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Agile Methodology

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Software plays the key role ever since many decades and the process of designing the software used to happen in a more structured process of gathering the requirements and signing off the requirements before start of planning and design. This traditional process works very well when all the requirements are well defined and structured. However, any change to the requirements and accommodation of additional requirements to the change are a major challenge and carries major risk in budget and timelines of deliverables. Due to this lengthy process, these were termed as Heavy weight methodologies.

As an alternative to the heavy weight methodologies (traditional methodologies), agile methodology was introduced with the main intention of creating a process which can drive a project/solution first to the market with better quality.

Agile Methodology


In order to create a methodology that improves the software execution process, there was a new term Agile Principles coined by “a team of 17 methodologists” (2012, Layton) with main intention to create an Agile Manifesto with more emphasis on “Individuals and interactions over process and tools, working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation and responding to change over following a plan” (2008, Alistair Cockburn) in order to create faster and bug free software products.

The Agile manifesto is mainly based on 12 principles with key emphasis on Customer satisfaction, ability to accommodate and reprioritize the requirements, good team coordination between business users and developers, sustainable and iterative productive releases in short development cycles.

Though we have various methods that fall under Agile methodology umbrella and share common characteristics and practices from the implementation stand point, the terminology and tactics that are followed under these are different.

Some of the methodologies that fall under agile umbrella are

1. Scrum Methodology:

Scrum is one of the light weight methodology which is broadly used in managing and controlling iterative and incremental projects where product owner plays a key role by working closely with the Product team. Product owner role is to identify and prioritize the system functionality in the form of product backlog and all cross functional teams will pick and commit to the agreed deliverables. Once the product backlog is committed no additional functionalities will be accepted and additional requirements (usually enhancements) will be captured for next deliverable.

2. Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM):

This framework work was developed with the main intention of Rapid software delivery having widespread foundation on planning, managing, executing and scaling process for agile development process. DSDM framework is driven by 9 key principles which primarily revolve around making it imperative to have an active user involvement, empowering DSDM teams to make decisions, focus on frequent delivery of products, fitness for business purpose is the essential criterion for acceptance of deliverables, Iterative and incremental development is necessary to converge on an accurate business solution, all changes during development are reversible, requirements are base lined at a high level, testing is integrated throughout the life cycle, collaborative and cooperative approach among all stakeholders is essential.

The process emphasizes on having the requirements early on and the requirements are delivered in multiple iterations. The projects are prioritized based on Must have requirements, should have if possible, could have but not critical and won’t have this time but potentially at later point.

3. Feature Driven Development (FDD):

When compared to other agile methodologies, Feature Driven development is a semi-datable planning framework with iterative development cycles. It supports code reviews and inspections. FDD is perceived to have low risk as it has a high number of traditional practices, roles and documents. Another important point to note is, FDD uses software inspections, which are commonly believed to substantially increase software quality which ultimately proves to have a low risk.

4. Extreme Programming (XP):

Extreme programming is designed to deliver high quality software quickly and continuously and requires development team working very closely with customer, regular feedbacks from customers, continuous testing and planning (test driven development and refactoring) and good team work for delivering quality software in regular intervals. This methodology is driven by four simple values which are simplicity, communication, regular feedback and courage.

In this framework, customers prioritize the granular units that needs to be delivered in each iteration.

5. Crystal:

Crystal is another most lightweight methodology which can be adapted in software development driven by various factors like team size, system criticality and project priorities. In general, most of the projects require tailored set of methodologies in order to meet the unique characteristics of the project. Some of the key views of crystal framework include teamwork, communication, simplicity and continuously improving the process. Like other methodologies, crystal framework requires high user involvement.

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