Agile Software Development s 4 Values
Agile Software Development’s 4 Values
The Agile Manifesto recognizes four basic values of this method: * Individuals and interactions over processes and tools * Working software over comprehensive documentation * Customer collaboration over contract negotiation * Responding to change over following a planThe first point stresses the importance of effective internal discussion aswell as the creation of so-called user stories that are agile project’s “to-dolist”.Secondly, it’s remarkable how easy it is to lose out of sight thatdocumentation is needed to create software, not vice versa!Contracts often set a psychological barrier and make two parties stiff andrigid in their requirements on one side and sense of obligation and boundariesof work on another.Collaboration with a client can lead to a better understanding of their needsand make work more effective.Finally, responding to change means analyzing, coding and testing on the go,making development continual and outlining flexible. As Agile in a Nutshellwebsite proclaims, “roles blur, scope can vary and requirements can (and will)change.”Sizing the stories from the first step, setting priorities, executing andupdating the plan in the process are all ways of responding positively to achange.Unlike traditional, agile software is a consequence of developers’ self-management
Agile Software Development Philosophy and Methodology
When Alaistair Cockburn – one of the signatories of Agile Manifesto – rejectedthe very premise of “people as resources”, it helped set the cornerstone ofagile software development philosophy and methodology: * Treating complex systems, not people, as non-linear and non-deterministic * Adaptive methods instead of predictive * Reducing the “leap-of-faith” * Just the “right amount” of documentationAs another forefather of Agile Manifesto Martin Fowler writes, the agilemethodology developed as a reaction to engineering methodologies that he deems“bureaucratic”.According to him, planning out big chunks of software process in amazingdetail is all good – until change kicks in.That’s where engineering methods start resisting and fail while agile“welcomes change”, even thrives on it!Being people-oriented instead of process-oriented is another of agile’sphilosophical views. “Agile methods assert that no process will ever make upthe skill of the development team, so the role of a process is to support thedevelopment team in their work.”, writes Fowler.An example of Agile process’ sprint workflowIn describing a difference between predictive vs adaptive notions, heunderlines the separation of design and construction (the former is difficultto predict and needs costly and creative individuals and latter moreconvenient to predict).And while Fowler argues that predictability isn’t impossible, he’s certainlyaware of requirements unpredictability and the way to control them is through– iterations.Since agile software development is method tailoring, it’s distinguishingcharacteristic if situation-appropriateness.Time frames known as iterations involve teams working on all functions, at theend of which progress is reviewed (with the customer). After this, ROI is re-evaluated and optimized.Scrum, one of the agile process workflows, has some of the shortest iterationslasting only two weeks. This means that teams are in the constant process ofplans adaptation. For the betterment of this workflow, stories (descriptionsthat define requirements) are added to iterations.In close relation to agile software development methods are softwaredevelopment life cycles: practices such as pragmatic programming or workflowssuch as the aforementioned Scrum or Kanban).Other practices include: * Cross-functional teams * Behavior-driven development * Continuous integration * Iterative and incremental development * Pair programming * Planning poker * Refactoring * Story-driven modeling * Timeboxing * User story etc.
What is an Agile Development Team?
The main component of any agile process is the development team. TheScrumMaster’s role is crucial in ensuring that the development team sticks toagile dictates and principles during each stage of the development process.A ScrumMaster’s role is reduced as the agile development team becomes more andmore efficient and effective in completing their daily tasks. A well-traineddevelopment team is vital as it is the prime responsibility of the developmentteam to turn the product owner’s vision into a tangible outcome.In scrum projects, the development team consists of individuals who areeffectively stakeholders that are responsible for delivering the product ontime and on budget. A scrum team is a cross-functional collaboration of skillsets, which includes front-end and back-end developers, designers, andtesters.To understand the basic nuances of an agile development team, read “How toBuild an Agile Team for Your Software Development Project?”
Are you ready to build an Agile Development Team?
Is there a winning recipe for a perfect agile development team? Although agileteams share common values, principles, and methodologies, there is no commonformula for all developers, and their circumstances are different. While someagile practitioners prefer co-located teams, there are instances where asingle agile team is spread across the entire globe.Similarly, there are also differences in the methodologies they adopt. Someagile team members prefer Scrum, while others might prefer Kanban. I havealready written about “How to Build a Scrum Development Team?”, and you canrefer to that if you are specifically interested in the Scrum approach.A solid team with the right mindset, training, and management, etc. approachis the core foundation of an agile development team. “Once the team is inplace, it’s important to remember that agile teams are like flowers: they taketime to grow. Agile theorists often quote Tuckman’s “stages of groupdevelopment.” Read “How to build a kickass agile team?” to learn more aboutthe different phases of team development.To summarize, there are four crucial stages of development for agile teams: * Forming: Chaos is a big factor in this phase and so teams need lots of mentoring and guidance from managers to clearly define job roles and responsibilities etc. * Storming: There is a better understanding in this phase about team roles/communication channels etc, but regardless, it is still a very fragile stage. Team members still don’t have enough trust in each other and methodologies still need to be taught so that they become second nature to each member of the team. * Normalizing: This, in my opinion, is the most important phase. By now, relationships have stabilized and team members understand more about their role within the team. Agile development team responsibilities, team goals, and objectives all become sacrosanct as the team begins to work in an optimized way. * Performing: There is no ambiguity remaining by this stage in regards to the agile development team’s roles and responsibilities. By now, all agile development teams are well versed with their individual roles and that of the team, so are performing well with minimal supervision.Psychologist Bruce Tuckman had come with this model. Read more about this in“Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing”.
