How Agile Development Makes Better Software

“We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

(Manifesto for Agile Software Development)

What’s good about agile software development – it brings flexibility and convenience. What’s bad about it – the agile approach can be misused and misunderstood as something that lacks planning, something that brings an incomplete software product which always requires a bunch of updates after it’s rolled out to the market. But it’s not necessarily this way. The Agile Manifesto proclaims the main principles of agile development. Meanwhile, methodologies are adopted to individually suit each development company. Agile approach means good for you, software owner, if the company you’ve chosen follows these values and work principles.

Agile development consists of iterations. This means, the software owner receives a viable piece of software at the end of each iteration. First it’s the design of the future product; then is launched the development, where the product receives new features and gets tested, iteration by iteration. Besides, the software owner can track the progress of development by receiving timely reports. Furthermore, this allows the owner to shape the picture of the app by giving feedback and altering requirements.

Requirements tend to change, that’s for sure; and these unexpected changes may cause certain delays and overpays. Experience shows that initial requirements are always altered at will of the software owner. These requirements may vary from insignificant ones to those which require rewriting quite a bulk of code. Agile method presupposes better adaptation to these changes. Changes may touch the industrial progress, and here agile is also a winner, keeping track of the ever improving tech and software.

Another characteristic of agile development is communication between the development contractor and the software owner. Very often it happens so that software development is not one-time service, but a real long-term partnership, fruitful for both parties. The software owner is in control of the process, and communication plays a huge role of making parties better understand each other. As a result, it takes less time for the project to be finished, and the software owner receives exactly what he/she wants.

Some criticize agile approach as the one that rolls out an unfinished product to the market, then brings a bunch of updates to make something attractive out of it. This statement is a bit misleading. The more complex the project is, the more problems it may face, by any way of development. Of course, everything depends on the quality and expertise of the company. But the simple rule is, software has to get feedback, and measures (updates) must be taken anyway, it just needs to be maintained relevant. That’s how it gets better and better. The software will never be perfect to the eyes of the owner. But it can be directed towards perfection.

Haste might make waste, but speed by agile development doesn’t. Speed is an advantage of quick releases and updates – the software owner becomes more agile on the market. And there is always a business decision, an unexpected feature that the owner wants to incorporate into a flexible code. The most important decisions aren’t always made at the beginning of the project, you can’t predict everything.

What’s valued within agile companies, is friendly, engaging atmosphere, necessary conditions, and motivation. Motivation of employees instead of strictness – this may cause accusations of lack of discipline. But that isn’t like letting things fall where they may. Nobody canceled order and elaborated work process, and the programmers’ hourly achievements in creating the product are as transparent as can be; the software owner always knows what he/she pays for. There are a lot of tools to keep relations transparent, even for the most doubting and demanding software owners.

Agile can be interpreted in different ways by different companies. Agile development does not mean absence of documentation or poor quality. Self-organization and motivation does not mean absence of order and discipline. There’s no magic in it, agile simply works. Planning is highly important. Agile makes your software better if you choose the company that truly gets into the simple philosophy of agile development – providing the software owner and end users with a working result, and maintaining support thereafter.

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