Preparing a software product for the market demands crucial planning, coupled with an extensive comprehension of the tools at hand, potential timelines and essential procedures. Developing a software product from an idea to a finished product can be tedious, particularly without a comprehensible framework to direct the team’s efforts. To ensure a seamless development process, the Agile software development lifecycle is an excellent option since it offers a methodical sequence of steps to advance the product from the preliminary phase to completion. It emphasises process flexibility and customer gratification.
The Agile Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) grants IT departments the capability to track metrics and adapt their methods. It establishes the base for projecting, scheduling and estimating projects, granting customers and teams the opportunity to use their time and resources efficiently.
The Agile Software Development Lifecycle: What Is Involved?
The Agile software development, centres around a collection of methodologies grounded on the principle of iterative development. It involves dividing complex problems into more manageable components and systematically addressing them with the support of multifunctional teams that work harmoniously together, one step at a time.
For Agile teams, it is crucial to establish adequate protocols and documentation, though they may not always be required. If any alterations pose a risk to the developmental procedure, they must be rectified promptly to ensure that only top-quality output is attained.
The original Manifesto for Agile Software Development outlines the fundamental concepts of the approach. It highlights four primary principles:
- Individuals and communication are paramount compared to systems and machinery.
- Preferable: Programs that work flawlessly and have comprehensive documentation
- Collaboration with the customer base is more important than contract negotiations
- Prioritizing improvisation over strict planning.
Why Should I Consider Implementing the Agile SDLC When Contemplating My Development Team’s Structure?
Agile, together with its subsidiary frameworks like Scrum and Kanban, is an iterative approach that empowers teams to be productive and provide superior results. Businesses that adopt these methodologies are better prepared to respond to client needs and adapt to dynamic market conditions.
Regarding software development, utilising the Agile process may provide various benefits that can be advantageous to both the company and its clients.
- Higher-Quality Products
- Customer Satisfaction
- Enhanced Control
- Improved Ability to Anticipate Results
- Better Flexibility
- The Quest for Continuous Improvement
Common Methods Used in Agile
- Scrum is a software development methodology that emphasises the use of brief iteration periods called ‘sprints’ to utilise the available time to develop the product.
- Kanban is a tool created to facilitate the management of work processes, offering transparency of progress and highlighting possible delays. It is commonly displayed as a board or table consisting of vertical columns that correspond to each stage in the software’s development cycle.
- Extreme Programming (XP) sets the benchmark for software development. Its methodology of pair programming, which involves mutual code reviews, is a fundamental aspect of the process. Additionally, Extreme Programming prioritises the practice of maintaining clear communication channels among the customer, the development team,and the members of the team themselves.
- Lean Development centres around seven fundamental principles: the removal of waste, emphasising quality above quantity, acquiring knowledge instead of making commitments, delivering value swiftly while valuing the team, and optimising the entire process.
- Crystal is a group of agile methodologies created to streamline the software development process. The methodologies are categorised into three distinct groups based on team size: Crystal Clear (for teams of up to eight people), Crystal Orange (for teams of fifty to one thousand people), and Crystal Red (for teams of over one thousand people).
As per The State of Agile (2023), Scrum is the most extensively employed Agile framework.
Which Agile Methodology Suits Your Business?
The advantage of agile methodologies is their flexibility to accommodate the unique needs of every team.
Scrum is an exceptionally powerful methodology to implement when there is significant uncertainty concerning a product. In such a situation, Scrum excels at assisting in the product’s exploration as the project unfolds, which is crucial for developing features and requirements.
If your project is well-structured, and you have a clear plan for each stage, an alternate methodology, such as Kanban, may be more appropriate. By streamlining the team’s operations in this manner, they can deliver new features with greater speed and efficiency.
It is feasible to integrate different agile methodologies throughout the life cycle of product development, such as Scrum in the initial stages and Kanban later on. This approach enables the methodical growth of a fledgling project, as well as the agility to rapidly incorporate and release new features. To ensure a seamless transition, it is crucial to equip the team with sufficient preparation to avoid any wastage of time or energy.
Agile Methodology Steps
Agile methodologies concentrate on iterative product development, carrying out a sequence of procedures repeatedly until a desired outcome is attained.
Depending on the chosen methodology, the processes involved vary. Scrum, a well-liked Agile approach, helps teams prepare for the successful completion of complex projects by using sprints as iterative cycles. A “sprint” in Scrum refers to a period of time during which the team works towards specific objectives.
Scrum is an iterative software development process that employs time-bound intervals known as “sprints” to advance towards accomplishing defined objectives.
How do Kanban and Scrum differ from each other?
