What is Agile Software Development?

The Old Way

How you write software matters. Prior to Agile Methods, software development was a heavyweight venture often resulting in long durations, schedule slips, and loads of frustration. Old-fashioned methods and processes placed the focus on defining everything up front before coding. This approach often led the team to focus on the development of documents and artifacts instead of working code. Shame on us.

Enter the modern era where we take into consideration what is agile software development.

The New Way

Agile Methods are a new emerging way of developing software in a lighter, faster, more people-centric way. Agile Methods are nothing short of a revolutionary way of developing software. How you write software really does matter. Done correctly, Agile Methods allow your teams to deliver software in the shortest time possible with the highest levels of quality, all the while the team members are healthy and engaged. Sounds good? Empirical data evidence now confirms what thousands of software developers already know - teams using Agile Methods can easily out-perform teams using old-fashioned non-agile methods.

The Agile Manifesto states that we value:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

High Quality Software – Fast!

As you can see, the focus of Agile is on working software, people, and responding to change. Say goodbye to bulky documentation. Say goodbye to insanely detailed procedures and illogical record keeping. Say goodbye to predicting 2 years out. Say goodbye to pert charts with thousands of dependencies. Say goodbye to updating it ever day. Say goodbye to excruciatingly detailed plans up front. The bottom line is this: in Agile, the focus is on what really matters - people and working software.

Agile Methods all have the following principles in common:

  • Working software is the principal measure of progress
  • Rapid, continuous delivery of useful software in iterations (2 - 4 weeks)
  • Changes in requirements are welcomed and even encouraged
  • Close, daily cooperation and collaboration between business people and developers
  • Projects are built around motivated individuals, who can be trusted
  • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good simple designs
  • Rigorous quality standards
  • Self-organizing teams who are accountable
  • Regular inspection and adaptation to changing circumstances

Agile Methods are agnostic of any programming languages, environments, or tools you are using. That means they work whether you are a .Net, Java, Linux, embedded, proprietary, or otherwise shop. Agile Methods are currently being successfully used across a wide spectrum of business application development including financial, telecom, banking, services, user interfaces, commercial web sites, insurance, retail, travel, etc. The range is endless.

If you are not familiar with Agile Methods, don't worry - it's not too late. Three Beacons can help. Give us a call to discuss your situation. We can train your team in Agile Methods and provide consulting services to help lead the transformation to agile. We can offer you 20+ years of practical product development experience, not just teaching experience.

There are many Agile Methods such as Scrum, Extreme Programming, Test-Driven Development, Lean, and the like. The great thing about Agile is that you can pick and choose techniques from each of these to establish your own software development "ecosystem" to fit your corporate culture. That is where the practical expertise of Three Beacons comes in. We partner with you to understand your company culture and your current challenges. Then, we will develop and execute a transformation roadmap using Agile Methods techniques to guide your teams to success.

"The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with,
but whether it is the same problem you had last year."
-- John Foster Dulles

The time is now. Establish your competitive advantage with Agile Methods by Three Beacons. We’ll turn you to the masters behind “What is agile software development”.