Nowadays everyone wants their software development process to be faster, quicker and more efficient. From stakeholders to nearshore companies, everyone wants to achieve the best results possible, in the shortest amount of time.
Of course, when you think about how intricated the process of developing a software really is, this task suddenly begins to feel way heavier, and soon enough, you’ve spent a good few months developing a software solution.
Luckily for you, however, agile software development exists, and it is the most efficient way to manage your software development projects in order to achieve great results in a short amount of time.
Before we even begin to talk about what Agile software development is, we need to take a look at the definition of the word Agile by itself to truly understand what this method is all about.
Now, Agile simple refers to the sheer ability to create and being able to properly respond to change at any given time in the hopes to succeed in any type of turbulent environment.
When you look at this definition, you can begin to see how it fits the general environment that happens around creating a software solution, and what you can actually do to succeed at it.
Agile software development is basically that, is the ability to develop a software solution under specific requirements, deadlines and specifications through collaborative effort.
To be even more specific, Agile software development is simply a relatively new approach to software development that focuses on working on the specific requirements through collaborative effort, organization and cross-functional teams between the company and the customers or users.
You could think about it as a methodology that holds other different methods, practices and approaches to software development through which software engineers can successfully create and finish any given project.
To sum it up, Agile software development is based on the idea of working alongside the requirements from the stakeholders, advocating for a fast and evolutionary development processes that allows adaptive planning and an constant improvement throughout the whole project.
Believe it or not, the term “Agile Software Development” didn’t come from scratch, it actually has a very interesting background story that and even a whole manifiesto that software engineers still use as a reference nowadays.
To understand the history behind the agile software development term, you need to understand agile isn’t a methodology on its own, but rather a methodology that holds different other approaches and ways to deal with software development.
You see, before the term Agile even was created, software engineers had to resource to very different types of methodologies to be able to develop any software solution at all, something that was extremely commun during the 90’s, a period when several different software development strategies became popular (such as the waterfall methodology, which was the golden standar back in the day)
With some many different approaches gaining popularity, software engineers started to realize most of them were extremely difficult to apply in real life and had too many unnecessary steps involved.
This continued from the early 90’s down to 2001, when a group composed of seventeen different software developers gathered in Utah to discuss the need for lightweight development methods, and how to put an end to the unnecessary steps so many of these methods already had.
It was during that meeting when these software engineers decided to focus on the developing methodologies that focused on real collaboration between the development team and the company or business stakeholders, methodologies that would emphasized directly on organized teams, value of time and effort and early delivery.
And so the term “Agile” was applied to these different software development methodologies, and the manifiesto was created, along with the twelve different principles that create this method.
Since there’s no way to paraphrase the manifiesto itself, we are just going to show it to you just as it was written by these seventeen software engineers back in 2001, enjoy:
We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more. © 2001, the Agile Manifesto authors
This declaration may be freely copied in any form, but only in its entirety through this notice.
As we mentioned before, this methodology wasn’t created from scratch, as a matter of fact, it doesn’t only include a manifiesto (which perfectly embodies what agile development is) but also 12 different principles for software engineers to base their software development processes on.
Again, there’s no way to paraphrase these principles, since they come straight from the manifiesto stated above and should be followed as they were originally written, here they are:
Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.
Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
Working software is the primary measure of progress.
Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential.
The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
If you have been paying attention, you know that agile software development is simply a methodology or approach to software development that embodies other methodologies.
To put it simply, is an umbrella term that holds several different software development methodologies or strategies such as SCRUM, DSDM, FDD, Lean and Crystal.
This gives software developers the freedom to use whichever of these methodologies they find the most useful and apply it to successfully develop a software solution.
Now, as to how to use Agile software development, here in Rootstack we firmly believe in the SCRUM methodology, which is the one we currently use in any of our projects.
The SCRUM methodology is perhaps one of the most popular terms within the Agile software development umbrella and it is based on an iterative, incremental and effective framework that manages both the creation and application of software development.
Unlike other methods, SCRUM is based on the idea of a team working together a single unit in order to reach a goal, and doing so in a flexible strategy that meets the given requirements.
We particularly love this method because is about to make things as efficient and simple as possible. The whole SCRUM methodology is focused on getting rid of unnecessary steps, and embracing simpleness and creativity in order to create the best software solution possible.
Keep in mind, no methodology in the Agile software development umbrella term is “better” than the other one, since they are all hope for one single thing: For software developers to develop the best software solution possible in the shortest amount of time.
So yes, each of these different technologies are great, it is just a matter of which one your nearshore company uses, and which one adapts to their processes the best.