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name David Baker

14 Jul, 2017

An introduction to Agile software development

When did Agile start?

In the state of Utah at a Ski resort, in February of 2001, 17 project management industry experts gathered for two days. And as a result, they conceived the Agile Software Development Manifesto.

Agile software development is one of many forms of Project Management Approach. (Others being Waterfall, Lightweight, Spiral, Prototyping etc). It refers to any development process that is in accordance with the Agile Manifesto. Although the term Agile was coined in 2001, it’s an umbrella term that encompasses many software methodologies. Examples of such methodologies, that fall under the Agile term, are:

  • Extreme Programming
  • Crystal
  • Scrum
  • DSDM
  • FDD
  • Adaptive Software Development

The 12 Principles of Agile Training

There are 12 key principles of Agile that allows any project to be called an Agile method if it meets all of the following criteria:

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Welcome to change in requirement, regardless of how late on in the process they come.
  • Deliver working software regularly.
  • Everyone must work together daily.
  • Maintain motivated individuals and provide a supportive environment for them
  • Face-to-face communication is key and the most effective form of communication.
  • The primary measure of progress is working software.
  • Promote a sustainable development.
  • Continuous attention to maintaining technical excellence.
  • Simplicity.
  • Self-organising teams.
  • Regular reflection on how to become more effective.

Agile Training is simple in its approach and focuses on continual iterative feedback at regular intervals of the project thus allowing for continual improvement and refinement of a project. This approach is thought to maximise customer satisfaction, improve the flexibility of a project, minimise uncertainty and boost time to market.

Agile’s manifesto focuses on components that maximise efficacy and efficiency of a project by concentrating its focus and energy on the points on the left rather than the points on the right.

Individuals and interactions > Process and tools

Working Software > Comprehensive documentation

Customer collaboration > Contract negotiation

Responding to change > Following a plan

With a key focus on what the customer wants, Agile methods allow for continual flexibility of a project. This is in contrast with older methods which are far more rigid and strict in their process and do not allow for continual idea development. Agile also focuses on keeping the customer in the loop; thus decreasing the risk of a disappointed client. With regular end-goal reflection and alteration; the project can be continually altered to the forever changing project goals (which in a very fluid IT sector, is essential). As regular interaction and face-to-face communication is a key component in the manifesto, projects must be kept small with a well integrated and productive team. This could throw up some issues if a bigger project is taken off. Therefore Agile is far better suited to smaller projects with a close-knit smaller team.

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