In this post, John Savage, our CTO, explains why we advocate the Agile development process for the majority of our client’s software development projects.
No two software projects are the same, but their development approach will fit into one of two development methodologies: Agile or Waterfall.
Agile Vs Waterfall.
Waterfall project management is highly structured. Requirements are set at the beginning, the product is built and tested, and any necessary changes are made at the end.
The Agile development approach gives you the flexibility to adapt requirements or respond to market demands as the project progresses. Development, testing and bug fixing takes place in increments.
Why we advocate Agile development in most cases:
1. Agile gives you the flexibility to respond to market changes.
Setting out requirements in advance could end up being a costly business decision. The market could change direction. Or you might uncover a new business requirement. Agile gives you the opportunity to incorporate it without having to start over.
2. Agile helps distinguish needs from wants = better ROI.
20-30% of originally planned features don’t get implemented. As the project progresses clients have a clearer view of what adds value and what doesn’t. This means the development effort can be refocused onto the higher value features.
3. Clients have the opportunity to give feedback throughout.
The regular reviews of progress, quality and costs give the client a transparent view of their project. This enables better decision making and gives them the opportunity to provide feedback. It also allows our team to address any problems before they grow.
4. Agile keeps the focus on the end-user.
We’ve all seen products where the end-user fell out of focus. With Agile, the client is involved throughout the process and their valuable insights keep the focus firmly on the end-user. By keeping a product’s end-users at the heart of its design and development process, the end result is far more likely to be useful and usable.
5. Costs are more easily controlled using Agile.
If a changing market leads to changing requirements, the Agile methodology allows us to incorporate them into the project without having to start over. This flexibility saves greatly on cost, reducing the need for expensive last minute changes.
Of course, Agile isn’t always a fit.
It goes without saying that each project requires its own unique approach, and the Agile method is not always the best solution. There are, of course, situations when a Waterfall approach can be beneficial, and we have used it for some client projects.
Determining the best development method.
I can’t speak for other companies, but this is what we do at ActionPoint. Before we begin any project, a rigorous analysis of your business is carried out, which will determine the development route we take.
All in all, the benefits of Agile project management are compelling, particularly for large and complex projects.
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