The Scrum framework encompasses three primary functions:
- The Product Owner is accountable for championing and embodying the project’s business requirements. They ensure that the product being developed meets all of the client’s specifications.
- The Scrum Master is the team member responsible for providing guidance, removing obstructions, and strengthening the team’s endeavours.
- The development team consists of individuals who can each leverage their distinct set of skills and expertise to contribute to the project in diverse ways.
How does work progress in a Scrum environment? Here’s a brief overview:
Preparing for the Sprint
Before commencing each sprint, the Scrum Team must determine the objectives, scope, and tasks of the defined sprint backlog during sprint planning sessions.
Scrum Daily Meeting
The ‘stand-up meeting’ is typically limited to a duration of 15 minutes. The objective of these meetings is for every team member to report on their progress since the last meeting, their goals for the day, and any pending tasks.
Shortest Possible Time Review
At the conclusion of each sprint, a meeting is conducted to showcase the progress achieved during the sprint to the project stakeholders.
Retrospection of Previous Sprint
After the review, the team gathers to deliberate on the sprint as a whole, assessing what worked, what didn’t work, and means to enhance the process for the upcoming sprint.
Agile Methodology Follows Six Phases in the Software Development Life Cycle.
What is the number of stages in an Agile project?
Please note that your methodology selection (kanban, Scrum, iterative development, etc.) will impact how you tackle this question. All Agile methodologies are aligned in their dedication to continuous improvement and user engagement. Nevertheless, the precise process of managing and arranging different phases of software development may differ.
The primary aim of all Agile methodologies is to rapidly respond to user and community feedback to deliver software that caters to their needs.
In addition to these slight variations, the Agile project life cycle commonly involves the following six stages:
Agile projects usually comprise separate phases that contribute to the overall project. These phases are often known as ‘agile cycles’ or ‘sprints’. Nevertheless, not every cycle needs to encompass all steps based on the project stage and its specific needs. Achieving equilibrium between the project’s necessities and its development is crucial for efficient Agile planning.
At the beginning of an Agile software development project, the requirement phase is initiated to collect the necessary documentation and establish the initial priorities. It is imperative to answer the following questions during this phase:
- In simpler terms, what is the anticipated result of this project?
- What capabilities can it enable?
- How are unnecessary features excluded?
The structure and functionality of the software will be determined by the product owners, along with the estimated project duration and budget. The project managers or business analysts will request the client’s software requirements during these discussions. The goal is to amass as much information as possible to gain a thorough understanding of the client’s needs.
Prioritizing features is crucial to maximise impact. This should be done while gathering as much data as possible to define the features and identify the primary needs. Beginning with a concise list of essential features and determining the most significant ones is recommended. Consequently, development teams can focus on critical functions and consider the opinions of their primary customers.
The idea stage of a project is significant, particularly when it is in its early stages. In this phase, the project manager is responsible for prioritising features and customer needs and wants to establish the standard for the final product. This phase should be meticulously outlined to ensure the desired qualities are cultivated and can emerge successfully. Although the idea stage may become less frequent as the project progresses, it should not be disregarded entirely, as software products frequently necessitate new features to remain relevant.
At the Start
After the primary features and requirements have been identified and recorded in the first phase, the software development team is assembled during this second stage.
The product owners will select the most suitable team members and equip them with all the necessary resources to commence product development.
Once tasks have been assigned and the team has been established, the subsequent phase is to envisage the user interface and establish the project framework. Before commencing any actual development, it is critical to conduct the conceptualisation stage to ensure that the team is on the correct path. Planning in advance and formulating the fundamental structure of the software is a crucial initial stage.
Software development planning may be divided into two components:
Graphic design (UI/UX):Designers produce a model of the user interface and user experience. It can be advantageous to examine what other organisations in the same industry are doing, as well as pinpointing any areas for enhancement.
Conceptualisation of software:The team deliberated on the tactics and resources required to fulfil the requirements. They determined the most efficient programming languages, frameworks, and libraries.
Above All, the team has been formed, and the software’s structure is currently under development.
When should we consider this phase? Similar to all projects, task assignment can be more efficient as the team accumulates experience. Initially, when there are several people with comparable skill sets, assigning tasks in a timely manner can be challenging. However, as the team gains expertise, members tend to become more focused, enabling easier delegation of work.
In reference to the Agile SDLC, the iteration phase (also referred to as the building or development phase) is the lengthiest. During this stage, UX designers and developers collaborate to convert the design into code, guaranteeing that the product adheres to all requirements while incorporating feedback from the target audience.
Iteration forms the foundation of the process and encompasses taking the design documents from the previous phases and transforming them into functional software. The principal objective is to have the product constructed by the conclusion of the first sprint. The development team will create an initial version, but this is not the final product; multiple modifications must be made to ensure quality.
