Agile development is a method of software design and development that relies on collaborative efforts to build software in small increments. This allows teams to develop and release software features in regular intervals, which is vastly different than the traditional method of developing software that involves gathering the requirements for a piece of software up front and then building a finished application that is delivered all at once.
What makes agile development the preferred method of software development for many companies? Some of the biggest reasons include:
• Flexibility – Flexibility and agility are essential for capitalizing on business opportunities. Agile development allows businesses to easily adapt and respond to changes, rather than forcing them to choose and adhere to a software application for months or even years. Agile development is all about change. The software is delivered in intervals, allowing developers to easily adapt to changing business conditions by adding in new features, fixing errors and bugs, and making other tweaks that allow the application to better match the company’s current needs.
• Speed – By using agile development practices, companies can deliver faster, more frequent releases of their software applications. Developers can take user feedback on software features and performance, make fast adjustments, and deliver a new version of the application in much shorter time periods than with traditional software development.
• Better ROI – With traditional software development, the business has to wait until the project is completed before they can begin seeing a return on the investment. Traditional software development typically runs behind schedule as it is, forcing products to be rushed and leading to an inferior final product that doesn’t deliver a good ROI. With agile development, the business can begin seeing a return on its investment much earlier in the process because the software is released in phases as it is developed. Additionally, the company incorporates real-time feedback throughout the development of the software to continuously improve the product and make it even an even better investment.
• IT gets in sync with the business – By using agile development practices, the IT department/organization and the business get in sync with each other. Rather than IT focusing only on long-term development issues, they are able to work with the business to deliver fast, short-term solutions that fuel growth.
These are just a few of the reasons companies have embraced agile practices in software development. Do you have any questions about agile development? Ask by leaving a comment below.
Chris Bell is the Vice President of Software Engineering at Ungerboeck Software International, http://ungerboeck.com/home.aspx