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What is Agile Software Development?

Agile software development is a term for iterative software development methodologies where solutions and requirements keep evolving.

Agile software development is a means of designing and building software that relies on teams, iterative testing, and ongoing discussion surrounding the development of the software. It shares similarities with agile app development, as well as other initiatives that utilize one of the many prominent agile methodologies.

How Does Agile Software Development Differ from Other Methods?

There are several different software development methodologies, but the two most common are agile software development and the waterfall method. While both of these methods result in the creation of usable software, they are very different.

Agile – Agile software development works as the name would imply. It’s agile. The process is designed so that change requests at any point in development, even during the final stages, do not result in dramatic holdups. Iterative testing as each module is designed and completed also reduces the testing phase of the project.

Waterfall – The waterfall method of development is a step by step process that moves from needs analysis to design, to building to testing to deployment to maintenance in defined stages. While this method can be used to create software, it often results in delays, particularly if change requests are made late in the process, or if numerous bugs or flaws are discovered during final testing.

What Is the Agile Software Development Cycle?

Agile software development follows a very different cycle than traditional software development. In this process, the steps are meet, plan, design, develop, test, and evaluate. Then, the cycle repeats as often as possible. The entire process is built on this cycle, and it can be found within each step, as well. For instance, team members responsible for each part of the design will meet together, and the entire team will meet, as well.

One of the most important considerations with the agile software development method is that all the stakeholders with an interest in the project are included. This ensures that everyone is in agreement on features and functionality, removes guesswork and ambiguity, and allows for changes to be made very quickly when hurdles or insurmountable challenges are encountered.

Does Agile Software Development Offer Advantages?

In a word, yes, agile software development delivers quite a few important advantages. One of the most important of these is the fact that everyone on the project works in conjunction with one another. In comparison, developers following the waterfall method are usually segmented, or walled off from one another. There is usually little or no communication between teams working on different areas of development. The results, as you can imagine, are sometimes catastrophic. By fostering open communication and ongoing dialog between everyone involved in the project, agile ensures fewer errors, faster completion time, less need for bug-related maintenance, and other benefits.

With that being said, there are some downsides to agile software development. Perhaps the most important to understand is that there is no single agile software development methodology. There is a base concept, but it has been modified by countless organizations.