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Agile means “alive,” “lively,” or “flexible.” In the industry of software development, this term appeared in the early 2000s, when Manifesto for Agile software development appeared in the state of Utah. Since then, “agile” has become a set of approaches to flexible software development.
Here is an illustration for better understanding:
The essence of the agile approach is outlined in Manifesto, but for the customer, it can be briefly formulated as follows:
- The development is in short cycles (iterations), lasting 1-4 weeks.
- At the end of each iteration, the customer gets an application (or part of it) that can be used in the business.
- The development team collaborates with the customer during the whole project.
- Changes to the project are welcomed and quickly included in the work.
Currently, the Agile principles are used in the work of tens of thousands of teams around the world.
In today’s world, it is almost impossible to imagine using the traditional “hard” methodologies for the development of a project planned for 2-3 years ahead, because no one can predict what happens to the outside world (and, accordingly, with the requirements of the project) during this time. There is also another problem — modern customers rarely know what exactly they want. But if the money for the project was found, usually everything has to be ready “yesterday.” In this typical situation, the application of Agile allows to quickly start a project, reprising of the part already during its implementation.
In addition, Agile can be used in a variety of projects ranging from tiny, high-tech startups from students to major industrial projects. It is difficult to find another approach or methodology that would have such a breadth of applications.
It is important to note that the time of individual developers has passed. Even if some brilliant programmer will create and release a wonderful program by himself, nothing will prevent competitors from organizing a team that quickly implements a similar functionality. Effective teamwork on an IT project is vital, and we are talking about the team as a unified, streamlined body, and not on the sum of efforts of self-employed participants. Agile allows the organization of teamwork.
The modern IT professional is hardly impressed by a high salary; people want the work to be interesting. Using Agile, the programmer who adds new functionality can immediately see it working in the app as well as the customer, which greatly improves motivation, as the result of the work is visible and tangible. Agile methodologies focus on teamwork, informal communication, and low bureaucracy, and constant changes make the process exciting.
To summarize, Agile is:
- Flexibility, adaptability, and risk mitigation
- Scalability and breadth of applications
- Focusing on effective teamwork
- Personal motivation for the participants
Atlassian. (2016). Agile – Best Practices and Tutorials. Available at: https://www.atlassian.com/agile (Accessed: 14 October 2016).
Cohn, M. (1998). What Is Agile Project Management? Available at: https://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/agile/agile-project-management (Accessed: 14 October 2016).
Manifesto for Agile Software Development. (2001). Available at: http://agilemanifesto.org/ (Accessed: 14 October 2016).
SDLC – Agile Model. (2016). Available at: https://www.tutorialspoint.com/sdlc/sdlc_agile_model.htm (Accessed: 14 October 2016).