“What is agile development?” It’s always been surprisingly hard to get a simple answer to this question. There are esoteric and convoluted descriptions of agile all over the web, complete with concentric circles meant to sum it all up into a simple concept, and yet that simple answer eludes us. To be fair, agile development methodology isn’t a simple thing.
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We’ll start with wikipedia’s agile methodology definition:
From Wikipedia: Agile software development is a group of software development methods based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change. It is a conceptual framework that promotes foreseen interactions throughout the development cycle.
The first sentence starts by saying that agile development is a software development methodology. A software development methodology is a set of practices and procedures that help a team get organized and build software. It’s not the software itself, it’s the rule-book for organizing the team.
That first sentence goes on to describe an iterative and incremental development approach. This is a key concept, and if you only take away one thing about agile this is the one to take away.
In agile, we do iterations (circles) where we plan, execute, then review the results so that we can refine the plan and start all over again. We love change, and we want as many iterations and feedback loops as possible during the project.
At the end of that first sentence, wikipedia describes collaboration: This really just means that we emphasize partnership and collaboration, with each member of the team serving a specific role but everyone expected to be flexible and to work together. In agile, we love teamwork.
The second sentence brings in the concepts of adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and rapid and flexible response to change. In this part of the definition, we see how it all comes together! I interpret this sentence like this:
● We are adaptive. We don’t plan it all at the beginning and then stop planning. We do iterations and we are adjusting the plan all the time. This is why agile is so good for product development, we change and improve as we learn.
● We love evolutionary development. This is essentially the same thing, we learn as we go and we adjust, refine, improve...
● Time-boxing. This basically means that we manage our project using set blocks of time, like days or weeks, and we try to get as much done in those time-boxes as possible. This is the reverse of managing features. We consider what features we can build next week rather than looking at a list of features and asking how long it will take to build them.
● Rapid and flexible response to change: this is critical, and along with ‘iterations’ is the core answer to the question ‘what is agile development?’. We move fast, we are flexible, and we are truly ‘agile’! This is our mantra - fast and flexible - say it again and again!!
What is agile development?
● Agile is a way of managing software projects.
● Agile is iterative, and goes in repeated cycles instead of in a long list of steps..
● Agile is super collaborative and team-oriented.
● Agile is adaptive, constantly changing and refining plans, and moves fast!
In almost every project, the client has a harder time expressing what they want at the beginning, and it gets gradually clearer towards the end. The can be a frustrating experience as mid-project changes are pretty disruptive. Let’s try it in agile.
1) Client hires developers by the hour, day, or week.
2) Client describes what they want to the developers
3) Developers start making designs and programming the theme based on what they client thinks they want.
4) Developers show their progress to the client constantly, even every day, to make sure they are on track.
5) The client makes frequent changes and tweaks, always refining the plan and improving the result. The developer also has input and suggestions.
6) The team keeps going until the project is done..
It all sounds very good, and it can be, but the reality is that the agile development methodology requires a solid team of smart people who know what they are doing or it can be a train wreck. It also requires that the entire team (client included) be committed to an honest, forthcoming approach that emphasizes success for the client.
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I like the way you described it. It's the first time someone said it is time-boxed but you are totally right with that. I never thought about it before. My colleague at Zenkit wrote an article on our blog about that topic and I would love to here your thoughts about it: https://zenkit.com/en/blog/agile-methodology-an-overview/
Cool video.I had been finding the video like this for a long time.Thank you for this.Agile is veru interesting and useful topic.Especially if you you manager the project.So in my turn I'd like to share with you https://www.cleveroad.com/blog/a-fresh-take-on-5-software-development-methodologies
I liked it except for the point, "Agile Development Is a Methodology." I do so based on the article by Jeff Sutherland, co-creator of Scrum, who states in a 2013 MSDN article, "Agile development is not a methodology in itself. It is an umbrella term that describes several agile methodologies." (See, https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd997578(v=vs.120).aspx). I think it's more accurate to state that Agile Development is a practice that adheres to the values and principles of Agile ideology using one of the currently available methodologies. That's probably not as simple as you want, but it's accurate and will likely reduce or eliminate questions down the road.
Fair enough - but I don't want to understate the amount of people who mostly want a real-world, non-esoteric, simple explanation of what agile is about. Once the higher level methodologies, philosophies, or manifestos are introduced we've already lost that audience.
