The Agile software development model is fundamentally based upon the “product incremental” model. In Agile, software development is carried out in “short bursts” of development activity known as “sprints”. Each sprint lasts for a predetermined period. Traditionally, sprint cycles lasted for two to four weeks. However, nowadays they typically last between seven to ten days. Each sprint cycle results into the development of bug free and deployable product features or functionality. Sprints are carried out until all product features are successfully developed.
What is Agile software development model? In simple terms, in the Agile software development process, the entire software “product” is broken down into its basic features and functionality. The Agile process starts with the creation of the product backlog – a master list containing all the features and functionalities required to develop the product in totality. Once the backlog is created, a small set of features and functionalities having high business values are transferred to a “sprint backlog” and developed individually in product incremental cycles known as sprints. At the end of each sprint, a few of the product features are developed, tested, and “submitted” for verification to the product owner and stakeholders who “accept” the features as “Done”. It is important for the features to be bug free. Moreover, each feature should be deployable, and should function as per end users’ expectations. In Agile, development is always carried out keeping the end users in mind, and the entire product is developed from their perspective. Sprint cycles are repeated on a consistent basis until all the product features are developed successfully.
It is important to know that Agile framework forms the “base” for many other software development methodologies and frameworks such as Scrum, Extreme Programming “XP”, Kanban, etc. which have their “roots” in Agile principles and process. However, there are subtle differences between these Agile “offshoots”. Each framework is unique, and has its own particular mode of functioning, advantages, and disadvantages. Moreover, each framework is specially designed to develop software projects of specific types and nature.
Values important to the Agile software development model
Agile was originally conceptualized to overcome the shortcomings of traditional development frameworks such as Waterfall, and designed to provide a better control over the actual production process carried out in a project. Agile concentrates upon rapid delivery of product features through short, and rapid, product incremental cycles. Agile is very popular for its unique values that it supports and honors in all of its frameworks.
The Agile software development model includes four important values.
1. Value individuals and interactions rather than processes and tools
More important is given to Agile team members and individuals associated with the project rather than focusing and concentrating more upon traditional processes and tools, or technology, used in the production process. Agile values people more than processes.
2. Development of working software takes precedence over detailed documentation and paperwork
Agile concentrates upon rapid delivery of working product features and functionality through short product incremental cycles. The development work takes precedence over completion of formalities, paperwork, and getting the “productivity” cleared by senior authorities. Time should be properly channelized and more focus should remain upon delivering product’s worth rather than following mandatory rules and regulations.
3. Collaboration with the customer or client is more important than contract negotiation and formalities
Agile gives more importance to customers and clients and stresses upon developing the product in accordance to the client’s interaction and feedback. The client is very closely involved in the production process. It is important to “satisfy” the client’s requirements rather than fulfilling contract formalities.
4. Quickly responding to changes and incorporating them in the production process
A unique “selling point” of Agile, the framework is specially designed to handle changes occurring in the market related conditions and incorporating those changes in the product design – even lat in the product development cycle. Agile responds promptly to changes and has the capability to include them in the product development cycle – at any stage and any time while the product is being “manufactured”.