What Is Agile Software Development? (Detailed Guide)

What Is Agile Software Development? (Detailed Guide)

Want to understand Agile software development and the tools you need to implement it?

Agile software development is one of the most efficient ways to streamline work processes and address customer needs.

But what is it and how do you implement it?

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about Agile software development to help you implement it effectively. 

We’ll even highlight the best Agile software for 2020 to help you get started in the easiest possible way!

This Article Contains:

(click on the links to jump to a section)

Let’s get started.

What is the Agile software development methodology?

The most successful innovations are developed in close collaboration with customers. 

That’s what Agile is all about!

Agile software development is a modern project management method that breaks a large project into smaller deliverables and receives customer feedback at each stage. This helps customers actually experience the product at different stages and share their impressions and inputs. The result is a final product that customers truly love!

This method is aimed at:

  • Streamlining work processes
  • Addressing customer feedback frequently
  • Encouraging test-driven development
  • Boosting team collaboration

How does it do this?

Unlike other development methods like the Waterfall model, Agile adopts a sprint-based approach to project management.

In the Agile model, your project is broken into smaller development cycles (sprints) that are distributed to different teams. 

Once each development cycle is finished, it’s presented to the customers (testers) for feedback. You then incorporate the input from your testers before moving onto the next cycle.

Learn more about Agile vs. Waterfall methodology.

How does this help?

By breaking down your project into smaller cycles, you’re increasing the flexibility of your project. You no longer have to incorporate changes to your entire project – you’re just making them to one development cycle!

Additionally, by involving your customers in your software development process, you’re able to create a final product that accurately reflects their needs and wants.

The Agile Manifesto

In order to understand the Agile software development lifecycle better, it’s important to go over the Agile Manifesto.

What’s the Agile Manifesto?

It’s a quick summation of the principles that guide the Agile model. 

Here’s a look at the 12 Agile principles according to the Agile Alliance:

A. Principles Of Agile Customer Satisfaction

  1. Customer satisfaction must always be your top-most priority. The only way to achieve this is through continuous test-driven development.
  2. Always embrace changing requirements – even if they’re towards the end of the development process. These iterative (recurring) changes help you always address a customer’s needs.
  3. Deliver working software and services often. Frequently delivering products to customers is the only way to get continuous feedback.

B. Principles Of Agile Quality

  1. Your primary measure of success is developing working software that accurately satisfies a customer’s wants.
  2. Aim for sustainable test-driven development. Your team must be able to maintain the quality of your iterative and incremental processes throughout the life cycle.
  3. Continuous dedication to technical excellence and good design helps you adapt to customer feedback and satisfy their needs.

C. Principles Of Agile Teamwork

  1. Software developers and project stakeholders must actively collaborate to clearly understand and implement customer feedback.
  2. Always build working software around motivated people and give them the Agile environment they need to get the work done.
  3. Face-to-face conversation, in person, is the most efficient way to collaborate over Agile DevOps.
  4. The best project work comes from self-organizing teams. When teams manage themselves, they can progress quickly.

D. Principles Of Agile Management

  1. Simplicity is a core element of Agile projects. Simplicity can be viewed as cutting down any unnecessary steps and procedures from your Agile development process
  2. Remember to constantly evaluate your team’s progress at regular intervals. This will help you fine-tune every future sprint and process.

What are the different Agile methodologies?

While Agile software development is a common development process by itself, it’s also the base of many other software development methodologies.

Here’s a closer look at some popular methods based on the Agile model:

A. Scrum

Scrum is one of the most popular Agile methodologies.

Scrum teams usually consist of 5-7 experienced software developers that are very experienced and self-sufficient. Led by a Scrum master, they don’t require much supervision and are able to work on complex projects by themselves.

Like most Agile methodologies, Scrum breaks down a product’s life cycle into smaller sprints to incorporate user feedback at levels of the development process.

As Scrum teams are usually very experienced, this software development methodology is best suited to a highly complex project whose life cycle constantly evolves and changes.

 

B. Kanban software development

Kanban software development is one of the most popular visual-first Agile methods.

Most teams use Kanban software development to visualize their project progress and quickly take stock of their deliverables. In the Kanban method, all your tasks are laid out on a Kanban board where you can move them around and quickly make adjustments.

This software development methodology is based on three Agile principles:

  • Always visualize your workflow to easily keep stock of developments
  • Limit the amount of work in progress (WIP) tasks you have to streamline your activities
  • Create an iterative approach focused on testing and developing high-priority tasks first before moving on to your less essential ones

C. Lean software development

Lean software development is another popular Agile-based development methodology.

Lean software development is characterized by minimizing any wasteful, unnecessary activities in your development workflow. 

