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27 Mar

How Do Agile Methodologies Work?

As any developer will tell you, software is never finished. Ecosystems change, priorities realign, and often plans are undermined by shifting external variables. In response to these dynamic environments, agile methodologies for software development arose to replace stiff, traditional project management techniques.

How do agile methods work?

Small teams of cross-disciplinary specialists work together using a process called SCRUM.

SCRUM is the most prominent agile workflow method. Unlike traditional (waterfall) methods, where each member of the product development team takes a turn at the creation process, in agile teams each member takes on their required task simultaneously. Here''s how it works:

Review product backlog notes. The team meets to define what needs to happen to improve or create the product. Some organizations emphasize user stories while others produce quantitative analytics, or a combination of both. The team decides the strategy together because one of the hallmarks of agile development is a self-governing, fast-moving team.

The team develops their ''sprint'' strategy. A sprint (or iteration) is usually a two-week period in which each team member works on their portion of the project. Daily SCRUM. Each day the team meets to report on the status of their portion of the project. Team members usually have 15-minutes to present.

Sprint Review Meeting. During this informal meeting, the team presents a complete, shippable product based on what they have accomplished during the sprint.

Sprint Retrospective Meeting. The general understanding during the informal sprint review meeting is that the product is not yet ready to ship. At the retrospective meeting (which usually occurs directly after the review meeting) the team manager leads a collaborative charge to determine what remains to be done, how best to plan the next sprint and how to resolve any issues that came up during the prior sprint.

Why do agile methodologies work?

Agile methodologies work because the fast sprints, regular reports and retrospective reviews allow the team to stay in production without stalling over a problem in one element of the production. When problems arise each member of the team holds a potential solution. Additionally, the openness of the agile process allows for customer and client feedback during the creation stage, which assures that the end product meets client requirements and expectations.

Think about traditional waterfall methodologies, where coders do their piece but only after designers have developed their strategy and so on. In agile work flow, when each element of the team meets and works simultaneously, issues like user interface development and user experience design don''t end up locked in conflict.

Software programs are holistic in nature. Each piece is dependent on many other moving parts. When each part is built in isolation, the whole system can fail.

Agile methodologies mirror the product itself. By building a product in the same manner as the product will be used, teams are able to work efficiently and correct mistakes while never losing motion.

Please, contact us to learn more about collaborative, client-focused software development.

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