Agile programming offers a unique approach towards software development and software project management. Agile helps teams to react positively to the instable IT market related conditions which most software based projects are subjected to during the course of their development. Solutions are offered through product incremental cycles known as “sprints” and the “inspect” and “adapt” principles defining all Agile frameworks
What Is Agile Programming? In short, Agile programming process provides development teams opportunities to assess how the project is “doing” and which “direction” it is heading to. Agile teams can correct the current process through its events and self-learning activities. Agile events offer an opportunity to evaluate and identify potential pitfalls, and rectify erroneous processes and practices. The main development activity is carried out through incremental cycles known as sprints. Each sprint lasts for a predetermined time and cannot extend. The software product is “broken down” into its constituent features and functionalities. During the daily sprints a few important product features having high business values are taken up for development by the team. Each day, the team collaborates, and works jointly to develop the features. At the end of the sprint, “shippable” and bug free product features are submitted for approval to the product owner and stakeholders who okay the “development”. Sprints are repeated until all product features and functionalities are developed. In the end, each deployable feature and functionality is integrated to form a “working” release of the product envisioned by stakeholders.
In Agile, development is carried out from the end users perspective. Agile believes that customers and clients should remain closely involved with the development activity and confirm the development carried out by the development team. It is very important that product features should be developed in “short bursts” of development activity – the daily sprints – on a consistent basis, and presented to the stakeholders. This is because Agile principles focus upon customer satisfaction and consistent delivery of business value in the project.
Agile programming can be very adaptive and dynamic in nature. The main values, which define Agile programming, are:
1. Customer satisfaction
The highest priority should be to satisfy the client, or the customer, through continuous and early delivery of valuable product features. Features are developed and added to the product through the product incremental cycles - sprints - and submitted to the customer for approval. Agile emphasizes upon customer satisfaction at all times.
2. Adapting to changing requirements
Agile welcomes change in the product design or functioning – even late in the development cycle – based upon the client’s and end users requirements. Changes are generally carried out on the basis of feedback received from the client, and in accordance to the inputs received from end users who represent market based “requirements” and business values.
3. Frequent delivery
Product features should be delivered on a frequent basis through sprints lasting from seven to ten days – ideally. Frequent delivery of feature increments encourages quick client feedback. Agile responds positively to feedback. Quicker feedback helps in increasing the business value of product features.
4. Working together
Agile teams collaborate and work as a single “unit” while pursuing project objectives. Shared ideas and resources help to increase productivity and project value.
5. Motivated individuals
One of the biggest factors affecting the productivity levels in a project is the motivation levels of the team members. Agile team members should be self-motivated and open to new ideas and thoughts.
6. Face-to-face interaction
Personal or face-to-face interactions are the best form of communication. Personal interactions lead to increased and more effectual communications. Improved communication levels in return result into better solutions and understanding of project related problems and requirements.
7. Measure progress through work
In Agile, the best way to check or measure progress is by delivering frequent and consistent product features development through the sprint cycles. The best way to “measure” project’s progress is to deliver shippable development to the client on a regular basis – and frequently.
8. Maintaining pace
The software project should proceed at a constant pace to meet the release date. All events and activities in Agile are time boxed and cannot extended the time allotted to them.
The simpler a process, easier it is to follow it. Agile focuses upon keeping its processes simple and straightforward so they can be more effective and implementable.
The Agile framework does not encourage autocratic behavior or delegation of authority from senior members. Rather it suggests self-organization. Team members should realize their responsibilities and organize themselves without anyone having to instruct them. Self-organization also leads to self-management.
11. Inspect and adapt
Perhaps the most important principles in Agile, “inspect” and “adapt” are incorporated into the framework to support the self-correction and self-organization Agile virtues. It is important to identify factors affecting the product value and adapt to the changes so the product design and development activity can be improved to make the product more competitive and successful in the market.