8 Big Business Benefits of Agile Software Development
There are many different ways of developing software, but here at DCSL GuideSmiths, we tend to favour the agile methodology. Here, we look at the biggest benefits of that approach.
However, first, it’s important to ask…
What is the Agile methodology?
Agile is a type of project management that breaks up the project into different phases, called sprints – short periods of time where the entire team must finish a defined set of tasks. Used primarily in software development, it empowers Agile teams and stakeholders to work together to achieve smaller goals, then evaluate at the end of each sprint to capture the learnings for future sprints and future Agile projects.
Benefits of using the Agile Methodology
1. Gets software to market quicker
Traditional software development methods (notably Waterfall) are set up to deliver the finished product at the end of the project. Only then can it be released into the market. The first significant benefit of using the Agile methodology is that you can release software in waves, with an initial version being built upon by patches down the line.
This is because of the ‘sprint’ approach mentioned above. Agile sprints are a massive point of difference for Agile, and set the foundation for many of the other benefits you’ll find in this list.
2. Results in quicker ROI
Because software can get to market quicker with Agile, the software company – or client, if you’re producing software for someone else – can start earning money on it far sooner than with traditional software development. There are specific concerns to consider here, of course. If you release a less fully-featured piece of software that earns a bad reputation, it could actually hurt its success in the long run. Nonetheless, companies that need to see returns sooner due to pressing financial matters can undoubtedly benefit the most from Agile innovations.
3. Allows dev teams to adapt when the brief changes
In the Waterfall method, you collect the project’s goals at the beginning and work towards those as the single point of truth throughout the project. This can prove relatively rigid, and if a company’s priorities change or new market forces develop, responding and working in changes to the project can be incredibly difficult. Agile is the answer to this – with the iterative sprint approach allowing for new features to be woven into the overall roadmap. As a client, that can be one of the significant benefits of working with an Agile team; they’ll respond to what matters to you, and adapt on the fly when you need the brief to change.
4. More efficient
The same thing that makes Agile more adaptable also makes it more efficient. At the end of each sprint, the team will hold a meeting to look back over what went well, what didn’t, and to look ahead at the next phase of the project. If there are inefficiencies in the process, they’ll be captured at the end of each sprint, allowing the team to improve in their future work.
5. Better communication across the board
Another benefit of working with an Agile team is that everyone needs to work as a team. There’s no room for lone wolves working in a silo. Instead, the entire group communicates regularly and in an organised fashion to understand how their work affects the others in the team, and the project as a whole. Additionally, the software team’s leaders will communicate more readily with the client than in other development approaches, allowing you to contribute ideas more frequently, which means you’ll always feel a part of the creative process.
6. Superior project planning and management
Planning a project means getting a solid overview of the entire endeavour end-to-end and using guidelines and experience, not a little guesswork, to scope out the potential key dates. It takes a bird’s eye view of the project and then needs to shift if the details necessitate it as the team gets to them.
With Agile, the planning team can focus on the content of each sprint, which allows them to drill down into much more detail and gives them a greater idea of the scope before the project even gets underway.
Then as an Agile project progresses, they’ll use different metrics to the Waterfall method to help give them an idea of ongoing successes and failures. From time taken to finish tasks, to the time needed for future ones, how much backlog there is and how much work is still left to go, Agile metrics give the team a genuinely tangible sense of whether the project is on track, behind, or ahead of schedule.
7. It leads to a better product
Another significant benefit of using the Agile methodology is that it allows the team to focus on testing as they move through the project. That offers a huge advantage over traditional software development, where bug testing and iterating occur at the end, and can throw up issues that can considerably push a release date back. It generally leads to a more stable and higher quality product, where problems are caught early and creative ideas are allowed to influence proceedings, leading to a greater degree of innovation even within a project that’s more likely to meet its deadlines.
8. And also to happier clients
Our eighth big business benefit of Agile software development is the total of all of the other points before it. Because Agile lets clients feel more involved, have more say, get to market faster and start seeing a return on investment sooner from a more compelling product, they tend to feel more pleased with every stage of the process and each usable software release. Not only that, but because Agile projects are iterative, the end-users also often get a chance to feedback and feel like they’re being listened to. Wherever you are in the process, working Agile typically means working happier.
Do you need an Agile team to work on your next software project?
At DCSL GuideSmiths, we work in dedicated Agile teams, designed to offer you maximum flexibility at every stage of our development process. We’re incredibly experienced at delivering game-changing software and a smooth and highly professional development experience that our clients have come to love us for – as the client feedback in our many case studies will attest to.