What is Agile?
Agile is all about an incremental, iterative approach to software development. Apart from in-depth planning at the starting of the project, Agile methodologies are open to the changing requirements of projects over time and welcome constant feedback from the users.
Cross-functional teams work collaboratively on iterations of a product, and this work is regulated into a backlog that is prioritized depending on customers' needs or the value to the business. The end goal of an iteration is to deliver a working product.
Agile methodologies encourage teamwork, accountability, and open communication. They motivate business stakeholders and developers to work together to align the product with customer requirements and company expectations.
Agile is a process that incorporates the theories of the Agile Manifesto. In February 2001, 17 software developers held a joint session in Utah to discuss lightweight development methods. They ended up with the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, which included "better ways to develop software by doing it and helping others to do it" and had four values and 12 principles. The Agile Manifesto stands in contrast to the traditional Project Manager’s Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) rules and standards.
12 Principles of Agile Methodology
The Agile Manifesto has 12 principles to teach teams how to develop and execute with agility. Here are the principles:
- The priority is to satisfy the client with the fast and continuous delivery of valuable software.
- Welcome changes, even late in development. Agile processes incorporate changes to provide the client with a competitive advantage.
- Deliver working software frequently, Every couple of weeks or months, with a preference for a shorter period.
- Business people and developers must work collaboratively throughout the project.
- Develop projects around experienced individuals. Provide them with a fostering environment and support their needs, and trust them to get the job done on time.
- Face-to-face communication is the most effective and efficient method of conveying information to and within a development team.
- Working software that is valuable to the client is the primary measure of progress.
- Agile practices lead to sustainable development, so that sponsors, developers, and users can keep up this constant pace indefinitely.
- Attention to technical excellence and focus on good design enhances agility.
- Simplicity - the way to maximize the amount of work not done - is necessary.
- From self-organizing teams emerge the best architectures, requirements, and designs.
- At regular sessions, the team talks about how to become more efficient, after which everyone in the team adjusts their behavior accordingly.
Here are the top advantages of Agile:
Embrace change: Shorter planning cycles lead to the easier accommodation and acceptance of changes at any time during the project. There is always room to refine and reprioritize the backlog, enabling teams to introduce changes to an agile project in a couple of weeks.
Undefined end-goals: Agile is beneficial for those projects where the end-goal is not known. As the project advances, the goals will come to light and development can adapt to meet these ever-changing requirements.
More interaction: Agile highlights the importance of regular communication and open interactions. Teams work collaboratively, and members can take responsibility for their projects.
An agile and scrum master certification is a new way to benchmark agile development and agile project management skills. This training course has been developed to help IT professionals evolve as Scrum Masters to maximize their business value.
What Is Scrum?
Scrum is one of the most popular process frameworks for implementing Agile. It is a subset of agile. It is an iterative software development model that manages complex software along with product development. A fixed-length iteration is called a sprint, and lasts for one to two weeks, letting teams ship software regularly. Stakeholders and team members meet at the end of each sprint to plan their project's next steps.
Scrum includes a defined set of roles, responsibilities, and meetings. For instance, Scrum calls for four 'ceremonies' which provide structure to every sprint: sprint planning, daily stand-up, sprint demo, and sprint retrospective. The team will use visual artifacts such as task boards or burndown charts during each sprint to show progress and get incremental feedback.
Advantages of Scrum
Scrum is a prescriptive framework with defined roles and ceremonies.
More transparency: The whole team clearly understand their and their colleagues' roles and can see the results of each other's work by holding daily stand-up meetings, eliminating many misinterpretations and confusion. Many issues can be solved in advance, allowing the team to work more efficiently.
Increased accountability: In Scrum, there is no project manager to tell the Scrum team what to do and how to do it. The team collectively decides in a meeting what work is to be done and who will complete that work in each sprint. They then work in unison and help each other, empowering the team to be independent.
High-cost savings: Regular communication ensures the team is aware of all issues and changes in advance, helping to minimize expenses and increase quality. By coding and testing in smaller chunks, there is rapid and continuous feedback, and mistakes are corrected early on before they turn into a big complex mess.
The clear-cut differences between Agile and Scrum
Agile: Agile is a group of software development approaches that include Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), and rational unified process.
Scrum: Scrum is an iterative software development model and is a subset of Agile: Scrum implements Agile.
Benefits of Agile
- Short planning cycles lead to better refining and feedback implementation.
- Motivates team interaction and high team spirit.
- Suitable for those projects which have an undefined end goal.
- Periodic, regular updates to the clients about the project.
Benefits of Scrum
- Daily stand-up meetings provide transparency and a support framework within a team.
- Each member of a team has a well-defined role, increasing the accountability of every member.
- Regular communication and faster feedback minimizes unwanted expenses.
- Everyone on the team acknowledges and understands the nuances of the project.
Disadvantages of Agile
- Without deadlines, planning and execution can become difficult and get delayed.
- No importance is given to documentation, which can affect current and future projects
- The final result could be very different from the initially expected outcome. This could become a problem if the client doesn’t like the result.
Disadvantages of Scrum
- As there is no defined deadline, procrastination may become a problem.
- The success of the project entirely depends on the skills of the certified scrum master.
Agile: The agile methodology development cycle has five steps: requirement analysis, design, implementation (coding or development), testing, and deployment.
Scrum: The various steps in Scrum methodology are: product backlog, sprint planning, backlog refining, regular scrum meetings, sprint review meetings, and sprint retrospective meeting.
Tools and methodologies
Agile: There are several Agile methodologies, including Extreme Programming (XP), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), Scrum, Adaptive system development (ASD), Lean Software Development (LSD), Feature-driven development (FDD), Kanban, and Crystal Clear.
Scrum: The various tools used in Scrum include: Scrum board, Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS), time boxing, user stories, burnout chart, and Icebox.
This is a guest post written by Danish Wadhwa of Simplilearn, one of the leading certification training providers.
Danish Wadhwa is a strategic thinker and an IT pro. With more than six years of expertise in the digital marketing industry, he is more than just a results-driven individual. He is well-versed in providing high-end technical support, optimizing sales and automating tools to stimulate productivity for businesses.