During this phase, the team and stakeholders will engage in regular communication with one another. They will abide by established standards and best practices. Testing is also a crucial component of this stage; each iteration must be followed by a round of testing to guarantee quality and detect any defects.
Throughout the iteration stage, the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) produced during the initial sprints is refined and transformed into a fully operational solution, prepared for deployment to the testing phase.
To sum up, iteration is the lengthiest phase in the Agile Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) process. It concentrates on product quality through successive sprints and promotes teamwork within the team.
Throughout the project’s life cycle, it is crucial to take this stage of the development process into account. This encompasses the pre-release period as well as the maintenance phase. Developers must be ready to implement corrections and minor alterations even after a project has been released.
At this juncture, the iteration is deployed to production following quality assurance testing, documentation creation, and deployment.
When in the production phase, teams devote attention to verifying that the software is error-free and compatible with any pre-existing components. After each sprint, four distinct tests are performed during the testing phase.
When Assessing Individual Units, We Examine:This is intended to verify that each component of the program is functioning as anticipated and delivering the features as promised.
Assessment of System interdependencies:Involves integrating and verifying the functionality of various components within the system.
Validation through Acceptance testing:At this point, the product is evaluated to determine whether it is suitable for deployment and meets the end-user requirements. The assessment’s result will be either the product’s approval or rejection.
System Analysis:All software components are tested in their entirety to confirm that the product functions and meets the defined criteria.
The Quality Assurance (QA) team performs various tests to ensure that the software satisfies the necessary standards and the company’s objectives have been met. After successfully passing the testing, the program is made ready for launch.
Above All, The product undergoes one final testing round to ensure quality before going live online.
When Should We Consider This Stage? As a project advances, the significance of quality assurance grows. A competent quality assurance team is indispensable for testing both new and existing features to ensure their proper functioning. As more features are added to the project, this process will become more protracted; nevertheless, it is essential for ensuring a superior end product.
After successful testing, the product is now prepared for launch. The software has been successfully deployed and is now accessible to clients.
Teams commence with the maintenance phase at the time of launch. The software development team offers uninterrupted maintenance and troubleshooting support to guarantee the system’s operability.
After systems have been deployed, our primary objective is to ensure their ongoing viability, error-free operation, and productivity during the production phase.
The essential message to retain is: the product is available to consumers, and the software teams deliver consistent support.
If the project demands it, it is crucial to reflect on the deployment phase at the beginning of the development process. The emphasis on this stage should correspond to the project’s schedule and must be released on the defined date. It is vital to ascertain that the requisite infrastructure is set-up before the launch date to mitigate any potential issues.
Upon completion of all the previous steps, the product owner will convene the entire team for a retrospective on the project’s progress thus far. The team will deliberate on how far they have advanced towards attaining their objectives, what accomplishments they have realised, and what factors have caused any setbacks.
The product owner also seeks feedback from stakeholders, which is incorporated into the specifications for the next iteration.
The review phase enables teams to envisage and resolve future potential issues, since they obtain a thorough understanding of their process and recognise areas of success and areas for improvement.
Subsequently, a new iteration of the Agile software development life cycle commences.
The most significant inference is that productive teams continuously assess their advancement and tackle any challenges that emerge.
It is advantageous to frequently audit our work to recognise areas for enhancement. This is critical throughout the project lifecycle but is especially advantageous in the beginning when the project is still in its nascent stage and there is more room for improvement.
Enhancing Outcomes for a Distributed Team through Agile Stages
Numerous software development teams are embracing agile methods to enhance communication, collaboration and task delegation amongst their members, in order to accelerate the development process and assist the team to swiftly acclimate to any unforeseen challenges that may arise during a project.
It is evident that this approach could aid distributed teams in accomplishing projects with superior efficiency. Agile methodology presents substantial advancements in flexibility across all stages of development for a remote team, by encouraging improved communication and collaboration amongst team members. To reap these advantages, it is prudent to employ channels of communication and cooperation that could diminish any stress within the team.
Form a Capable Agile Team with Proficient Programmers
An iterative approach is a fundamental feature of agile development. This approach urges teams to be thorough in their work so as to deliver a functional product to users promptly.
Regrettably, the Agile methodology does not furnish an assured technique for successful project delivery. It is vital to possess the appropriate development team to ensure prosperous software delivery.
At Works, we are dedicated to assisting you in creating and launching exceptional software. We take pride in comprehending the needs of our clients and providing them with the finest remote software engineers to fulfil and even surpass their objectives and aspirations. If you wish to learn more, please do not hesitate to contact us.