Agile has been a buzzword in the realm of software development for a couple of years now. Yet, not many understand what it really is or are aware of its long-term business impact. Basically, the Agile manifesto is a set of predefined principles that have agility and flexibility at the core of the entire development process. The development is usually carried out by few cross-functional teams that are self-organized. The team members are people with diverse functional expertise and skill sets. They could be employees from various levels in the organization and might also include key members from the client side. In a typical Agile setup, they work towards a common goal to find solutions for the evolving requirements through regular collaboration and communication.
The Agile framework is a huge improvement over the traditional Waterfall model of development. This older model involved three major stages that included designing, coding, and testing. Being a rigidly step-by-step process that was basically designed for the manufacturing industry, the Waterfall model has been found not quite effective for software development. It’s because if mistakes occur during the designing phase they cannot be corrected until the project enters the testing phase. Moreover, if the mistakes committed happened to be huge, then the entire process has to be reiterated. In a long-duration project, it leads to a colossal waste of time and effort.
In the Agile model, while these three steps are still performed, they are carried out at a rapid pace. Specific pieces of functionality are planned, designed, coded, and tested quickly in a limited time frame known as a sprint. Each sprint consists of a reiteration that churns out a potentially usable component. Together, several such components contribute to creating a releasable product.
A typical sprint starts with a meeting. It helps in planning the course of the project and the activities to be performed within the given time period to achieve the set objectives. During these sprints-sessions, various essential factors are taken into consideration, such as the remaining project budget, the success of previous functional modules, and the tasks ahead. Based on the team’s bandwidth, the tasks are prioritized. The team then decides on what can be achieved and charts out a plan to get the work done. In addition to these meetings, the teams also meet every day for few minutes. These daily meetings are known as Scrum, where team members have to define the task for the day and their achievement from the previous day. If they haven’t achieved anything substantial, then they have to mention the roadblocks that prevented them in doing so. The Scrum Master, who is responsible for the team’s performance and success, then takes up the matter and possibly finds the solution to eliminate the constraints.
The Agile framework can be successfully applied to the web development as well. Here, the experts in the cross-functional team could be comprised of web architects, UX designers, web developers, UI designers, content writers, video artists, SEO specialists, etc. Also, the team can typically include a functional consultant from the client’s side. Together, with each sprint they can create functioning modules to integrate it into a website that can be made live in few weeks. From there on, subsequent sprints can optimize the site through several minor adjustments, rather than waiting for weeks and making major changes. This is the ideal way to realize the benefits of the Agile framework in the process of web development.
As it is evident, the advent of Agile methodology has made the process of web development quite rapid. The swiftness has also brought in several benefits to all the parties involved and is being earnestly followed by a majority of software firms in various types of software projects. Apparently, the flexibility brought in the process by following the Agile method is one of the primary advantages. This kind of agility not only makes the process of web development quick but is also quite effective in various other processes, including even non-technical domains like marketing.
Unlike the Waterfall model, the project’s requirements and scope are not fixed when the Agile manifesto is being followed. So, clients have maximum liberty to change both these aspects whenever they find it essential. Also, as the three primary processes of planning, coding, and testing are carried out almost concurrently, everything planned is coded and tested quickly to check its commercial and functional viability. This not only maximizes efficiency but also keeps the project free from resource-consuming blunders.
Moreover, if there are budget constraints, then the essential modules are released first. Thereon, supplementary modules that are not so critical can be developed later based on the remaining time and budget.
Thus, the Agile framework helps in delivering results that exactly meet the clients’ expectations. Also, as there is a huge decrease in the development time, it becomes quite easier for clients to predict both the cost and the result of the project at the very beginning. Needless to say, with these types of massive benefits, the Agile framework propels the customers’ experience to a totally new level.