The goal of Lean development is to simplify and shorten your development cycle while giving your customers the best Lean software possible.

D. Dynamic Systems Development Methodology (DSDM)

DSDM is an Agile framework focused on delivering strategically aligned business benefits for the best possible return on investment.

The development methodology does this by breaking down your project into four types of requirements in decreasing order of priority:

  • Must have (M)
  • Should have (S)
  • Could have (C) 
  • Won’t have (W)

By directing your resources to your high-priority items first, you’re able to get the best value out of your development process.

In addition to the prioritization process, there are eight key Agile principles guiding this methodology:

  • Focus on the core business need
  • Deliver on time
  • Collaborate often
  • Never compromise on quality
  • Build incrementally after setting solid foundations
  • Develop your projects through continuous iterative testing
  • Communicate clearly
  • Demonstrate control over all your processes

E. Extreme Programming (XP)

Extreme programming is one of the most popular software development methods. Its name comes from the method of taking regular software development practices to their extreme limits.

Like other Agile methods, the Extreme programming methodology focuses on:

  • Delivering high-quality products frequently
  • Incorporating customer feedback during all software testing cycles
  • Efficient collaboration with rapid feedback loops

F. Feature Driven Development (FDD)

The FDD Agile movement was started in 1997 as one of the first Agile-based software development methodologies. 

Like other Agile methods, the ultimate goal of FDD is to create a working product that satisfies a customer’s needs. It does this by tackling each feature separately and getting customer feedback on it. 

This software development methodology consists of six key steps:

  • Develop an overall model
  • Build your feature list
  • Plan your features
  • Design your features
  • Deliver your features
  • Get feedback on your features

What are the benefits of Agile development?

Adopting any of these Agile methods can help you in multiple ways. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of the benefits of Agile development:

1. Better customer satisfaction

The best part about Agile DevOps is that it actively involves the customers in the software development process. This way, instead of assuming what they want, you’re actually involving them as design and development testers!

This continuous integration of customer feedback is going to make software testing more efficient and help you deliver a final product that they’re happy with. 

2. More adaptability

As the Agile process breaks down your project into sprints, it’s a very adaptive software development method.

Whenever you need to incorporate customer feedback, you don’t have to redo or edit your entire project; you just have to redo the software testing for one sprint. This incremental development approach makes it far easier to adapt to sudden changes quickly!

3. Better budget and time management

As Agile modeling is so adaptable, it helps software developers make quick decisions on trade-offs between time and budget constraints. This way, you’ll experience faster turnaround times with better cost benefits when developing software!

4. Better teamwork

Agile development methods prioritize active team collaboration, meaning it’s going to facilitate better teamwork. Everyone has an important part to play in Agile programming and has to work together when developing software.

5. Increased motivation

As Agile DevOps focus on smaller, short-term cycles – teams can complete tasks quickly to feel a sense of achievement. This can motivate them to continue working hard while developing software in the future!

The best Agile software for your development activities

While the Agile method can help you streamline your software development process, it’s not enough by itself.

You need the right tool to carry out the methodology!

With the right project management tool, you’ll be able to:

  • Manage sprints
  • Track project progress
  • Collaborate with your team
  • Actively involve clients and stakeholders in your process

Luckily, ClickUp is the perfect project management tool to manage the Agile process!

What’s ClickUp?

clickup agile project management on all devices

ClickUp is one of the world’s highest-rated Agile project management tools. Used by Google, Nike, and Airbnb, it’ll help you monitor your Agile development process and manage your tasks and sprints effectively.

Here’s a closer look at how ClickUp can help you implement Agile practices:

1. Manage different Agile project requirements with multiple views

Agile practices focus on adapting to changes, right?

That’s why your Agile environment needs to reflect this too!

Luckily, that’s exactly what ClickUp offers you.

Instead of using a project management tool that forces you to adapt to it, ClickUp gives you multiple views to adapt to your team!

Here’s a closer look at these views and how they create an Agile environment primed to handle Agile practices:

1) Required Task Views

ClickUp has two required task views to adapt to different project management approaches:

A. Board View

If you’re a fan of the Kanban process, this is the view for you. 

ClickUp’s Kanban board interface helps you move tasks around, view project statuses and quickly keep up with your Agile development process. Just take a quick glance at your Kanban board to determine what stages your projects are in and move them around instantly!

clickup kanban project view

B. List View

This is a good view for people who manage their work with GTD-style to-do lists. Here, your tasks are listed down in a simple checklist that can be checked off as you progress. 

You can also use the list view to quickly keep track of your Sprint lists for varying tasks. As they’re all listed down one after the other, you can tackle each one in order.

agile project list view in clickup

2) Box View

The Box view is the ideal view for any Agile project manager or Scrum master. 

