So basically… What’s Agile?
Many teams that are using Agile probably won’t be able to clearly define its meaning. What is it? A philosophy? Some list of principles? A methodology? Well, actually, all of those are correct. Yes, even a philosophy (though it has nothing to do with Socrates, Kant or Descartes).
Agile methodology stands for flexibility and mobility, meaning that it’s ready for changes. It’s opposed to classical software development methods (though Agile principles themselves can be used everywhere, not only in IT industry). People and their communications are more important than work tools and processes. Application itself is more important than loads of technical documentation. Cooperation and communication with the client is much more important than contractual obligations, which only will give you additional headache. Finally, readiness for change. Changes define Agile. Even if you think that your initial project is a true masterpiece, you cannot be 100% sure. Nobody can come up with a flawless plan, especially when you have months of development ahead.
It’s rather obvious that Agile development teams didn’t appear from nowhere. Agile principles came out from initial problems, which developers had to face during software development in early 90s (and even before).
Now let’s talk about most popular Agile variations:
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
But our Agile review won’t be complete until we compare it to one of classic software development models – waterfall. It’s a common thing to say that waterfall is outdated and nowadays is useless. Still, one rarely mentions that waterfall is quite good for massive and complex projects which don’t need any changes. It’s doubtful that you would try to alter initial blueprints of a space shuttle (it could lead to a catastrophe). Still, it’s barely usable if you decide to hire mobile app developers for a much smaller project. But let’s talk about the model itself.
Imagine a real waterfall. Can the water go back, once it has flowed off the cliff? Unless gravity has stopped working, the answer is “no”. The same thing happens to Waterfall model. It’s linear and very hard to modify. You have to specify almost every detail of the project – and, just like water, the project can’t turn back. That’s why some serious issues will most likely pop out only during the testing of your application (when the development process is complete).
Now it’s pretty obvious that Agile methodology is far more flexible than Waterfall. Nevertheless, Waterfall is rather suitable for less skilled offshore development teams as the model itself is well structured and is hard to misinterpret. It also can be used if time isn’t an issue for you, and your company is ready to spend a lot of resources while polishing up the project. And if it’s not? That’s when Agile hits the stage!
Agile teams features
Many Agile teams can’t actually define which type of Agile they are using. You most likely won’t be able to find a dedicated development team that will use pure Scrum or Lean. There are a lot of effective practices that can be used by every offshore development team: daily scrum-meetings, usage of backlog and roadmap, iterative development with fixed sprint size, retrospective, etc.
Be ready to constant contacts with your dedicated Agile team in order to clarify all the requirements and provide feedback. If you want to get exactly what you want, it’s the best way for you. Luckily, almost everything is possible when you use Agile. Especially when you have your own experienced dedicated project team.
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