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5 Principles of Agile Software Development Methods

Over the years, software development methods have also upgraded parallelly with technological advancements. Agile software development methods are one approach in the current software development trends. Agile methodology breaks up the project into many phases and distributes the workloads across th

agile software development

Over the years, software development methods have also upgraded parallelly with technological advancements. Agile software development methods are one approach in the current software development trends. Agile methodology breaks up the project into many phases and distributes the workloads across the teams. We prioritize continuous improvement at each stage rather than working on changes at the deployment stage altogether. Progress is constantly updated with the team members during the daily scrum meetings. The examples of agile-based development methods are Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP), Feature Driven Development (FDD), Adaptive Software Development (ADD), Crystal, Dynamic Systems Development (DSD), Lean Software Development, etc. The methods are selected according to the type of product/service to be developed. All these agile methods follow a set of dedicated principles. In this blog, we will focus on five crucial principles of agile methodology.

  1. Be open to challenges and changes

The agile methodology focuses on being highly responsive to changes at all phases of software development. Our teams must be aware of what is going on in the project at any development phase. The agile method splits the tasks and deliverables into iterations to achieve this high degree of clarity. The iterations must be completed in shorter time frames, usually from a week to four. Ensure that the time frames align with the overall time allocated to the project.

JIRA is a tool that helps us improve our code by enabling the creation of quick filters. JIRA gives a clear insight into the agile processes via reporting functionalities and custom workflows. We can build, test, and release software using this tool.

2. Embrace user inputs

Since agile software development methods adopt a communicative and responsive approach, the customers are on priority. Feedback from the customers should be gathered frequently after each iteration, based on which we can improve the product. Thinking from the user’s perspective instead of pre-assuming things helps us develop better products. A new function suggested by one of your customers may turn into a breakthrough for your company’s products!

Sprints by Zoho is a tool that helps in this process. It enables the team to comment on the code changes easily. We can also gather product feedback using this tool and work on the changes in the early stages of development.

3. Facilitate live interaction with actionable software for better visualization and feedback

We need to create working and actionable software, instead of theoretical representations. Documentation does play a part in software development, but it is for the records only. If you want to gain insights from your customers and stakeholders, create small working pieces of a product. We may question this aspect, stating that documentation is necessary to support our claims and give surety to the clients. Well, to justify the implementation of the ideas which you have proposed in the documentation, there is no better method than to provide actionable products! When a user comes into live contact with the software, their understanding and perception change. It gives room for improvement and ensures that we are on the same page with our clients. For example, you state that you have used JavaScript to trigger a warning on the web page when users enter a weak password while registering. When this feature is displayed in the prototype, it helps the client visualize it and supports our claims. Keep in mind that your documentation should be short and precise. Mention only the things you have implemented in your outputs, instead of futuristic proposals. We can use tools like AdobeXd, InVision, Webflow, Framer, etc. to create prototypes before we move on to the backend coding.

4. Effective communication to step up software development

Inculcating effective communication practices amongst your team members may benefit your project more than adopting a high-end technology stack. Agile software development methods keep the team members engaged through principles like daily scrum meetings and pair programming.

Daily scrum calls are used to update the project status from each team member’s side. It helps us devise solutions for problems that the team members might be facing. For example, if the tester has not received the deployable code from the development teams, the testing process gets lagged. It is a high priority task for the testing team than the development team, so plans must be made to compensate for the same. The team can get in touch with each other and negotiate, to come up with effective solutions. Risks can be managed better if the communication between the team is on point. We can assist a team member who might be on the wrong track!

Pair programming is a technique where two programmers work together at one workstation, either remotely or in person. While one person takes up the driver role, the other can be the observer/navigator. The driver writes the code, whereas the observer checks each line of code as it is typed in. The programmers must switch roles frequently to ensure equality of workloads.

Project communication tools like Teams, Slack, Trello, etc. can help in communication between the teams or within the team. Features like channel creation, tasks assignment, messaging, meeting tools boost the collaborative experience for the Agile teams.

5. Quality over quantity

While we are engrossed with meeting the deadlines, we may miss the focus on qualitative aspects of the project during the development cycle. We can provide parts of the software that meet the industrial standards for security and stability. The software can be updated and improvised further. For example, if your login system onboards the user in 2 minutes, try to reduce the time by working on the server’s latency. Remember to keep realistic quality goals and standards so that you don’t waste time in high-pressure situations to achieve something out of your reach.

Performance testing tools like Selenium, Soap UI, Apache JMeter help to evaluate our work against test cases, to ensure that the quality standards are met.

The above agile principles are tailored according to the specific methodologies we choose, the type of projects, and business requirements. We can further improvise our agile software development methods by incorporating DevOps practices.