Agile Software Development Methodology Explained: Definition, Types, How It Works

Agile Software Development Methodology Explained: Definition, Types, How It Works

The face of software development has changed dramatically. Over the years, we have seen different types of software development models and methodologies that laid the foundation of today’s technological advancements. IT and software development companies are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of their software at each release. And not just that, but they want a model that can adapt to change quickly. This is where Agile Software Development comes into the picture.

The term ‘Agile’ has been around for a while. In fact, you can trace it back to the Latin term ‘agilis,’ which means quick or nimble. The modern usage of the term in software development began when software developers used to practice heavyweight methodologies for creating and launching software applications. As the name suggests, those development approaches were just too complex and heavy, which only made the developers frustrated, forcing them to come up with something better. 

This was when the Agile Software Development approach was proposed, which not only changed the way software development takes place but impacted the bottom line for the greater good. 

Still, for the majority of software developers, agile development is a nascent topic. From the processes to types and how the approach works, everything is new. 

So, in this post, we discuss everything you need to know about Agile Software Development, from its definition, types, and how it works. Keep on reading.

What is Agile Software Development?

Agile Software Development methodology is an approach to product development that addresses the principles and values described in the Agile Manifesto for software development

In simple terms, it is a practice that promotes continuous iteration of software testing and development throughout the software development lifecycle. Unlike the waterfall approach, both the testing and development activities are concurrent in the Agile model. 

The primary goal of developing the Agile methodology is to deliver the right product with frequent and incremental delivery of small segments of functionality via self-organizing cross-functional teams. This enables course correction and frequent customer feedback as needed. 

Agile Software Development methodology aims to find solutions to the challenges faced by the heavy ‘waterfall’ approach of delivering products over long periods. Because customer requirements are frequently changing, going with the traditional waterfall approach for software development isn’t going to work and prove fruitful in the long run. Thus, you will always be delivering the wrong product. 

Agile Software Development makes things simplified and effective, turning a vision into software solutions. An IT consulting company describes Agile as a software development approach that employs continuous learning, planning, team collaboration, improvement, robust development, and early delivery of the product. The primary reason why most software development companies employ Agile development is that it encourages flexible responses to modifications and changes. 

There are four core values that harness Agile Software Development. They include: 

  • Responding to change over following a plan 
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiations 
  • Working software over sophisticated documentation 
  • Team and individual interactions over tools and processes 

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To give you an idea of how Agile methodologies differ from the traditional waterfall approach, we have prepared a table. 

Agile Model Waterfall Model
It proposes an iterative and incremental approach to software development It is a software development model where the approach flows sequentially from start to end
The process can be broken into individual models for designers to work on The process cannot be broken into small segments or individual models
Customers can frequently look at the product development phase, giving them the power to make necessary changes and modifications Customer gets to see the product only after it is completed
The processes are unstructured The processes are planned and structured
It is easy to implement small projects quickly, but large projects are difficult to estimate Because of its structured approach, all projects of varied sizes can be estimated
It is easy to implement small projects quickly, but large projects are difficult to estimate Any error fixes or changes can only b made at the end of the project completion
Planning is very less. Because the process is iterative, the projects can be executed within 2-4 weeks iterations The process is phased, and the phases are bigger than iterations. Every phase has to end with a detailed synopsis of the next phase
Documentation is not a priority as more focus is on software development It is only after the documentation that the project commences. In fact, documentation is used to train the teams behind the development
Developers and testers work together Developers and testers work separately
Once a phase is completed, user acceptance is performed Only after the end of the project user acceptance is performed
Developers engage in close communications with clients and product managers to analyze requirements and planning Developers are not a part of the planning and requirement process

Types of Agile Development Methodologies 

There are six obvious Agile methods present in Agile Software Development. They are listed below: 

#1 SCRUM 

SCRUM is an Agile methodology that focuses on managing tasks created within the team-based development environment. Essentially, the term ‘SCRUM’ is derived from the game of Rugby. It is an activity that believes in working in small teams and empowering the small teams (7-9 members). There are three roles: 

  • Scrum Master: creates team, assigns tasks, and removes any obstacles
  • Product Owner: creates product backlogs and delivers the functionality at each iteration 
  • Scrum Team: organizes the work . 

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#2 Crystal Methodologies :

The crystal methodology functions on the following concepts:

  • Creating a development environment, feasibility analysis, and fine-tuning the development process 
  • Cyclic delivery of the developed phases.
  • Deployment of the software in the user environment 

#3 Dynamic Software Development Method (DSDM)

DSDM refers to the RAD (Rapid Application Development) approach in which its aim is to provide an agile project delivery framework to developers. Techniques used in DSDM include: 

  • Prototyping 
  • MoSCoW Rules 
  • Time Boxing 

#4 Feature Driven Development (FDD)

 

  • Visibility of progress and results 
  • Regular builds 
  • Configuration management 
  • Inspections 
  • Feature teams 
  • Class/component ownership 
  • Development by feature 
  • Domain object modeling 

#5 Lean Software Development 


This method aims at enhancing the speed of software development while reducing costs. The process involves: 

  • Early delivery 
  • Eliminating waste 
  • Defer commitment 
  • Amplifying learning 
  • Building integrity 
  • Empowering the team 

#6 Extreme Programming 

Extreme programming is a technique that is quite beneficial when there are frequent changes in the requirements or demands of the customer. The goal of this method is to frequently improve the productivity of the system. 

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Conclusion 

This is all you need to know about Agile Software Development. It is much more advanced than the traditional waterfall method. But it lacks structure and planning. However, customers and developers prefer this approach over others because it gives them the opportunity to make necessary changes whenever required.

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