Agile Development – Understanding the processes

Agile is a method of developing software solutions that include websites, web applications and mobile applications that focuses on delivering high quality working software frequently and consistently while reducing project overhead and increasing business value.

While there are a number of implementations of the agile methodology, the most common steps in an agile software development approach are:

Discovery

This is a very important step in the agile approach. Understanding the client’s vision and background is highly essential before the development process starts. The process usually starts with a series of discovery sessions and research to understand the client’s goals, challenges, business climate, their customers and end users.

Product backlog

A high level product backlog is created which is basically a wish list of all the features that might be useful for the client and their users. Each feature is then categorized according to its priority. This decides the order in which the features will be developed, tested and delivered. The client usually decides this priority and hence allows the development team to deliver the highest value features to the client before moving on to those with a lower priority.

Iterations

After thoroughly understanding the client’s requirements, a high level set of features are created and delivered in a series of time boxed iterations. These are called as Sprints. Each of the iterations is a subset of the overall project.

Continuing the cycle

Additional sprints are developed as needed in order to deliver additional features and are built based on the feedback from the previous iterations. Each successive sprint is both iterative and provides improvements over the previously completed sprint. It is also incremental as it adds new features to the system. Agile methodologies definitely add value to the overall development lifecycle and the feedback at regular intervals ensures that correction occurs quickly and things are fixed before they turn into catastrophic disasters!

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