A Brief Introduction to Agile Software Development
If you look into the Dictionary for the meaning of agile, it says ‘able to move quickly and easily’. In other words, agile means the ability to respond to changes. Sometimes, there are some turbulences and uncertainties in the environment. Agile is a way to deal with this environment and emerge as successful. We can say that this word represents the adaptiveness.
You are in an environment and you need to understand that environment. Agile is about thinking through your understanding of the environment. This understanding helps you in identifying uncertainties you are likely to face. You can also figure out what you need to know to adapt changes.
So, what is agile software development?
There are frameworks such as Scrum, Feature Driven Development or Extreme Programming. However, Agile Software Development is more than these frameworks. This development is also more than test-driven development, pair programming, planning sessions, stand-ups and sprints.
Agile software development, it is a set of practices and frameworks. These practices and frameworks are based on principles and values coming from the Manifesto for Agile Software Development with 12 Principles behind it.
When you are opting for agile software development, living by these principles and values is in the best interest of your software development project. You will be able to understand the right things to do in a particular context.
Although there are some other software development approaches, the approach of agile development focus of the people working on the project and how they are working together. There are self-organizing cross functional teams collaborating and utilizing the practices of agile software development for their context. This is how a solution evolves. Collaboration and self-organization of the team is the focal point in the Agile Software Development. Here, self-organizing team does not mean that there are no managers involved.
There are managers involved. Teams are able to find out how they should approach things. These teams are cross-functioning. These teams don’t need to have specific roles. These teams are so involved that when everyone gets together, the right set of skills is available in the team.
Now the question is what is the role of the manager? It is the manager’s job to ensure that all team members have or acquired the essentially required skill sets. It is the manager’s job to create and maintain the environment the team needs to succeed. Manager, after that, lets the team find out how it will develop and deliver the product. However, there are some issues team is unable to resolve. This is where the manager steps in.
The majority of organizations and teams have started using agile software development. This allows the manager and the team to adopt practices helping with collaboration and organization. There are some key sets of practices that should be followed but are not being followed. These are specific technical practices directly dealing with the development of the software product. This helps the team in dealing with uncertainties. These are essential technical practices which should not be overlooked.