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Agile Methodology

Agile Methodology is now seen as the panacea of software development. Well until the next "new thing" appears at least. It is also one of the most recent methodologies created for this purpose.

As the word suggests, agile development methodologies believe in a quick and more adaptive development of software which is why it is often used for web development when scope is uncertain. It also has a high level of customer input; as feeback from the customer are required at all the stages of the process of software development.

Agile methodologies work on iterations i.e. successive approximation. The software development process under this methodology starts with the basic assumption that the entire deliverable has been understood sufficiently well so that it can be broken down into small tasks.

After this the task is further broken into smaller tasks or iterations called sprints. Each sprint involves a small software development lifecycle. It requires inputs from the customer, frequent inspections, inclusion of required changes and acceptance testing. This is the reason why small changes in the customer’s project management requirements can in theory be incorporated at any stage of the product development.

Agile methodology does not require long term planning. In fact, each iteration requires about a couple of weeks from planning to development. Later all these small tasks are integrated to form the required software codebase.

Team Composition

The ideal development team size utilising agile will comprise of 5 to 9 people working in an open office in one location. The members of the team will be from various different departments depending on the deliverable required from the project. They might be anyone in the hierarchy of the organization; but they will still be treated as one of the team members in the project.

According to agile development methodologies, they need to work as a team rather than as individuals; a team which is more responsible, mutually dependent and self-organizing than you might otherwise find. Thus, effective project communications are extremely important.

The optimum method of communication is verbal if the team is at the same place. If the team is working from different locations, then telephone discussion or video conferencing is preferable to emails as it keeps the dialogue and momentum going. This also helps in saving time.

When communicating with the customer to get their input on the work being developed, one of the team members will be assigned this role in order to free up the rest of the development team to get on with the work at hand.

Agile Methodology - Tip

As you will see in the advantages and disadvantages of agile software development, this process of software development can work very well in certain situations.

However it is not the panacea to all the development problems usually encountered. It really depends on how agile is implemented, and more importantly, controlled. If this isn't done right then it can rapidly become the number one cause of scope creep. And you really don't want that happening on your project!

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Please check out our new Project Management Methodologies section. It has loads of great info on concepts such as the PMMM and Critical Path.


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