What Is Agile Software Development? (& Its Principles)

What Is Agile Software Development? (& Its Principles)

While software development doesn’t have a long history, its evolution throughout time is still something remarkable. Today, there are many different frameworks and certain approaches used by different software companies and teams. However, agile software development is the most popular approach while developing, maintaining, or analyzing software tools. So what is agile software development and its core principles?

Agile software development is a broad term to describe a certain mindset. Its methodology covers incremental development, frequent team gatherings, continual/concurrent planning, rapid feedback, and improvements. It is about short cycles, adaptation, and incremental delivery, instead of following a detailed prior plan. This approach led to the creation of many other software frameworks such as Scrum or Kanban methodology. Despite that, agile software development is still in use as a model or term among software developers.

12 principles of agile

12 Principles of Agile

Before the agile software development framework, most software companies used to build and offer their product as a complete one. User feedback most often was not applicable to the product. So this created huge disparities between the user expectation and the received product, resulting in unsatisfied customers. Canceled projects were also much more common because of conventional business rules and hierarchy procedures.

17 software engineers developed the Agile Manifesto in 2001 to revolutionize the general approach in software creation. It summarizes the main principles behind agile software development and lays out a framework.

There are 12 principles of agile that are from the original manifesto. These principles are applicable to any software creation process or work methodology. So now let’s see what they are.

1) Continuous and Early Delivery of the Software

Continuous and early delivery of the software is the highest priority to satisfy the customer.

Old management strategies were mostly inclined to deliver the software to the customer after a couple of tests. Developers behind the product would never be able to test it on actual circumstances. So this approach created lots of problems for the client and developers. The continuous delivery principle, even in earlier stages, enables customers to give crucial feedback about the software.

welcome the changes in agile software development

2) Welcome the Changes

Welcoming changes is a significant part of the process, even late in development.

Software applications and their adaptations are subject to change in response to new needs. Therefore, it is a good practice to stay adaptable to any change, such as shifted market demands or organizational changes. So, developers should always create recovery points on the software, even in the initial phases.

3) Deliver Working Software Regularly

Deliver working software regularly, preferably on a weekly basis.

This principle puts emphasis on slight changes. Customers should be notified on a weekly basis. So that they can be more engaged with the software, learn it better, and give regular feedback.

4) Businesspeople and Software Developers Must Work Together

Businesspeople and software developers must work together daily with close cooperation.

Software development requires team collaboration. To build and maintain successful software applications, it is a must for business people and developers to work closely. This increases mutual understanding, respect, collaboration, and communication.

5) Motivated Individuals Are At the Core of Every Project

Developers work on a project for extended amounts of time. They are motivated to make their product better and commonly build a connection with it. So it is best for a company to create the best possible work environment for them.

face to face conversation

6) Face-to-Face Conversation

A face-to-face conversation is the most efficient method to convey information within a development team.

Agile software development relies on face-to-face interactions. So individuals should come together in a room regularly to discuss improvements, problems, and possible solutions. Exchanging information through email or other text-based forms are simply not enough.

7) Working Software Is the Primary Measure of Progress

This principle shows how functionality-based is the agile software development process. It is crucial to make working software even if it is not creative or finished. Because working software is better than a broken one.

8) Maintain a Constant Pace Between all Involved Parties

Maintain a constant pace between all involved parties to promote sustainable development.

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Everyone in a development or business team should contribute to a project equally. This way, teams can maintain a better work environment and create equally better products in the future.

9) Pay Attention to Technical Details to Maintain Quality

Lack of attention to technical details causes dysfunctions in software applications. The quality of a product is measured through the perfection of these technical details. So they deliver excellent use further without any problems or bugs.  

simplicity is essential in agile software development

10) Simplicity Is Essential

This principle is all about working smarter, not harder. Maximizing the amount of valuable work done is possible through simplicity. Developers should automate their work whenever possible, use existing codes, and remove any procedures that are no longer valid.

11) Self-Organizing Teams Are Better Than Hierarchical Team Structures

Micromanagement is an incredibly negative approach, especially in software development. It is important to have self-organizing individuals and teams. So that they can produce better products in shorter periods of time. This principle promotes taking on responsibilities and initiatives about the software, which usually ends up quite positively.

12) Development Teams Must Reflect on Their Performance

Lastly, development teams must reflect on their performance to maintain continuous improvement.

Teams might get too distracted while analyzing their software. However, analyzing their own performance regularly is equally vital to build and maintain a successful software application.

Agile Software Development in Summary

To sum up, agile software development is all about concurrent development along with frequent feedback and deliveries. The methodology mainly covers what a good product is, how it should be built, and the necessary environment it requires. So in this article, we also explained its 12 main principles, which can be briefly summarized as:

  • Early delivery
  • Adaptation
  • Frequent delivery
  • Close cooperation
  • Motivated individuals
  • Face-to-face communication
  • Working software
  • Sustainable development
  • Technical excellence
  • Simplicity
  • Self-organizing teams
  • Constant reflection

So if you liked this article, please have a look at our articles about software as well. You may find useful articles, such as parameters in marketing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Agile is beneficial to all involved parties. To name a few, the customer gets a working product more frequently. Developers have better working environments, and business people can adjust strategies much better.

Agile methodology lowers costs. As a result, businesses that utilize agile have fewer failures, more predictability, efficient usage of resources, and increased quality of their products.

While the initial idea behind agile was software development, its principles can be applied to any large business structure. It is a flexible and efficient methodology.

Scrum is a subset of Agile and is mostly used in more specific projects. At the same time, Agile is a set of core principles and values. So, these values are designed to minimize customer dissatisfaction and management issues.

While there are many new approaches regarding business structures and methods, most agile principles are still relevant. For example, its simplicity value is more relevant than ever today.

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