Agile development solutions evolve through self-organized teams. It encourages fast and flexible changes through adaptive planning. While other methodologies have their proponents, there’s little doubt in any Agile development shop that this method works well. To understand why agile project management is important, you only need to look at the rewards it provides.
Scrum and Sprints
In Agile, a sprint is a fixed time period where certain goals are met. At each sprint, your team and often the client will meet to discuss what’s to be accomplished and what criteria need to be observed.
Scrum agile methodology is the repeatable framework. A scrum team consists of cross-functional members, a Scrum Master or project leader, and a product owner, or person representing the client or stakeholder. All work together on sprint completion. Scrum principles allow your team to work on various features in shorter sprints as requirements emerge, rather than following a sequential process that can easily be derailed if long phases of work have to be rolled back.
The Benefits of Agile
Since agile development is iterative in nature, features are delivered in increments, so that testing, approval, and revenue can be realized early and continue with project development.
One of the key benefits of agile development comes from integration of testing throughout the development cycle. Regular, specific testing during all phases ensures that quality issues are more likely to be identified, and allows time for corrections. Meeting quality standards at each increment also ensures that the finished product will meet your customer’s requirements.
Agile principles encourage user involvement and a cooperative approach. This allows stakeholders to monitor progress and examine the product for assurances that your are satisfying expectations.
Incremental testing, user involvement, and releases make it easier to identify issues. Any changes can be captured and dealt with at any early stage of development. This drastically lowers the risk that the final product will not meet requirements.
In many other approaches to development, significant changes can result in overhauls of planning, funding, and specifications that delay progress or inflate costs. With agile project management, change is an expected part of the process. Requirements evolve as the product evolves. Transparency and incremental progress allow your clients to make timely decisions.
Establishing adaptive policies within fixed time frames make it easier to stand by fixed budgets. Variation comes iteratively in the evolution of the product, and does not impact cost. The agile philosophy of early release of features also means the competitive edge of faster time-to-market.
Direct involvement of stakeholders or their representatives, along with the level of visibility into progress and response to change, creates a better relationship between your business and the client. This leads to greater customer engagement with the process and greater likelihood they will consult you on future projects.
Agile methods provide a better experience for software developers. Rather than dwelling on specifications and long-term planning, teams get together regularly to discuss issues and progress with each sprint. The team can make decisions and explore options on their own. This provides you more motivated and focused teams.
Kanban agile methodology is more loosely structured than Scrum. It works as a model introducing change as incremental improvements. In Kanban, work is planned on a visual board as states which every work item must go through. This generally includes In Progress, Testing, Ready for Release, and Released columns. Variation may be allowed through horizontal pipes, or “swim lanes”, but Kanban is focused primarily on managing work in progress.
Scrum vs Kanban
You won’t find it difficult to introduce Kanban to any Agile project. Scrum agile methodology offers a tighter structure for more focus, control, and direction where these things may be lacking and development is off track. But if there are already efficient, productive processes in place, Kanban agile methodology can improve your process over time without requiring any radical change.
Some critics of agile point out that it is less predictable, and teams and product owners don’t always mesh productively. Collaboration is essential to success. Where that’s the case, the possible benefits of agile development make it an important strategy you should consider.