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Agile Development – Hot New Buzzword, or the Real Deal?

Agile Development – Hot New Buzzword, or the Real Deal?

The term “agile” is used in software development to describe methodologies for incremental software development.   Agile development is different from traditional project management because more emphasis is placed on people making decisions as a team and collaborating often, in addition to using continuous testing, continuous planning and continuous integration.   Development teams use the agile development framework to make sure that reliability is maintained from the start of the development process to the very end.   This means that whenever a new feature is added, the app goes through an automatic testing process to make sure there are no bugs or glitches.

Interest around agile development has exploded recently, becoming a hot new buzzword that companies and developers like to toss around.   While agile is important for developing mobile apps, how can we determine if companies and developers are actually using agile — or if it is just a buzzword to them?

One way to find out is to look at the attitude of the entire company that is using agile. Agile got its start in the development organization, and has gradually expanded into other areas downstream — specifically, IT and Operations.   Enterprises have increasingly been put under pressure to support fast-evolving digital business scenarios, but are finding traditional project and development methods inadequate, according to Gartner.   Gartner says that agile development will only work if the enterprise’s CIO along with its entire IT management team are dedicated to the culture change that is necessary for the success of agile.   They must be willing to fully make the shift away from Waterfall and other traditional methodologies, and to embrace the idea of constant, continuous improvement.   By looking at the attitude and actions of the entire enterprise, we can determine if it is serious about using agile or not.

The Waterfall method used to be favored by enterprises because it involved working through a set of well-defined phases — analysis, design, coding, and testing.   This worked fine when the cost of change was high, but now that the cost of change is low it’s no longer needed.   Instead of treating these as fixed stages, enterprises and developers who use agile believe that they are continuous activities.   By completing these actions continuously, quality and visibility improves because testing starts from day one.   Risk is reduced because developers get feedback early, and customers are happy because they can make changes without paying exorbitant costs.

Agile development is too important to be considered just a buzzword.   While some developers and organizations may be jumping on the bandwagon to claim that they use agile, it’s crucial to look at their actions, attitude, and company culture to see if they are really serious about agile.   All evidence points to the fact that agile is a superior framework to Waterfall and other traditional methodologies, and developers should make sure they are using it not just because it’s popular today, but because doing so will help them develop apps more quickly and effectively.

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