Agile methodology: a flexible solution

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Agile methodology: a flexible solution
Agile methodology: a flexible solution

Modern business is dominated by a philosophy of flexibility. Early product release and fast customer feedback is the key to successful trading and high profits. For the correct organization of the workflow, a number of techniques have been developed, united by the general concept of readiness for change. Agile methodologies originated in the field of information technology, but have already proven their effectiveness in various market sectors.

Agile philosophy

Translated from English, the name of the concept means "quick and easy to move, think or understand." The definition of "flexible" has taken root in Russian.

The approaches and techniques hidden under the term Agile methodology are aimed primarily at ensuring the responsiveness of the product to customer requests. When the market situation changes, the flexible product changes with it and quickly gains acceptance.

Agile vs Waterfall

In nature, technology, everyday life, all processes occur sequentially, passing through a series of stages. Businesses initially adopted this concept, dubbed the "cascade model" or "waterfall model", and for many yearsfollowed it successfully. First there were the planning and design phases, then the product was realized, tested and implemented. Years could have passed from beginning to end of the process.

agile development
agile development

In modern business, this is a sure way to collapse. The client is not ready to wait, he wants to receive the product right now. Moreover, the consumer is changeable, fickle, today he wants one thing, and tomorrow - another. If you have to restart the entire cycle of work with each change, the product will never go out into the world.

At the end of the 20th century, the fastest growing market was software development. This is where the need for change was felt most acutely. Several new approaches to the organization of the production process have appeared at once, seeking to get away from the waterfall model. They differed in details, but were unusually similar in the main. It took some time to put them together and create a single philosophy.

In 2001, in Utah, USA, a group of developers created and published the "Agile Software Development Manifesto", known as the Agile Manifesto. It did not contain any specific instructions on how to work. Instead, basic ideas and principles to follow were outlined.

Agile Ideas and Principles

The manifesto articulates the four values of the methodology:

  • People are more important than things and processes.
  • The product is more important than the documentation that no one reads.
  • Cooperation is more important than a contract.
  • Always ready for change.
Agile manifest
Agile manifest

These basic ideas are further developed in principles:

  • The main priority of the work is customer satisfaction.
  • The main condition of work is daily communication between developers and the customer on an equal footing.
  • Work should be carried out in short iterations, which allows you to quickly make changes to the requirements.
  • A working product is the main indicator of progress and should be released as often as possible.
  • Every member of the development team should be motivated.
  • The key to success is simplicity and high-quality performance.
  • Constant monitoring of the team's work in order to increase productivity and correct errors.

Agile itself is not a specific methodology, but a unified project management philosophy, a way of thinking. This is a humanistic approach that takes into account both the needs of business and the interests of people.

Example of an agile organization

Let's consider the concept of agile project management in its native field, software development.

It is important to correctly allocate roles:

  • A product owner is a person who knows exactly what the end result should be and can explain it to the team.
  • Team is a small group of people capable of creating a product.
  • Master, coordinator - a person who monitors the correct organization of the work process according to the accepted methodology.

Agile development begins with a backlog - a complete list of the owner's requirements for the final product onthis moment. In the process of work, changes can be made to the backlog, new items are added, irrelevant items are deleted, priorities can change.

agile is
agile is

The first meeting of the client and the development team is held under the supervision of the master. The list of requirements is reviewed and adjusted. At the first meeting, preliminary time estimates are made, large goals are broken down into their component parts, and a goal map is drawn up.

Agile methodology provides for iterative development: short sprints lasting from a week to a month. Before each iteration, a list of specific tasks is formed that the team will work on. Until the end of the sprint, no changes are made to this list. The result of the work should be a workable product that can be presented to the consumer.

During the work, the team holds daily short mandatory meetings, where each participant talks about what he did yesterday as part of the sprint tasks, what he will do today and what problems he encountered. This allows each team member to understand what others are doing.

At the end of the sprint, a meeting is held at which the product owner is presented with the results of the work. Then the team holds a retrospective - analyzes the past iteration, discusses the problems.

agile methodology
agile methodology

Disadvantages of flexible management

Agile methodologies have enormous potential if applied correctly. This reservation is not accidental, it is not for nothing that there are a huge number of business trainings on the “implementationAgile. It is important to understand the essence of the Agile philosophy, and not to follow every letter of the Agile Manifesto.

Reckless use of the “product over documentation” principle can lead to a complete lack of project documentation and absolute chaos. “Ready for change” sometimes translates into constant reworking of the product due to the whims of the client.

Proper application of agile practices can unlock the potential of any project and make it successful.

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