There was a time when a single developer or maybe a group of developers hurdled together and built software. The most they had was maybe a whiteboard or a few notepads for managing their workflow. Then software started getting larger and complex, dedicated designers and testers came in, and this created a need for formal project management models. That’s where agile model steps in.
What is agile?
To understand agile, we would first need to understand what is not agile. Generally, software is developed in vertical flow, often referred to as the Waterfall model. Here, the project starts with the client explaining their requirements to analysts, who in turn explain it to the designers and developers. Upon development, it is tested and deployed. As you might have noticed, there is one critical flaw in this model- once the project reaches or completes the development phase, adding any new requirements would incur huge costs and effort overlaps. Or to put it simply, this model is not flexible.
Agile was envisioned to solve this very problem. What it does it basically does is that it breaks down the project into shorter sprints and involves all the stakeholders for horizontal progress. If that sounds confusing, let’s try point out its difference with Waterfall for more clarity.
In the Waterfall model, Client is involved only in the first phase- while dictating terms and requirements. After that, they are delivered to the final product. If they want ant changes, the same process has to be repeated.
In an Agile model, Client continues to be a part of the development procedure. For instance, when the design is complete, the client is roped in for approval and recommendations. This means if there is any problem in the design stage; it never gets carried to the development stage.
In the current competitive and dynamic market, businesses need to be ever-evolving and because the development can take from a few weeks to a few months, there are ought to be new requirements added. In the Waterfall model, change requests can be added only after the product has reached the deployment stage- which highly inefficient.
Since Agile works in short sprints, any change requests can be incorporated quickly. That is, if a module is in the development phase and the client needs to make some changes, they are included before the next modules go into development.
There are also many other benefits are communication and flexibility but these two are pillars of agile method. So why are businesses hesitant to adopt it? Let’s try and answer to their doubts:
It is a big misconception that Waterfall models are suited for businesses with a fixed budget as agile tends to stretch the budget. That’s both true and false. Yes, Waterfall delivers product in the fixed budget but so can agile. The agile method often stretches the budget not because of its inherent flaws but because of the consistent change requests by clients. So if you factor in the costs of revisions and updates in Waterfall, agile would definitely turn out to be more cost-effective.
Short vs. long term
Another common misconception is that Waterfall is suited for long-term projects while Agile serves well only for short-term projects. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. In fact, the opposite is true! The fact that agile breaks down the project into short sprints makes it more capable of handling large complicated projects which tend to have many modifications. And as discussed above, Waterfall doesn’t handle modifications well.
The fact that top app development firms have already moved on to the Agile model is in itself a testimony to its efficiency. If you are still confused, we suggest you have a long discussion with your project manager to filter out your key objects and then measure them against the benchmarks we have discussed.