Posted by: CompleteITProfessional
Agile, Agile methodology
Choosing an agile methodology instead of a traditional waterfall methodology can be a big decision. Let’s take a look at the benefits of choosing one of the agile methodologies instead of waterfall.
Regular, Working Deliverables
The major benefit of an agile methodology is that it allows for regular releases of the software. Rather than delivering a product at the end of a project using the waterfall method, agile methods use regular, iterative releases to complete smaller pieces of the software over time. This gives the users a working version of the software early in the project.
As the agile methodologies use an iterative approach, there is a benefit of being able to make continuous improvement to the software. Features can be added, screens can be changed, problems can be fixed, sooner than they normally would have using a waterfall method. Also, as the users are able to operate the software, they can get a better idea of what they want. This can be hard using the diagrams and images that are normally done as part of the waterfall method.
More Focus on Quality
The delivered features are broken down into smaller items, and are individually tested before being released. As they are tested at this level, they need to be operational before they are delivered. This usually ensures a higher level of quality when it is delivered.
Often what happens with waterfall projects is that the testing phase is reached and some features don’t work correctly. This can result in delays to the project and defects not being found. With an agile methodology, defects are found earlier, and if they aren’t resolved then there is a decision made on whether to spend time fixing those defects or leaving it out of the release.
Work Closely With Business Users
Agile methodologies have the advantage of getting the project team working closely with the business users. There is often an inconsistent involvement with waterfall projects, where some team members are involved early in the project to gather requirements, and then minimal contact is made until the user testing stage.
With an agile approach, a business representative is involved throughout the project. They are there to help with clarification of requirements, screen design, and any other topic that needs to be discussed. They are often in the same area or located close to the team in another way, which helps get a quicker turnaround.
Easier To Handle Changes
Due to the iterative approach of agile methodologies, it’s easier to make changes to a scope of a release than it is in waterfall. With waterfall, if a change needs to be made, a process is generally followed where something else needs to make way or more money or time is needed.
If an agile approach is used, changes can be made where needed by organising the smaller features inside a release. If a priority is changed on an item, it can be moved forward or backward in the release schedule, which is reassessed regularly. There is less planning for future releases until it is needed. Working with the business users can help to prioritise items and ensure the most important ones are being delivered.
Reduced Risk of Failure
Another important benefit of an agile methodology is that there is usually a reduced risk of failure. This includes failure to meet the timeframe, failure to meet budget, and failure to deliver a working solution.
Due to the way that agile is performed, using iterative development, it means that problems can be found sooner and made aware to the project team, which can then lead to decisions being made. Problems with waterfall projects are not often found until later on in the project, where they are costly and time consuming to resolve.
This is, of course, depending on the organisation and the project, but generally these points apply.
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