Since its arrival in 2001, Agile project management philosophy has been solely dominating the industry, having become the golden standard for 86% of software development companies worldwide. And the number of its followers only keeps going up. What lies at the heart of Agile philosophy making its project success rates as high as 64%? Why do companies adopt the approach and what does its practical side look like? Here is everything you need to know.
Like the majority of successful revolutionary ideas, Agile approach was founded as a solution to a crisis. The inefficiency of the traditional waterfall project management model with its rigidness and clumsiness resulted in stalling of the whole app development industry, unable to produce quality software within an adequate amount of time. Consequently, instead of getting a product for boosting their companies’ revenue and performance, business owners would waste thousands of dollars on the launch of an already obsolete app. Why so? Because the waterfall model, perfect in theory, implied developing a product step by step without being able to return to previous stages for their adjustment to the changing goals and requirements. Opposite to such an inflexible approach, Agile Manifesto which popped up unplanned at a Utah ski resort drafted by 17 software development leaders, was welcomed as a true industry salvation concept, bringing previously unseen speed, flexibility, and efficiency to the software development industry.
To understand the continuous relevance of Agile methodology it would be enough to take a glimpse at its 5 pillars: adaptability, continuous improvement, transparency, customer focus, and effective leadership. Having such principles at its core, Agile methodology is destined to stay the main guiding approach in software project management literally forever, as the elements it consists of imply constant change and adjustment to emerging needs and requirements of all the parties concerned. Enough of theory! Let’s have a look at the practical side of Agile approach implementation.
Having adopted Agile methodologies as a basis of software development strategy from day 1 of the foundation of our company, Modsen team seeks to improve their skills and deepen expertise in the effective implementation of the approach. Over the years, we’ve managed to master Agile project management to make sure the products we develop will never get into the unfortunate 9% of failed ones. To expand your outlook on the use of Agile methodologies for effective product development, we’ve gathered the most popular questions and asked our in-house experts to share their first-hand knowledge on the issues.
“Agile management strategy is rightfully considered the most effective one, thus appealing to the overall majority of our clients. The transparency of the process, being one of the key Agile principles, always results in a more elevated level of engagement and customer satisfaction which for its part contributes to the creation of long-term trusting cooperation. Choosing the approach, our partners see it as a way to ensure:
optimal and transparent product development deadlines
continuous product improvement
readiness to introduce changes even at the final project stages
constant process monitoring
Talking from experience, cooperation, where the project team interacts with a client face-to-face, is the most productive and comfortable for both parties. That’s why we can certainly say that in the nearing future, the skillful implementation of Agile will become an even more crucial factor when choosing a software development vendor.”
“The practical side of Agile implementation is quite easy to understand. The whole process is divided into so-called “sprints”, at the end of which we present a client with a new part of the developed functionality. During the whole period of software development, we carry out daily meetings where project team members share their current work progress status: the already completed and impending tasks. Continuous team monitoring allows both parties to stay in the loop. At the end of each sprint, there’s time to retrospect, discuss previous issues and processes, and identify strong and weak spots to be able to improve them. Apart from daily meetings, we can also schedule calls with the team to synchronize processes or convey some important information if necessary. As for the methodologies we use, there is no one-fits-all approach as each tool has its own specificity. Some of the methodologies are targeted at the enhancement of the cooperation inside of a team and at the development of a more effective software-building process to deliver the product within the shortest time possible. Talking from experience, not every project can benefit from Scrum or Kanban. All of it depends on a particular task and set of requirements. If to dig deeper into the essence of each methodology, from my viewpoint, Scrum is more structured. The process is divided into sprints, each ending with a retrospective that points out the aspects that need to be taken care of. Daily meetings and situational calls allow for close cooperation and prompt solution to any emerging issues. Kanban, for its part, is more suitable for smaller-scale teams, on projects where it’s vital to adapt to rapidly changing tasks. Within Kanban, sprint duration can be adjusted and daily meetings are more profound and lengthy, as the methodology is based on slightly different key team processes. The differences in Agile approaches don’t imply that you have to choose a single one and stick to it. On the contrary, the mix of two or more approaches usually works great if the PM is skillful enough to use them. All Agile tools were founded on the same set of principles, which makes their simultaneous use non-contradictory. As for Lean, we use it much less than the other two methodologies. Obviously, this tool is helpful when it’s necessary to eliminate work inefficiencies, multitasking, and other obstacles for productive development but due to this, a lot of fundamental aspects can be missed. So it won’t fit every team out there.”
“First of all, Agile helps project team members interact effectively with each other and with the client which allows to introduce changes promptly, creating a high-quality adaptable software product. Initially, there are 3 pillars any product is based on: customer satisfaction, agility, performance, and quality. Agile philosophy makes it easy to strike a balance between them. Maximum transparency of processes, commitment to results, and continuous communication keep the team on the same wavelength. And due to short-term sprints, Agile allows for the rapid delivery of new functionality to the end-user, bug identification and fixing. Probably the most memorable moment related to Agile happened when our team was working on one of our largest-scale projects and decided to implement Agile methodologies. At the very beginning, it was vital to assess all the risks. To that end, we used Story Points and Fibonacci numbers. Due to sticking to Agile principles, correct assessment, and performance monitoring through Velocity, we managed to accurately predict the project development deadline. The thing is that we were building the product for a couple of years and it went prod only a month ago. The bottom line of the story: the right choices we made years ago in terms of development approaches are bearing their fruit now, in the most critical stage for the product. And for that, we totally owe to Agile.”
“I would say that both aspects are equally important as they have different objectives. The question is more about balancing them out. Having solid tech expertise but lacking strong project management it’s easy to lose focus on the goals and spend budgets ahead of schedule. On the other hand, highly effective project management can’t resolve the issue of the absence of technical skills but it can allow one to react to the situation promptly and make the right decisions.”
The success of any software product is impossible without the implementation of the appropriate project management strategy. Agile methodology seems easy to understand but its effective use fully relies on the expertise and experience of the team. Don’t risk the future of your software - go for reliable Agile experts. Go for Modsen.