Agile methods: understand in only 2mn

Agile methods are a set of practices and processes to improve the success and quality of projects and more particularly in software development. These methods are diverse but have a common practice base that allows for a clear improvement in project management effectiveness.

Agility: the 4 essentials

Agile methods are distinguished from traditional practices in 4 key points:

  1. Organization of priorities focused on value (ROI),
  2. Delivery of functional code by regular iteration,
  3. Constant participation of all the actors involved in the project,
  4. Changes during development are welcome.

Benefits of Agility

The Agile methods have made a marked improvement in the success rate and quality of software development projects.

 

They have generated a lot of enthusiasm and have been applied to projects of any size.

Many project leaders and managers have encountered the difficulty of apprehending these methods because the documentation is often incomprehensible or too complex to assimilate quickly.

example:

Yet most managers know that they get poor results by managing their projects according to the traditional method (waterfall) and wish to move to agility whose promise is to focus on value and regular delivery to avoid the tunnel effect.

 

Unfortunately, except for having an involvement from the highest rank of the company and to get implementation budgets, the transition to agility is anything but obvious.

 

Indeed, when the transition to agility is poorly managed, these methods are ineffective and produce the opposite effect to that sought.

Let's go back to our essential points:

Agility: priority to value (ROI)

The promise of agility is to produce as much value as possible.

This graph clearly explains this concept:

According to the traditional method, the specifications are fixed, the cost and the delay are variable.

In agility, the budget and the deadline are fixed, the functionalities are secondary, what is to develop being arbitrated on the added value. This avoids developing unnecessary or low-value features.

Agility: regular delivery by iteration

This principle is central and is repeated along the project in successive loops.

Priorities are defined at each iteration, and the features are prioritized based on the added value.

In agility, at each iteration, the volume of functional and tested code that is delivered is increased.

The risk of obtaining a software that does not meet expectations is reduced.

Agility: continuous participation of actors

In Agility, all actors involved in the project must participate in its implementation.

  • The client
  • Developers
  • Users

The collection of user requests is crucial so that the client can assess the importance of the changes to be made.

The development team should also involve the client as much as possible to avoid late decisions that would delay the project.

This implies the availability of the client as well as the development team.

Agility: welcome changes

We saw in point #1 that the cost of the project is fixed in agile method, the functionalities being optional.

If a high value-added feature comes during the development, it is immediately taken into account for the next iteration. This feature will take the place of another that brings less value to the project in the queue.

This practice is the opposite of the classic development process where each modification coming during the development stage has to be added in addition, resulting in extra cost and additional time.

Conclusion

Agility brings indisputable benefits when its fundamentals are applied by the entire project team.

  • Organization of priorities focused on value (ROI)
  • Delivery of functional code by regular iteration,
  • Permanent participation of all the actors involved in the project,
  • Changes along development are welcome.

ZAPPIK method is an agile method that goes beyond the simple realization of a project. It takes into account all the interactions between the customer, the service provider and the freelancers providing the expert resources to relieve the client of the agility management difficulty.

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