Blog  

Debunking 8 Myths about Agile Development

In the world of software development, Agile has emerged as a popular choice for many. Whether it is Scrum or Kanban, Agile development allows designers to work much faster and more efficiently to meet their goals.

However, as with any trend, there are quite a few myths about exactly what Agile development is and what it does. In the interest of debunking these myths, we are going to take a look at them and see where the misconceptions lie.

Myth #1: Agile development is designed for speed, to turn out applications as quickly as possible.

shutterstock_629592812

While Agile was designed to be lean and work quickly, quality always comes first. The main goal of Agile development is to create an application or product that meets the needs of customers. By working in small iterations (or sprints), Agile ensures that every step is thought out, reviewed, and tested.

Agile can lead to the outcome being almost completely unpredictable. Along the way in the Agile development process you might discover a new path to follow that makes more sense for the needs of your customers, bringing you to an unforeseen end product. Do not let your preconceived notions dictate your final product. Let Agile work for you.

Myth #2: Agile means “no planning.”

On the contrary, detailed planning is essential to the effectiveness of Agile. Not only that, but planning is done on a daily basis. This is to ensure that each member of the development team is working as efficiently as they can on their part of the project.

Save time for your team when working with Agile by making sure that your backlog is properly groomed. By being able to refer back the backlog at each stage of the planning process, you can avoid redundancies and wasted time.

Myth #3: With Agile, there won’t be any project documentation.

shutterstock_577216459

One of the best things about Agile is that roles are clearly defined and developers with similar skills can be swapped in and out as needed. What this means however, is that documentation is key to not falling behind. With members of the team leaving in the midst of a project, all would be lost without the proper documentation.

The reason this myth persists is that unlike other projects where there is one large, overarching document, Agile works in smaller increments and creates user stories to lead the process. While project documentation might not be all in one place, it is still done and vital to the success of development.

Myth #4: Everyone has to be in the same place for Agile to work.

While Agile emphasizes heavy involvement from every member of the development team, this does not mean that everyone needs to be in the same physical location. Especially now with teleconferencing technology and screen-sharing tools, Agile development can work for teams that all are in the same office or scattered across the globe.

As long as you stick to your deadlines, conduct your daily stand-up meetings, and meet project goals, you should have no problem implementing Agile across offices.

Myth #5: Agile only involves developers.

shutterstock_626435660

While developers are often the most involved in the Agile development process, adoption from top-down is required for it to be truly successful. Without the full support of management and other stakeholders in the project, Agile development projects can end up scattered and disorganized.

It will be the job of the developers to show the rest of the organization the value of this method. And the rest of the company must put in the effort required for goals to be met.

Myth #6: Agile = Scrum

shutterstock_622365314

Scrum is a popular framework through which Agile development takes place, however it is not the same as Agile itself. Agile has many different programs and hybrids that are similar to Scrum with varying features and benefits. While Scrum has been the popular choice for many, there are still plenty of other ways to do Agile development to consider.

Types of Agile Development

  •      Extreme Programming (XP): XP is based on four simple values: simplicity, communication, feedback, and courage and the team works very closely with the customer.
  •      Crystal: Crystal is lightweight and promotes early, frequent delivery of working software, high user involvement, adaptability, and the removal of bureaucracy or distractions.
  •      Lean: Lean methodology eliminates waste through such practices as selecting only the truly valuable features for a system, prioritizing those selected, and delivering them in small batches.
  •      Kanban: Kanban promotes continuous collaboration and encourages active, ongoing learning and improving by defining the best possible team workflow.
  •      Feature-Driven Development (FDD): FDD is a model-driven, short-iteration process that focuses on features and operates under the “design by feature, build by feature” mentality.
  •      Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM): DSDM is based on nine key principles that primarily revolve around business needs/value, active user involvement, empowered teams, frequent delivery, integrated testing, and stakeholder collaboration.

DSDM relies heavily on the MoSCoW system, but the thought behind MoSCoW should be applied to all Agile projects. MoSCoW stands for:

  •      M – Must have requirements
  •      S – Should have if at all possible
  •      C – Could have but not critical
  •      W – Won‘t have this time, but potentially later

Use MoSCoW to prioritize your backlog and improve efficiency in your projects.

Myth #7: Agile is just a fad

It may seem like Agile is just a fad or trend that will quickly blow away in the breeze, but this may be tied to another misconception about Agile: that it is new. In fact, the Agile Manifesto was originally published in 2001 and the Scrum pattern language was originally introduced in 1995. Other methods date back all the way to 1976!

While the system itself isn’t new, many of the improvements to the system have come in recent years. By taking advantage of a system that has already had almost 2 decades of testing applied to it before you ever pick it up, you have a massive advantage over others who don’t use it or even started using it a few years ago.

If you haven’t already implemented Agile development in your own organization, the time to do so is now.

Myth #8: Agile is the end all, be all for software development.

Like any system, Agile does have its faults and shortcomings. Just because your organization implements Agile development does not mean that all of your problems will be solved. There is no silver bullet for success – even for software development.

But, all that being said, Agile is a force to be reckoned with when done correctly. The way to find success in all of these different development methods is to incorporate them together, using the strengths of one framework to counteract the weaknesses of another.

By being pragmatic with your use of these solutions, your company or organization will be that much more efficient and capable. You must recognize the real-world environment in which a system will be implemented and used, and consider the best integration of agile and non-agile frameworks that will work in that real-world environment. If you can implement this while following our best practices, you will get as close to that silver bullet as you can.

Contact Snyxius