Agile - Scrum

Agile Model & Methodology

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Welcome to Agile

Anyone familiar with IT programming methodology and its history knows that Agile marks an evolutionary approach to the software development process. It is worthwhile to learn a little bit more about the Agile model and methodology to understand why IT projects rely so heavily on it today.

Earlier, an IT project was approached with a long-term plan in mind, but over the years this style of working has seen many setbacks. Agile moves from this philosophy and breaks down the entire software design process into small manageable components. Inter-departmental teamwork, direct collaboration with the stakeholders and end-users, short periods to complete smaller breakdown of the project or time-boxes, and high levels of flexibility are the four pillars of the Agile model. To ensure continuous development, the Agile model employs what is known as a sprint, which is a two-to-four-week iteration of a time-box. It encourages the individual teams to create milestones during the development process whereby a particular pre-defined work component is managed, completed, reviewed and perfected.

Sometimes people ask about how Agile is related to SDLC. Remember that SDLC or software development life-cycle is the process and the Agile is one of the methodologies to work it. In other words, the Agile SDLC methodology can be defined as the collaboration between multiple teams for developing the software using iterative and incremental method. In the process, the teams work through several disciplines in software development

· The most basic phase is the requirement gathering stage

· Next comes the software design, engineering and construction phases which span the actual development part

· Quality assurance is the catchword that all IT projects swear by. So, the logical phase that comes after software development is multi-level testing, and in case of issues found, then debugging

· Once the entire process is declared satisfactory after taking inputs from the stakeholders at each possible step, the software can be finally deployed.

A frequently asked question regarding the Agile model is how it compares with other methodologies such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, Waterfall, or Six Sigma. First thing to keep in mind that neither Scrum or Kanban are distinct methodologies, and are nothing but variations of approach within the Agile framework. Let us take a brief look at each methodology to understand them in context with the Agile model.

· Scrum is an implementation method of the Agile model where requirements change too rapidly for easy process management.

· Kanban is preferred when an Agile software development has an easy workflow with an effect on increased efficiency through process improvement.

· The Lean method is distinctly different from Agile in terms of focus area, as Lean is more about optimized production in contrast to Agile’s optimization of development process.

· Waterfall methodology has grown less popular in recent times as its structured framework does not allow the flexibility and freedom of the Agile model.

· Six Sigma is similar to Agile, especially Kanban as it also emphasizes on process improvement, however, its difference lies in its approach, as it is more concerned with addressing defects.

To sum up, the reason why the Agile model is the winning methodology used in a wide range of IT projects today comes down to the basics. The workload distribution through teamwork and sprint process boosts the morale of the participants and stakeholders and translates into higher productivity. The hallmark of quality assurance along with a cost-efficient model ultimately propels Agile to the top of the list of methodologies to adopt in an IT project.

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