. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  4. Agile prioritizes the delivery of functional software that provides value to the customer. While documentation is important, it should not hinder the development of working software or delay the delivery of value to the customer.

  5. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  6. Agile methodologies emphasize close collaboration with customers and stakeholders, fostering a partnership that encourages open communication, feedback, and shared responsibility for the success of the project.

  7. Responding to change over following a plan
  8. Agile teams understand that change is inevitable and should be embraced. They are prepared to adapt to new information or requirements, even late in the development process, rather than strictly adhering to an initial plan. This adaptability allows them to stay relevant and deliver products that meet the customer’s evolving needs.

Let’s now know the benefits of using agile software methodology.

8 Benefits of Agile Software Development

  1. Provide Better Customer Satisfaction Through Collaboration

    By adopting Agile software development, you’ll prioritize close collaboration with your customers and stakeholders, enabling your team to continuously gather feedback and align the product with customer needs. So, the close partnership between your team, customers, and stakeholders, results in greater customer satisfaction and a higher likelihood of project success.

  2. Implement Changes for a Competitive Advantage

    Agile methodologies are designed to help you adapt to changing requirements and market conditions, providing your team with the ability to pivot and adjust as needed. This adaptability ensures that your final product remains relevant and competitive, delivering value to your customers in a constantly evolving landscape.

  3. Deliver Quality Software Rapidly

    By breaking your projects into smaller iterations, your Agile team can deliver working increments of the software more rapidly. The incremental approach enables your customers to see value sooner, provide feedback, and experience the benefits of the product earlier in the development process.

  4. Turn Down Risk Through Early Identification and Resolution of Bugs

    Agile’s iterative approach allows your team to identify and address potential issues early in the development process. With such proactive risk management, you can reduce the likelihood of project failure and help avoid costly problems that might emerge later in the project lifecycle.

  5. Improve Project Visibility for Informed Decision-making

    Agile practices promote regular communication, transparency, and frequent progress reviews, providing your stakeholders with a clear understanding of your project’s status. This increased visibility enables your stakeholders to make informed decisions and effectively manage risks and priorities.

  6. Encourage a Collaborative, High-performing Team Environment

    Agile encourages a culture of shared responsibility, trust, and collaboration among your team members. Through a collaborative environment, you can encourage open communication, knowledge sharing, and problem-solving, leading to higher productivity and improved team morale.

  7. Continuously Improve Through Reflection and Adaptation

    Agile methodologies encourage regular reflection on your team’s processes and performance. This focus on continuous improvement allows your team to refine their processes, enhance their skills, and optimize their performance over time, leading to more efficient and effective development.

  8. Ensure High-quality Products With Robust Practices

    Agile practices, such as Test-Driven Development (TDD) and Continuous Integration (CI), emphasize testing, code quality, and regular integration of code changes. This focus on quality assurance helps to ensure that your final product is reliable, robust and delivers an exceptional user experience.

These are the 8 benefits of Agile software development. However, if you are interested to learn about each benefit in depth, refer to this blog post on the major benefits of Agile software development.

By following the article, you will learn how Agile help in the entire journey of software development and why it is one of the most common software development methodology among developers for creating projects whether it’s software, web, or mobile apps. Further, let’s learn about the frameworks of Agile development.

Which are the Frameworks of Agile Software Development?

There are 4 most popular and useful Agile frameworks that organizations can adopt to implement Agile principles and practices. Let’s learn about each popular Agile framework.

  1. Scrum Development Methodology

    Scrum is a widely used Agile framework that focuses on iterative development, self-organizing teams, and regular reviews. It breaks down software development projects into time-boxed sprints, each resulting in a potentially releasable increment of the product.

    Scrum relies on roles such as the scrum master, product owner, and development team, and employs artifacts like the product backlog and sprint backlog, as well as activities like sprint planning, daily stand-ups, sprint review, and sprint retrospective.

    Through each sprint, your development team completes tasks and achieves the decided sprint goals, thus, delivering a project on time. Moreover, sprints help you to complete a large project within deadlines.

    Dividing a project into multiple sprints helps to assign tasks effectively to all team members and get them done within the decided timeframe. Do you want to learn why sprints are important in software development and what a sprint means? Read this article on what is a sprint.

  2. Kanban Software Development Framework

    Kanban is an Agile framework that emphasizes visualizing work, limiting work in progress (WIP), and optimizing the flow of tasks through a system.

    While using this framework, you need to use a Kanban board to represent the workflow and help agile software development teams identify bottlenecks, streamline processes, and improve efficiency. Kanban focuses on continuous improvement and adaptability, rather than fixed time-boxed iterations.

  3. Extreme Programming (XP)

    Extreme Programming is an Agile framework that prioritizes engineering practices and emphasizes high-quality code, frequent releases, and close collaboration with customers. Key practices in XP include Test-Driven Development (TDD), Continuous Integration (CI), pair programming, and collective code ownership.

  4. Lean Software Development

    Lean Software Development is an Agile framework derived from Lean Manufacturing principles. It focuses on eliminating waste, optimizing the value stream, and delivering customer value quickly. Key principles of Lean software development include amplifying learning, empowering the team, and building quality.

In conclusion, agile software development is a process that promotes flexibility, collaboration, and efficiency for building quality software. There are a few popular frameworks of agile that are used in software development, such as DSDM, learn software development, scrum, kanban, and extreme programming.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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