Agile refers to an iterative way of working, as outlined in The Agile Manifesto. Essentially, agile represents an alternative to traditional, sequenced, or ‘waterfall’ ways of working. Where once over projects were structured in an on-going linear fashion, the agile methodology focuses on “sprints” — short bursts of development, with specific goals relating to priorities in the product backlog at that time.
Working this way enables teams to quickly adapt to change — internal or external to the business — respond to user needs faster, and get products to market in a more cost-effective way.
If a software team follows the agile method accurately, they should find it easier to make decisions that result in better software development overall.
There are many benefits to agile working, including:
Getting products to users as quickly as possible: Some businesses may still be required to fill out laborious paperwork before writing a single line of code. But with the agile approach — and specifically, working in sprints — the time is of the essence! Following the agile methodology gets products into users’ hands faster, allowing for speedy testing and fixing of software solutions, and reducing time to market.
Increased customer satisfaction: The agile practice helps software development teams to rapidly deliver software that continuously improves based on customer feedback. Indeed, some agile teams will even conduct customer collaboration, as outlined in the Manifesto. The more a user’s needs are met, the more satisfied they will be, and the greater their loyalty becomes.
Focusing on the work that really matters: By creating frequent feedback loops — either testing with end-users or amongst stakeholders — agile teams can confidently prioritize the products, features and builds that matter to users and the wider business strategy. This may mean reshuffling priority tasks, switching strategic focus or dropping activities altogether.