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A Note on Agile Methodology

In the modern IT world, most of the well-known IT companies like IBM, Microsoft and AT&T use the AGILE process. Without doubt all must heard the term “AGILE” in the IT sector.

What is AGILE?

Agile is the iterative and time boxed approach to develop a high quality software, which builds the software incrementally from the beginning. It breaks down the project into the user functionality, said to be as “User stories”. It consists of the continuous production and deployment of the working software in the iterations of two to three weeks time period. So it moves on with each iteration, until all the iterations completed to build the final software (that contains all the features updated in each iteration), that satisfies the customer requirements. Each and every step of development is monitored continuously. It consists of self-organizing cross-functional teams with good collaborative and face to face interaction to share the ideas and updates of the project to improve the quality and efficiency of the project.

Agile uses the adaptive approach for development of softwares. In a feature-driven development, the team needs to adapt to the changing product requirements dynamically. It helps in the rapidly changing environment, like the new features can be added as quickly as possible.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a framework in the Agile methodology, to manage the project in an efficient and quick way. Basically, the Scrum consists of highly collaborative self-organizing cross-functional team with 

  • Scrum master – who acts as a coach or facilitator for the agile development team
  • Product owners – who represents the business or user community
  • Scrum team – contains the developers and testers

Scrum is achieving the collaboration by making the daily Scrum meets, i.e. the daily standup called Scrum. The scrum meets will be held for roughly 15 minutes, where each team member discusses on the below 

  • What was done yesterday? 
  • What will be done today?  
  • Any issues faced by the team members and the updates that to be delivered in the scrum meeting. 

The development of the product consists of product backlogs, sprint backlogs and the user stories.

 Product backlogs:

Product backlog is said to be a list of entire tasks, like the features and functionalities that has to be done within the system. The software should have a product backlog that contains a very large feature set. Multiple teams will work to give a efficient and high quality software to satisfy the client’s expectations.

User Story:

A user story is the functionality based requirement is shared from the client’s end.

Sprint backlogs:

The Sprint backlog is a subset of product backlog items that are selected for the sprint and planned for delivering the product incrementally. Sprint backlogs are forecasted by the development team to get functionality that should be in the next increment. The sprint backlog is a plan with enough details, the change in progress can be understood in the daily scrum. The development team can modify the sprint backlog throughout the scrum.

Principles of Agile:

  • Satisfying the customer requirements through the early and continuous delivery of valuable and high quality software.
  • Adapting & accepting the changing requirements of the project.
  • Completing the big projects quickly by breaking down it into smaller tasks.
  • Making a daily meet with the project team and business owners for collaboration and sharing ideas.
  • With the preference, the software is delivered continuously at two to three weeks time scale.
  • By measuring the amount of the work completed, required motivation and support can be given to complete the project efficiently on time.
  • The team members stay connected and active through daily face to face interactions and with the tools.
  • Regular and continuous attention on the excellence in the technical and design of the project.
  • The self-organizing cross-functional teams emerges the best architectural, requirements and design of the project.

Merits of AGILE:

  • The product quality is very high.
  • The satisfaction of the customer is tremendous.
  • ROI is faster because of the features that are delivered incrementally.
  • Elimination of project risks.
  • The detection of error, defects and fixing it is faster.
  • The adaptation for the change and it’s response is faster.
  • The deployment of the product is continuous and highly efficient.
  • Share ideas with the team and can implement faster.
  • Get the feedback faster for making the product better.

Demerits of AGILE:

  • The decisions are taken only by the senior programmers during the development process.
  • There is a lack of importance on necessary documentation.
  • Requires an experienced agile coach and it requires an expert to take important decisions on implementations.
  • Agile is not suitable for the projects with the fixed scope, fixed budget and fixed time for which the projects all are pre-defined.
  • If the project manager is not clear in the required outcome, the project would easily jump out of the track.

In Agile, the testing can be performed concurrently with development. It satisfies the customer by the continuous deployment of the high quality software. The scrum is an implementation in agile methodologies that focuses on delivering the high business value.  Leadership plays a vital role in Agile.

-Sudharsan,
Testing Team,
Mallow Technologies.

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