While software plays an integral role in every aspect of the modern world, the software development process still faces many challenges. During the development process in an organization, the effective methodology has a critical role.
The agile approach refers to new methodologies, which have been introduced recently. It’s a new approach for developing software to increase the productivity and efficacy of the software development process compared to traditional methodologies.
In this blog, we talk about the critical success factors of Agile methodologies in software development projects. According to agile principles, the focus should be on adding value rather than following the plan.
Delivering working software to the users frequently and that too in a short span can add value for the users. Agile development calls for the software development team to deliver quickly and then gain feedback quickly. This implies that it can make changes more easily, improve quality, and conduct constant testing.
The agile mindset supports changes during development. It also encourages feedback from the users early in the cycle. Agile practices address two of the toughest challenges facing business and technology nowadays: ﬁrstly, the need for an innovative approach in developing software and, secondly, the need for a work environment that is dynamic in responding to frequent changes.
With the evolution and increasing usage of agile methodology and practices, the successful adoption of agile is crucial for any project. Since the inception of Agile methodologies, the critical success factors (CSFs) of agile development research developed rapidly. Agile success factors can be classified into five main categories:
A survey was conducted among Agile professionals, gathering survey data from 100+ projects from different companies and domains across the IT industry. The collected data were analyzed using multiple regression methods. This classification helps in reaching to a multi-dimensional view of success factors and makes them more applicable. Then, the researchers propose an approach for evaluating the adherence of these success factors in the agile projects. The proposed approach can be used to reveal the current state of success factors as an introductory step to enhance their adherence.
The Agile Movement
Agile is a set of values and principles based on best practices for the delivery of software and other IT projects. When implemented in a disciplined manner and scaled to the needs of the project, program, or portfolio, Agile values and principles facilitate and validate the demonstration of a working solution to stakeholders frequently and in small parts.
Agile provides the flexibility to adapt to changes over time. The key intent of Agile solution delivery is to provide value to an organization in increments, which are adjusted and built over time into a scalable solution.
The modern Agile movement started in 2001 when a group of thought leaders experimented with various approaches to deliver software rapidly and in small chunks (in a “lightweight” manner) converged on a set of values and principles.
It was considered a rebirth of the Rapid development movement based on what this group of people could agree on at that time and was enshrined in a document known as the Agile Manifesto. The Manifesto was not intended to encompass all aspects needed for success—it was intended to be more of a starting point than an end-stage. The Agile Manifesto, as published in 2001, has two basic components: Agile values and Agile principles (these can be found at www.agilemanifesto.org).
An Agile approach is especially relevant because the rapid pace of technology can cause a project’s scope to change frequently. A basic project management principle is scope and resources will vary over time. More traditional development approaches often assume that scope and requirements are well understood, and exceptions can be managed by adding additional time and resources.
In contrast, Agile approaches acknowledge the difficulty of anticipating all requirements upfront and promote efficiency and effectiveness by allowing some requirements to evolve over time while fixing time and resources. Work is planned and implemented in smaller pieces, quickly providing evidence to stakeholders that teams are (or are not) producing what they want within a shorter timeframe.
Using an Agile solution delivery approach is very different from a traditional solution delivery approach, such as the “waterfall” approach. Differences Between Agile and Traditional Approaches describes four key differences between the two approaches.
Two of the most popular, basic Agile methods are “Scrum” and “eXtreme Programming.” Both methods embody the intent of the Agile values and principles. Most Agile approaches have a mix of practices and techniques that provide further guidance, as well as light templates.
Agile approaches, when well planned, implemented with discipline, and tailored to the scale of the project or organization, can produce better quality software, faster, and at an overall lower cost. Agile presents an opportunity for tangible benefits and cost savings if governance models for managing the technology program are adapted to support lighter deliverables, fixed resources and time, and variable scope.
- An Agile project can be completed on budget, delivered on time, and satisfy the organization overseeing the project, provided the scope is not fixed from the start.
- With Agile, the organization sponsoring the project gets the features they aim for via an incremental approach, providing more flexibility to adjust the software features contained in each release and each iteration, as organizational priorities evolve.
- Fewer defects remain in the delivered product because these have been detected and corrected earlier.
- Less money is spent analyzing, designing, and planning features a year or more in advance that could change by the time of implementation, become a lower priority, or may never need to be developed at all.
This was Part – 1 of 2 blog series on the Agile Approach. The next blog would cover the Research Process and Success Factors Framework.