What is the agile methodology?
Its primary feature is that development starts as soon as possible, with work being split into small phases, known as ‘sprints’, in order to deliver the highest priority functionality as soon as possible. This maximises the delivery of the greatest business benefits in the shortest possible timeframe. User feedback from the previous sprints and business priorities drive the scope of future sprints, making the project plan fluid and giving flexibility to allow the project to take a different direction than might have been initially anticipated.
The agile methodology is a more modern approach to developing software. That’s not to say it is necessarily better than other approaches, just that modern technology development facilitates it better.
Whereas the Waterfall methodology requires high levels of customer involvement primarily at the beginning and towards the end of the project, the agile approach requires high levels of involvement consistently throughout the entire project development.
Due to the changing nature of this methodology and the evolving scope, commercially it leads itself to be charged on a time and materials basis. A budget can be defined for a set number of sprints.
Is agile right for my business?
Whether this methodology is right for your project will typically depend on your views of the benefits/risks of running a dynamic project and your commercial flexibility.
- Enables rapid development and testing of ideas with stakeholders at an early stage and throughout the project
- Readily accommodates changes in business or implementation priorities
- Spreads client involvement and user training over a longer period
- Creates high levels of engagement from users as they involved throughout the project
- Risks of implementing a non-optimal design or having to unravel aspects of the design and coding at a later stage since not all requirements are planned from the start or the direction may change significantly from original assumptions. This can increase overall costs in comparison to other methodologies.
- The overall scope delivered across all of the sprints may not match expectations since detail is not available to align expectations early on