Attributes of Successful Agile Development Teams
Are agile tools and methodologies enough to build a successful agiledevelopment team? An agile team without proper direction and guidance willfall fail. So, it is the responsibility of each development team member, aswell as the team manager, to nurture a healthy mindset and approach. Apositive mindset when guided with ab agile framework will create world-classproducts.
Agile process concepts
In general, most agile software development methodologies are based on thefollowing concepts: * Backlog, where the tasks to be performed are listed. * Planning, where priority is given to the tasks and the people responsible for them are assigned. * Cards, where the tasks and their progress can be followed up. * Construction (1 to 3 weeks, with daily “Dailies” meetings), where the tasks are actually carried out. * Product delivery, when it is evaluated if the product is finished for the client, or a new cycle must be restarted. * Review meeting, where lessons are drawn for the next project.We will then map out how these concepts are applied in building agileprocesses.
Basically, agile is a methodology and there are different implementationsfollowing this methodology. Following are some of the most widely used agileimplementations- * Scrum – Scrum is one of the most popular implementations of agile where different roles like – product owner, scrum master and team members are assigned to different participants of software development. Daily scrum meeting is organized for the updates and a build is delivered in a two to three-week cycle called a sprint. * Extreme Programming (XP) – Extreme programming is an agile implementation in which frequent customer feedback and changes are incorporated with a focus on quality software. The quality of the software is maintained by following the coding practices like pair programming(code reviews, unit testing, etc.) to the extreme level. Hence, the name extreme programming. * Kanban – Kanban is a development approach in which the tasks are organized in a Kanban board, wherein we can track the progress of the work, helping in decision making. * Crystal Clear – Crystal clear development like other agile methodologies focuses on frequent delivery and feedback. It is a lightweight approach based on the fact that customization of processes and practices is required to meet the project-specific requirements. * Lean Software Development – Lean software development methodology is based on seven lean principles – eliminate waste(like any code not adding value), amplify learning, decide late, deliver fast, empower team, build integrity and See the Whole(see the product as a whole).
The Agile Process
The Agile process can be broken down into seven steps. The final four stepsare in fact a cycle, which will be repeated and only end when the project isdeemed finished.The first step is to identify the project vision. This step is typicallyperformed by the project owner and it defines what the project is, how it willsupport the overall business strategy, who will benefit from the project andhow that will happen.The second step consists of building a project roadmap. Also part of theproject owner’s duties, this stage is required for the methodology to work.Project requirements should be set, along with a timeframe. Prioritizing is acritical part of this step. However, all of this should be considered a roughestimate, as part of the Agile method is to adapt to the customer’s response.The third step is to create a release plan. The release plan consists of atimeframe for sprints. Sprints are iterative release of the product/servicebuilt by the team in order to get feedback from customers. The release planshould set the pace on how often these iteration are released to customers forfeedback.The fourth step is to plan and execute each sprint. In each sprintrequirements are prioritized according to the feedback and the originalroadmap.The fifth step is to hold daily meetings. These meetings should last around 15minutes and include the whole the project team discussing what was done theprevious day and what will be done that day. It also gives the opportunity forteam members to discuss roadblocks and other problems.The sixth step is to hold sprint reviews. These occur at the end of eachsprint and consist of releasing the new version of the product/service tostakeholders for feedback.The seventh step is to hold a retrospective sprint. This meeting discusses theprevious sprint, and pinpoints what went well and what went wrong to improveon the next sprint.
Some of the agile testing process in SDLC:
* The agile in software development services involves lots of specifications and requirements not all of them are implemented some of them are revised and changed. * In case, in the changing requirements, the developers find bug issues. Thus agile methodology implies the iterative approach to software product development. This will help the developers to analyze the work with requirements that are defined for exact iteration. * The agile scrum testing methodologies in SDLC (software development life cycle) is a combination of incremental and iterative process models with which focus on adaptability and customer satisfaction. * The agile method breaks the products into smaller pieces in which the team is involved in working simultaneously on different areas such as planning, designing, requirement analysis, coding, development and user acceptance testing. * The agile model accepts that every project needs to be handled differently and in existing methods. The process tasks are split to small time frames to deliver the specific features for a release. * The software development model in agile methodology involves requirement analysis and planning done in the beginning life cycle. * The agile use adaptive approach where there is no detailed planning and clarity for developing features. * The software product in agile is tested very frequently, through the release iterations by reducing the risk of major failures that arise in future.
Advantages of agile testing methodology:
* The agile model has a very realistic approach in the development of a software product and gives flexibility to the developers. * The agile method promotes team working and cross-training as resource requirements in minimum. It is well suitable for fixed or changing requirements as it delivers the early partial working solutions. * The agile methodology concurrent the development and delivery within an overall planned context. * The Agile model has minimal rules, no planning required as documentation is easily employed and very easy to manage. * The agile method has better risk management, best productivity profile, simplifying the management process overload and builds the project incrementally using a solid foundation. * The agile model is an open communication where the agile team works in close collaboration with each other and most of them are located in the same geographical location.
3. Lean Software Development:
It is an iterative type of agile methodology and is a way of optimizingpeople, resources, effort, and energy of an organization with a basic aim ofcreating value to the customer. It is based on the principles of continuousimprovement, eliminate waste, build quality in, create knowledge, defercommitment, deliver fast, respect people, and optimize the whole basicprinciples.In this Lean software methodology, along with all its underlined principles,every business represents a value stream. This value stream consists ofactivities required to design, develop and deliver a product or a service tothe customer. By using this lean methodology, optimizing development time andresources is achieved. This methodology ensures delivering only what thecustomer needs.
The Agile workflow process
Here’s a breakdown of what an Agile workflow looks like.Note: As Agile software development methods are the most popular forms ofAgile, we’ll be focusing on the software development workflow process.However, the workflow process largely remains the same – regardless of thekind of project you’re working on.