Agile is one of the popular development methodologies that allows development teams to create a working product with high-quality code in a predictable time frame. Below we will describe Agile cycles and also indicate the types of projects for which it is not suitable.
What Is Agile Methodology?
Agile is an iterative approach to project management and software development that reduces time to market and minimizes post-release bugs. Instead of a complex implementation of global tasks, the team following the principles of the Agile development cycle performs tasks in small sprints lasting 1-4 weeks, depending on the specifics of the project. At the same time, the requirements for the project, the results of the work done, and the future scope of work are continuously evaluated, which ensures a quick and cost-effective response to changes.
In the Agile methodology, the client comes first. It can be the customer or the end user of the product. Thus, the created product should solve the problems of clients and please them.
When to use Agile and when not?
Since one of the Agile development lifecycle‘s goals is to constantly adapt the product development process to changing clients’ or market needs, projects that must be implemented in accordance with very specific requirements, such as legal or regulatory ones, are not suitable for applying this methodology. Usually, with such requirements, the delivery time of the final solution and its implementation format is very clear. This means that their non-compliance may be accompanied by fines and other losses on the side of the project executor.
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6 Stages of the Agile Lifecycle
Now, we propose you consider six main Agile development phases.
Agile development processes start with the definition of the concept of the future product. In particular, at this stage, the product owner, together with the team, determines the upcoming work front, forms key requirements for the Agile development software, creates documentation, and also discusses the desired results of the development process and the project budget. Requirements and results may change over time.
This is the second one from the Agile development stages when the necessary specialists are involved if the members of the team do not have the specific expertise. Also, tools and technologies are selected for the implementation of the project. After that, you and your team can start designing and creating the architecture of the future solution. Thus, the concept for the project becomes as precise and formal as possible, which in turn creates a solid foundation for development.
Now let's talk directly about the development phase, which is performed iteratively. This is usually the most time-consuming and resource-intensive stage within the Agile development system, since it requires writing code, assembling the product, and testing it cyclically. This stage also includes the development of product design based on the requirements (wishes) of the target audience.
As for the very course of this stage of the Agile life cycle, its main task is to create a product during the first iteration that would fulfill the basic requirements of the client. Further, as new iterations are completed, its functionality will acquire secondary features, and the design will improve. As a result, after a certain number of iterations, the team receives a product that fully meets the needs of the client, which could well have changed over time.
After the product has taken the form of what the client wanted to receive, it goes through end-to-end testing, which is intended to detect bugs that were not found at the previous stages, as well as to identify problems with performance, usability, accessibility, etc.
In case of detection of such issues, the product is returned to the development team for revision, and then re-tested. These Agile model phases will continue until it fully meets the specifications in the documentation. After the successful completion of this stage, the product can go into mass use in production.
At this stage of Agile software management, the created solution is deployed in the required environment and its target audience begins to use it. Therefore, it may need technical support and maintenance. These services ensure the stability of its operation, eliminate its downtime, and also prevent the occurrence of new errors.
Also, optionally, the product owner can request user training for their product and the development and launch of its updates – both for fixing post-release bugs and for marketing needs to ensure its viability for many years to come.
And finally, let’s talk about the last stage of the Agile development cycle, the decommissioning of the product. At some point, the product owner may need to launch a new, similar, but more advanced solution created from scratch, or abandon such software at all, as it has become outdated and/or no longer meets the needs of the product owner.
In such a case, users are either prompted to replace their outdated software with the new one or are notified that the software they use is no longer supported.
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In general, the Agile software development cycles will suit you if you have an experienced team of professionals who are ready, if necessary, to help less experienced team members. Startups can also perform phases of Agile to quickly get a working version of a product or MVP (minimum viable product) that best meets the needs of the target audience. Finally, you should consider this approach if you work on your own digital solutions, or if the product owner is ready to dive into the project and actively participate in its development.
If you are looking for a team to bring Agile best practices to your project, feel free to contact us.
What are some of the characteristics of Agile life cycles?
The Agile life cycle includes six phases: concept, inception, iteration, release, maintenance, and retirement. The number of phases will vary slightly depending on the project management methodology chosen by a team. For example, Scrum teams work in short time periods known as sprints, which are similar to iterations.
What is the significance of cycle time in Agile?
Cycle time provides immediate feedback on implemented changes. Since cycle times are tracked quickly and on an individual level, they also provide people with excellent data on the impact of changes. Consider a team that uncovered a critical skills gap in its cycle times and realized that it needed to make some internal adjustments.
What is the most important value when practicing Agile?
The Agile Manifesto emphasizes individuals and interactions, working software, customer collaboration, and responding to change. These values are supported by processes and tools, appropriate documentation, contracts, and plans.
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