Agile software development is the talk of the town when it comes to software development. The trend has such a powerful pull that the development method is implemented by an ever-growing number of companies. But just like the latest fashion must-have, many developers want something that they don’t need – or buy something that doesn’t fit them. Agile is, in fact, no silver bullet or magic remedy but it pays off to implement it right and adjust it to your company’s individual needs.
In its very essence, Agile was meant to be flexible. You should not be using Agile – you should try to be agile. Agile methods enable projects to be non-static, so changes to code and features can be made at many stages of the development process. This can be a blessing or a curse - either developers learn from the first version’s flaws or imperfections remain in the program until its final stage.
If Agile is primarily used to increase productivity – to generate a quick and dirty first version to present to customers or to publish as a Beta release – consecutive sprints are likely to require so much additional work that first-version bugs are never addressed. This approach can cause entire applications to stand on a shaky foundation. This type of Agile screw-up is so common that it has even been identified as one of the sources of the often-cited various Microsoft glitches.
Contrarily, users should make themselves aware of the creative incentives, team work emphasis and flat hierarchy inherent to the Agile software development. Agile does have the power to bring out the potential of a development team – if they are met with the right work environment. Working in the scheme, teams of developers enjoy the privilege to work independently and have their work reviewed by peers rather than superiors. While the systems has the potential to foster maximal creativity and teamwork effort, its prerequisites are for employers to identify with the company as well as feel trust placed in them to make the right decisions on their own. Successful implementer of agile schemes Google encourages employees to spend as much as 20% of their work time with topics completely unrelated to their core chore, a decision that definitely contributes to the company’s innovativeness and competitive edge.
Even if one Agile project worked well for the company, it doesn’t mean that the next project has to function in exactly the same way. Staying agile means staying flexible. Instead, developers should view Agile software development as a continuous learning process. If tasks require a different approach or take more time than expected, adjustments have to be made even if it means cutting down on productivity. If you truly believe in the functionality of Agile – which you should- there will be more than one opportunity to catch up on backlogs.