Why?

It gives managers a high-level overview of all the tasks their team is currently working on.

As the sprint’s tasks are sorted by assignee, a project manager can quickly determine what everyone’s working on and make any workload adjustments.

agile project box view in clickup

3) Calendar View

ClickUp’s Calendar view helps a manager during sprint planning cycles. Use it to view all your upcoming tasks to develop an efficient and accurate sprint planning process.

You can even use it to identify when you’ll be able to add things from your product backlog!

calendar view in clickup

For added sprint planning adaptability, a manager can view their calendar as:

  • Days: To view project tasks scheduled on a given date
  • 4-Days: To view scheduled tasks over a rolling four day period
  • Week: To look at your weekly sprint schedule
  • Monthly: To look at your project roadmap for the next month

4) Me Mode

ClickUp’s “Me” mode only highlights comments, subtasks and task lists assigned to you. This will minimize distractions – helping you focus better on your assignments.

2. Track your sprints effectively with sprint lists

ClickUp can add checklists to all your projects, tasks and subtasks. This helps you create sprint lists that break down your project deliverables for a stretch. You can then easily check items off these lists as your team progresses. 

You can even add scrum points to each list to estimate how long it’ll take to knock out the rest of your product backlog.

agile sprints managed in clickup

However, that isn’t all.

As these lists are so easy to understand, Agile coaches can use them to teach new teams to adopt a disciplined Agile framework easily.

Learn how to set up an Agile framework in ClickUp!

3. Get high-level visual overviews of your projects with Agile Dashboards

ClickUp’s Dashboards are perfect for high-level visual overviews of your Agile projects. Add your Sprint lists and tasks to these Dashboards to quickly see how things are progressing.

Here’s a closer look at what you can track:

A. Velocity

ClickUp’s velocity chart helps you quickly determine the completion rate of your tasks. Your tasks are broken down into weekly or bi-weekly intervals and their average velocity is displayed.

Additionally, ClickUp automatically groups your Sprint List data to make it easier to add to each chart. 

agile velocity chart in clickup

B. Burndown Charts

ClickUp’s burndown charts help you visualize how well your team is performing against a target line. It shows you how much work is still left to be done. 

Here’s what ClickUp’s burndown chart highlights:

  • Target progress: The ideal task completion pace needed to meet your deadlines
  • Projected progress: Your current trending rate based on tasks currently completed
  • Active: The actual number of tasks you’ve currently completed

burndown charts for agile teams in clickup

C. Burnup Charts

Burnup charts highlight what has been completed against your remaining scope. 

This helps you take stock of what you’ve accomplished so far to motivate your team to reach your deadlines.

agile burnup charts in clickup

D. Cumulative Flow Charts

ClickUp’s cumulative flow chart helps you visualize and track project progress over time. As tasks are colored based on their status, you can easily track your sprint backlog and product backlog completion.

cumulative flow chart for agile teams

4. Facilitate project communication with comment sections

Each ClickUp task comes with its own dedicated comment section to help your team exchange documents and ideas. For added collaboration, they can even tag people for instant updates to keep the project moving.

task interior in clickup

ClickUp can also integrate with tons of communication tools like Slack and Skype to ensure that efficient communication is always available!

5. Keep your Agile project moving along with assigned comments

Worried that your team is taking too long to take action on your comments?

Slow communication and feedback are some of the easiest ways for software engineering to go off-track.

Luckily, ClickUp has a simple solution to this.

The project management tool lets you instantly convert a comment into a task and assign it to a team member. The team member will be notified of this and it’ll even pop-up in their task tray to help them get started.

Once they’re done with it, they can mark the comment as resolved to eliminate any unnecessary follow-ups.

assigning and resolving comments in clickup

6. Manage varying Agile project stages with custom statuses

All Agile software development projects aren’t the same.

That’s why your project management tool can’t treat them the same either!

Unlike traditional project management tools that give you a standard set of project statuses, ClickUp lets you customize them on a project-by-project basis!

This way, you’re not stuck with a set of statuses that don’t accurately reflect your project stages.

You can get as creative and detailed as you want – “Beta Testing”,Pair Programming”, “Quality Check” – it’s all up to you!

agile kanban board in clickup

However, those aren’t all of ClickUp’s features.

ClickUp also gives you tons of other features to manage your Agile process, such as:

Conclusion

Using Agile software development methods is one of the easiest ways to boost project efficiency and address customer needs better. It’s even easier than hiring a software development company

And since you can’t manage Agile projects without the right Agile tool, why not sign up for ClickUp today? It has everything you need to manage your Agile activities seamlessly!

 

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