When it comes to getting things done, productivity experts often recommend using the “SMART Goals” philosophy — which is being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based.
For project management, this concept is especially helpful because using all of those elements to set goals can improve both the process and the end results. Which leads us to Agile.
The Basics: What’s Agile Methodology?
Briefly, the Agile Methodology is a popular approach for software development that breaks down the project into smaller tasks. This is done in order to reduce the amount of upfront planning and design and provides team members with SMART goals within a given timeframe. Known as “sprints” and often lasting two weeks, these increments involve the entire team working across all aspects of the project — from planning to design to coding to testing.
The 12 Principles of the Agile Manifesto (And Our Thoughts On Each One)
According to AgileManifesto.org, there are 12 principles to be followed:
- 1.) Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. Customer satisfaction is, as we always say, Job #1. If it doesn’t meet (or exceed) their goals and requirements, our work isn’t done.
- 2.) Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage. One of the great benefits of the Agile methodology is the adaptability it gives us. It’s much easier to make adjustments.
- 3.) Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to shorter timescale. Whenever possible, we use two-week sprints that enable predictability and accountability.
- 4.) Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. Having the entire team “on the same page” means transparency and ensures we’re all working towards a common goal.
- 5.) Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done. It all comes down to having a unified team of smart, creative, dedicated pros. (Like our team at Code Authority!)
- 6.) The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. Email and Slack and Teams and your intranet are fine. But nothing is better than live, person-to-person communication.
- 7.) Working software is the primary measure of progress. Checking regularly to see what’s working (and what isn’t) lets you know exactly how you’re doing.
- 8.) Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. With measurable, achievable, time-based goals that you set together, everyone should be able to get their tasks done.
- 9.) Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility. Regular check-ins and smart goals enable the team to be flexible.
- 10.) Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential. Maintaining a laser-focus and cutting anything that isn’t absolutely critical means no time is wasted.
- 11.) The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. By giving the team independence, responsibility and accountability, they usually perform at a higher level.
- 12.) At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly. We’re always learning and improving. By updating frequently, the team knows how things are going and what (if anything) needs to be done to get better.
What are the Benefits of the Agile Methodology?
While there are numerous advantages to using the Agile software development process, we’ve tried to narrow it down. Here are our top 6 benefits of the Agile Methodology:
1.) Higher Product Quality
Because testing is built into the Agile process, these regular updates ensure that the product is working during development. It enables the team to address any issues and make changes if needed.
Ongoing testing and bug fixes are essential to the quality of the final product — as each release builds on the previous functionality and is fully tested for quality control. Also, teams may consider using automated testing tools for further quality assurance.
2.) Higher Customer Satisfaction
The Agile methodology keeps the product owner involved along the way, so they are fully aware of the progress being made. Seeing their vision being brought to life definitely improves customer satisfaction! In addition, a well-run Agile development means delivering products to market faster and more often with each release. Clients can have “sneak previews” — as well as beta testing — of the product during the lifecycle and provide feedback whenever necessary.
These capabilities all help clients to be “a part of the team” and feel a true sense of accomplishment once the product is complete.
3.) Improved Project Control
Thanks to the multiple opportunities for stakeholder and team engagement, there’s a high degree of collaboration amongst the team and with the client. Clients can be involved every step of the project and the team can have a crystal-clear understanding of the client’s wants and needs.
This level of transparency builds trust and solidarity that contributes to overall product quality. Along the way — from sprint planning to prioritizing features to iteration planning to review sessions — everyone is involved and able to provide vital feedback.
4.) More Flexibility
With each iteration, the team can come together to constantly fine-tune and prioritize each task. Some tasks can be planned for the next iteration, which enables the team to incorporate changes — including unexpected revisions — within a few weeks. Thanks to this adaptability, the team can take input from demos, usability testing, and client and customer feedback to make modifications.
5.) Reduced Risks
Starting from the very first sprint, there’s always a working product. This essentially means there cannot be an actual “failure.” That said, continued check-ins mean predictability that can be counted on. In addition, the regular iterations help to control the number of hours required for developers — as well as total costs for the client. Having predictable costs and schedules make it easier to manage any possible risks associated with the development process.
6.) Faster ROI
An additional benefit of the Agile development process is the business value that it provides. With the client’s full involvement and prioritization of features, the team can clearly understand the client’s business goals and deliver software features that meets those goals.
Plus, the frequent updates create benefits early in the process, demonstrating value to clients with a functional, “ready to market” product after just a few iterations.
See how great Agile can be?
At Code Authority, we utilize the Agile software development methodology because it benefits our team while providing many important business benefits to our clients. The system helps us deal with the most common types of project pitfalls in a controlled manner. We believe that using Agile is great for us and ultimately our clients. To learn more about Code Authority's process and how we can implement Agile methodology into your next project, click here for a free quote.