Agile and Hybrid Agile Development

What is an Agile Framework, and why is it so popular?

Agile model believes that every project needs to be handled differently and the existing methods need to be tailored to best suit the project requirements. In Agile, the tasks are divided to time boxes (small time frames) to deliver specific features for a release.

The most popular Agile methods include Rational Unified Process (1994), Scrum, Adaptive Software Development, Feature Driven Development, and Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) (1995), Crystal Clear, Extreme Programming (1996). These are now collectively referred to as Agile Methodologies, after the Agile Manifesto was published in 2001.

 

Since the birth of the Agile Manifesto in 2001, there has much buzz around being agile. In fact, Agile approach is just a way of thinking that enables teams and organizations to innovate, quickly respond to changing demand, while mitigating risk. Organizations can be agile using many of the available frameworks.

Agile represents an overarching methodology for software development, consisting of many different frameworks and implementations, emphasizing the value of iterating quickly to satisfy the immediate needs of users. An agile framework can be defined as a specific software-development approach based on the agile methodology articulated in the Agile Manifesto.

Strategic focuses on delivering software development teams that practice industry standard agile development methodologies utilizing various popluar and widely accepted sub-frameworks and implementations.

Benefits of leveraging Agile deveopment methodologies:

  • Agile development gives teams an opportunity to learn with each new iteration or draft, resulting in continuous improvement of both quality and velocity of software development 

  • Agile allows teams to deliver an initial product that is merely a prototype to be improved upon with every development cycle, or iteration 

  • Agile supports regular and collaborative troubleshooting, so improvement is continuous

  • Agile helps with effectively prioritizing features, and the team's overall workflow, allowing for both  faster results and more predictable outcomes

  • Agile's focus "per iteration" creates a reliable process for working through the product development lifecycle, creating a quality and process control mechanism that delivers superior outcomes in the shortest amount of time.

 

Hybrid Agile (i.e. Blended Agile)

A mix of two or more Agile frameworks. Both Scrum and XP, and Scrum and Kanban, are widely used together . The goal of blended Agile development is to try and take the best practices from each framework.

Agile vs Traditional Software Development Lifecycle Models (TDLC)

Agile is based on the adaptive software development methods, whereas the traditional SDLC models like the waterfall model is based on a predictive approach. Predictive teams in the traditional SDLC models usually work with detailed planning and have a complete forecast of the exact tasks and features to be delivered in the next few months or during the product life cycle.

Predictive methods entirely depend on the requirement analysis and planning done in the beginning of cycle. Any changes to be incorporated go through a strict change control management and prioritization.

Agile uses an adaptive approach where there is no detailed planning and there is clarity on future tasks only in respect of what features need to be developed. There is feature driven development and the team adapts to the changing product requirements dynamically. The product is tested very frequently, through the release iterations, minimizing the risk of any major failures in future.

Customer Interaction is the backbone of this Agile methodology, and open communication with minimum documentation are the typical features of Agile development environment. The agile teams work in close collaboration with each other and are most often located in the same geographical location.

Agile Model - Pros and Cons

Agile methods are being widely accepted in the software world recently. However, this method may not always be suitable for all products. Here are some pros and cons of the Agile model.

The advantages of the Agile Model are as follows −

  • Is a very realistic approach to software development.

  • Promotes teamwork and cross training.

  • Functionality can be developed rapidly and demonstrated.

  • Resource requirements are minimum.

  • Suitable for fixed or changing requirements

  • Delivers early partial working solutions.

  • Good model for environments that change steadily.

  • Minimal rules, documentation easily employed.

  • Enables concurrent development and delivery within an overall planned context.

  • Little or no planning required.

  • Easy to manage.

  • Gives flexibility to developers.

The disadvantages of the Agile Model are as follows −

  • Not suitable for handling complex dependencies.

  • More risk of sustainability, maintainability and extensibility.

  • An overall plan, an agile leader and agile PM practice is a must without which it will not work.

  • Strict delivery management dictates the scope, functionality to be delivered, and adjustments to meet the deadlines.

  • Depends heavily on customer interaction, so if customer is not clear, team can be driven in the wrong direction.

  • There is a very high individual dependency, since there is minimum documentation generated.

  • Transfer of technology to new team members may be quite challenging due to lack of documentation.added to future versions.