When it comes to software development, methods that previously dominated the industry, such as Waterfall, may no longer function in today’s dynamic business environment. Current trends in software engineering demonstrate that developers need evolutionary, incremental models to meet the demands of their clients. Agile software development is one that has been widely adopted in the industry due to its potential to increase efficiency. As we have mentioned in previous posts, here at iTexico we have experienced first-hand the benefits of applying this methodology to clients looking for help in mobile development projects.
What is Agile software development? You may receive a different definition depending on who you ask, but there are guidelines developed by a group of software developers who met in 2001 in Utah. Their Agile Manifesto outlines 12 basic principles that range from adaptation and welcoming changing requirements to cooperation and face-to-face conversation. Taking some of its characteristics from lean methodologies, Agile software development tries to avoid the often daunting and bureaucratic approaches of traditional methods. With a focus on people and results, the method is highly collaborative because it involves including the client in the process and continuously incorporating changes and improvements.
At its core, Agile development aims for a continuously evolving process by employing proactive, organized and multidisciplinary teams to create valuable solutions. By using iterations along the development lifecycle, developers maintain more control over the process. They can plan, execute and test new features, as well as bug fixes, in order to consistently deliver a finished demo at the end of each iteration. Each iteration will serve as a base to re-evaluate the project priorities while minimizing risks and adding speed to the whole process. Though the Agile methodology focuses on moving rapidly, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that documentation best practices can be disregarded when implementing it.
If you’re looking to start incorporating Agile methodologies in your development process or already have experience with these practices but want to know more, there are some key things that should be kept in mind:
- Agile development is a concept that includes many different methods/approaches for software development such as Scrum, Extreme Programming, Feature-driven development, Lean development, etc.
- Opting for Agile translates to a state of continuous learning for all parts involved.
- In order for a methodology to be successful, all of its components need to be included. You can’t cherry pick for things that look more convenient and expect to have the required results.
- People are a big focus of Agile in addition to how well they manage to work in a team environment. This includes other people besides the software development team.
Now, we are left with an important question: can you offshore agile? Today, offshoring software development practices are standard in many organizations. According to a survey conducted by Forrester in 2010, 35% of software development companies used agile. That number went up to 75% in 2013. Imagine what the numbers look like today. Agile was thought to be a method that could not go hand-in-hand with offshoring due to its stress on face-to-face interaction and continuous collaboration. While it does add complexity, it most certainly can be done.
Some things to keep in mind are accounting for time zone in your daily scrum (meeting) and use videoconferencing. Also, consider keeping geographical distance lower and opting for nearshore when choosing an organization to work with so that you can get to know your team. In fact, many companies, such as Thoughtworks and Matrix Global, have combined Agile with offshoring successfully. At iTexico we offer nearshoring services as well as eTaaS® (Extended Teams as a Service), which means that our on-site/off-site ready groups can work face-to-face with the rest of your development team.
Agile methodologies have become essential in a world where changes are constant and fast. Yet when it comes to software development, it’s important to keep in mind that the latest trends might not exist tomorrow. Whether you’re interested in an app or any other piece of software, it's important to know the benefits of Agile methodologies. Subsequently, you can make an informed decision and elect the option that will bring you more value at the end.