0 Shares 152 Views

Agile Software Development: What Is It and Its Principles?

Usama Ziafat Sep 06, 2023
Principles and Practices of Agile Software Development

In a world that changes a lot and quickly, the old methods of project management and software development sometimes seem outdated. That is when Agile Software Development comes in. It is a flexible and adaptable way of working that has changed how teams get things done. So, here we will learn the main ideas of Agile, such as what it is and what are its principles.

What is the Agile Software Development Process?

Agile is a philosophy that has transformed the way software is developed. At its core, Agile is a set of principles and practices that prioritize flexibility, collaboration, and customer satisfaction. Instead of rigidly following a predefined plan, Agile embraces change and adapts to evolving requirements. This approach values individuals and interactions over processes and tools, working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation, and responding to change over following a plan.

Agile is a method of handling projects and creating software where teams work in smaller steps to give value to customers faster and better. In Agile, teams aim to deliver small, usable parts of the project instead of putting all their efforts into one big release.

What are the Principles of the Agile Software Development Process?

Principle 1: Customer Satisfaction is Important

Our main goal is to make sure customers are happy by providing them with valuable software as soon as possible. To achieve this, it is essential to release early, make frequent improvements, and listen to what customers need continuously.

Unlike traditional methods of creating products, which often take a long time, agile principles emphasize reducing the time from coming up with an idea to launching it. The aim is to put a working product in customers’ hands as quickly as we can.

Principle 2: Embrace Changing Requirements

Embrace changes in what the customer wants, even if they come later in the project. Agile methods use these changes to help the customer stay ahead of their competition.

It is a fast world and Agile ideas say it is better to adapt to these changes rather than stick to old plans. In the past, when making products, people usually didn’t like to change their plans even if they found something new. However, according to Agile ideas, it is better to watch how the market, customer needs, and competition change and adjust your plans when needed.

Principle 3: Use Face-to-Face Communication

While remote work and tools can be useful, Agile encourages in-person or real-time communication to reduce misunderstandings and promote collaboration.

Principle 4: Release Working Software Often

Agile thinking likes to break down product development into smaller parts and release them more often. By doing this, you can make your product develop faster.

This agile way, with short development cycles for smaller parts of the product, means less time spent on lots of paperwork, which is common in Waterfall development. Most importantly, releasing frequently gives more chances to get feedback from the right people who see each new version of the product.

Principle 5: Working Together as a Team

Communication is super important for any project or team to succeed, and in agile, it is a must-do thing every day. They say it takes a whole community to raise a child, and the same goes for making a product.

A good product needs input from both the business and tech sides of a company, and that only happens if these two teams work together regularly. Talking regularly helps everyone in the company understand each other better, and it builds trust and openness.

A man indicating the agile software development concept on a see-through screen

Principle 6: Strive for Technical Excellence and Good Design

High-quality software is a priority in Agile software development to minimize technical debt and ensure long-term maintainability.

Principle 7: Organize Projects with Motivated People

Provide the right conditions and help they need, then believe in them to finish the work. Agile’s core idea is to give individuals and teams the power to do their jobs with trust and independence. It’s crucial to select the right people with the right skills for the agile team and set clear roles before starting a project. But once the work begins, there’s no room for closely controlling or guiding every little detail in Agile.

Principle 8: Working Software Defines Progress

In the agile way of thinking, they say our main job is to make software, and that’s where we should focus our efforts. Having perfect and detailed documents comes after having working software. This way of thinking encourages getting products to customers fast instead of waiting for everything to be perfect. The real sign of success is a working product that customers really like.

Principle 9: Agile Supports Steady, Lasting Progress

Meeting tight deadlines can be tough for a team, especially if the goals are too high. Agile suggests being aware of this and setting achievable, clear goals. The goal is to keep the team’s spirits up and make sure they have a good balance between work and life. This way, we can avoid people getting exhausted or leaving the team.

Principle 10: 80/20 Rule

You may have come across the 80/20 rule, which suggests that you can achieve 80% of your goals with just 20% of the effort. Agile ideas promote this approach, urging us to concentrate on what really matters. In product management, this means staying very focused on the organization’s goals and being willing to make tough choices about what to work on. Agile principles advise against creating things just for the sake of it and stress the importance of being strategic and purposeful in your work.

Principle 11: Self-Organizing Team

Agile software development process recommends using teams that organize themselves and make decisions together, rather than having one boss or management team. This fits with the agile focus on valuing teams and how they work together, rather than just following strict processes or using certain tools. The goal is to give teams the freedom to work together effectively.

A diagram illustrating the different stages of the agile process

Principle 12: Team Regularly Reflects and Adjusts to Improve Effectiveness

We learn from our customers and markets, and we also learn from how we learn. Agile is not about sticking to a fixed process for every step; it is about always getting better. This improvement applies to our methods and teams too.

The Bottom Line

There are various Agile frameworks, each with its unique characteristics, but the fundamental principles remain the same. The Agile principles have been adapted and applied beyond software development to various industries and domains, as they provide a flexible and customer-focused approach to managing projects and delivering value.