Nearly every software development company today now follows the agile methodology. Agile software development allows for faster paced development that, hopefully, adheres more closely with product outlines and desired outcomes. Both highly structured and highly adaptive, agile development is designed to follow about a dozen core principles. Here are those principles and what they mean for a software developer.
- Prioritize the customer. Agile software development should result in the desired product as quickly as possible and should keep the customer involved throughout the process.
- Welcome change. Previous software development methodologies were very resistant to change, requiring that the product be developed to the exact specifications offered at the outset. Agile development understands that products can change vastly from the beginning to the end of the software development cycle. Though every change must be carefully considered, they should also be welcomed.
- Deliver. In an agile development structure, software is delivered in frequent intervals rather than in large batches. These small, frequent changes mean that the customer is able to get working software faster, and that each change can be thoroughly reviewed.
- Work as a team. Both developers and those involved on the business side must be able to communicate and collaborate effectively. Both of them need each other to produce software that satisfies the client.
- Motivate employees. Motivated individuals are more likely to produce work quickly and competently. A well-motivated and satisfied employee is at the core of the agile development system.
- Meet face-to-face. Face-to-face meetings, as opposed to email and instant messaging, are valued in the agile development method. Face-to-face meetings are often faster, more direct, and remove many potential misunderstandings.
- Measure progress. In agile development, the best measure of progress is working software. This supersedes other types of metrics such as milestone. If the software works, then the job has been completed.
- Work consistently. Rather than working in fits and starts, the agile method encourages developers, designers, and other involved individuals to work at a pace that they can maintain consistently. This reduces unexpected delays and helps the team work better together.
- Be attentive. It’s important that throughout the development cycle, all developers remain attentive to the design and technical function of their software. In order to remain agile, the product needs to be polished and professional throughout.
- Keep it simple. Simplicity is another core mechanic that allows for agile developers to pivot quickly. Emphasis should be not only on getting things done, but also on getting them done the simplest possible way.
- Self-organize. Self-organizing teams are the most effective type of team, in terms of both development and design. Again, having the right people in the right positions is incredibly important for this type of development.
- Self-check. Finally, agile development require that teams regularly reflect upon their own performance and identify any ways in which they can improve upon or optimize their current processes.
Though these are generally accepted core principles, they are not without their variants and modifications. Some will pare them down to eight or ten, others will add principles that are relevant to their business. But, at its heart, agile is about the above: working very closely with all involved team members to develop a product that adheres as closely to standards as possible. If you are a software developer who is interested in growing as an agile developer, Software Specialists maintains a complete list of job listings throughout the IT industry. Review the job listings at Software Specialists to find a position that’s right for you.