There are many different ways to approach software development. Each is typically heavily influenced by the development team. However, the goal is always to make sure it best serves the customers’ needs. At Dorian Solutions, we use the Agile Development methodology. Before we dive into what sets Agile software development apart from other methods, let’s set a foundation for software development in general.
Software development is a lot like cooking.
When you’re making a cake, there are some ingredients and steps that are the same no matter what type of cake it is, or who’s making it. You know you’ll need a pan, an oven, and that there is mixing and baking involved. The same is true with software development. There are general tools and structures used as well as high-level rules to follow.
The differences are in the details. There are many, many different recipes for many different types of cakes. Different cooks will add different ingredients or methods. In the end, the result is a delicious cake! But there are many different paths to get from eggs and flour to that final, yummy dessert. The same idea applies to the Agile software development process.
What is Agile software development?
The Agile software development process is one of many paths to get from concept sketches to your final software. At its core, Agile is just as much the mindset when approaching software development as it is any set of tools or rules. It starts by acknowledging that the requirements WILL CHANGE over the course of the project, and we should embrace this change. For the customer, it is an opportunity to continually make the project better even after it has started. We begin by making a general plan and a path for the software, knowing that things will change during the development and that it will be necessary to pivot and adapt to those changes.
With Agile, software development and review occur in smaller pieces in shorter time periods versus completing everything in a much longer time frame and then looking at it all at once. During the initial planning, the major goals are identified, then broken down into the smaller components that are needed to achieve those goals. These smaller components are then prioritized and scheduled for short development cycles called Sprints. These sprints vary in length depending on the needs of the project and are a key piece to maintaining adaptability in the project. It allows the developers to set individual goals and timelines for pieces of the project, as opposed to approaching the project as one, big result.
If you had developed the entire software all at once, then decided a change was needed, it could result in throwing away weeks or months of work. Then you’d need weeks or months more to restructure the project for the new requirements. With the Agile development process, you are constantly reviewing and iterating as the project moves forward. This way, when a change does occur, it is recognized much sooner and the impact to the project is much less significant.
Some benefits of Agile development are:
- The ability to be more responsive to customer requests
- High-value features are prioritized first
- More opportunities to reprioritize
- Quicker review and feedback to address issues
- Reduced wasted work
- Decreased overhead
- High visibility of project development
At the end of the day, nobody has a crystal ball to tell them exactly what they will need by the end of the project. New ideas come up along the way. Challenges present themselves and must be dealt with. Requirements evolve to serve ever-changing business needs. The Agile development process allows us to better serve your changing needs, provide more value to the project, and ensure we have the opportunities to improve the project every step of the way.
Keep checking back for more tips, truths, and insights into our development process!