So, this is just a simple way to get a simple idea of what agile development is about - in simple terms. If people want to learn more, there are plenty of resources who will provide long discourses about philosophy and ideology :)
Your point is well taken, but please consider the fact that many people have a tough time getting their heads around what agile really means and a concrete example can be helpful for them. Manifestos and philosophies are important, but not everyone understands what they really mean in practice. There are also agile experts giving mixed messages about what agile is, not to mention a lot of dogmatic practitioners with rigid interpretations of agile.
There are plenty of videos that discuss the manifesto and philosophy of agile, yet we hear from people all the time who still struggle with the simple question, “what, exactly is agile development?” This video is for them!
I love how you explained everything! You put it right down on laymans term, and made me realize that I've been doing Agile methodology all along, I just don't know it because it doesn't match the extremely technical descriptions of it from other sites and videos. Huge thanks to you, mister! \m/
Hello. Thank you for an interesting video. I still cannot get what agile development is, everyone gives different definitions. Wiki says it is a set of principles in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agile_software_development. I have always thought that it is always so - development companies consists of teams that work together, isn’t it so? I cannot see the difference. For example, here - https://magora-systems.com/mobile-application-developers-london/ - they provide development, design and post-launch services. Can I say that the practice agile development?
I have used Scrum, here - https://www.smartsheet.com/agile-vs-scrum-vs-waterfall-vs-kanban they list a number of its disadvantages, including the fact that some Scrum projects can experience scope creep due to a lack of specific end date. Does it happen often?
I would be glad if you answered to my questions.
thanks for the explanation, I am kind of worried to spend a lot of time getting agail with no benefits for my career. I work as a recruitment specialist, but I really got into agail and I am very interested in getting to master this methodology
do you recommend it ?
Bravo. Finally change is the only constant its tool is recycling ...you guys arrived ...humans did want to create and hold it on untill to the end....of..... But nature has the the most wonderfull recycling sytem... Dig on... Make it happen for writing goverment management... May be thats why uk do not have constutition but teams keep on running to the egg like sperms...nihal nicky muradoglu
I was developing an E-commerce web application using .Net framework for a school project. I have developed each module of these web app like the sign in , signup , homepage etc and tested it before moving to the next module. Is this considered as a practice for Agile methodology?
+Adarsh Jayakumar It would be. In a slightly more formal method you would assign a "bigness" points to each item you mentioned. Then you decide on a number of points to do in a given sprint. At the end of each Sprint you decide whether or not your project is ready to be deployed.
+vamsi krishna Everyone interprets agile differently, and enterprise/larger companies tend to use a mishmash of agile and waterfall practices together - it's always different. Since most .Net gigs are still with larger companies, you might want to lean enough about agile to be conversant in the topic, but I wouldn't go further than that.
+Georgy Louis There is a lot of discussion about documentation in Agile, and there is no clear recommendation on what documents should be used. This is primarily because agile isn't a strict methodology that dictates a set process. That said, the main idea seems to be to use documentation sparingly and only as needed, but certainly not to shun documentation completely.
This is consistent with the agile manifesto, which urges agile practitioners to favor collaboration over documentation. In many small projects, a single specification or vision document is enough, but in larger projects it's foolish to think that communication and collaboration can take the place of documentation, so pragmatic decisions need to be made.
What I see succeed a lot is for development to start with a high level vision document that explains the business case and overall use model of the application. This allows stakeholders to understand what they are building. From there, it's usually a good idea to document actual requirements, and depending on the scope this can be a document as well. On a very simple application, we'll sometimes load requirements right into the tracker as stories with details loaded right into the tracker. However, if a complex process requires flowcharts and data dictionaries, etc. it's not useful to squeeze it into a text area on some online system - a document is very convenient.
Things like support and maintenance documents haven't changed much in the agile world, but the key talking about about documentation in agile seems to still be the golden rule: Try to use as little documentation as possible, but always use documents when necessary.
Great post! Thanks for sharing. Here is my question. In agile development, do we still use the series of documentation : requirement analysis, specification, software architecture, Implementation, Testing, Documentation, training and support, maintenance. My assumption these documents are being produced in agile development, but they are being changed in each iteration. am I right?
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