Agile project delivery was developed in order to succeed in an ever-changing environment, smoothly responding to any changes while building highly functional software. As indicated in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, this is only possible if individuals, interactions and customer collaboration come first, before processes, tools and contract negotiations. In the agile approach, the measure of progress is the ability to deliver working software to the client within a short timescale.
The most significant differences between modern agility and the more traditional waterfall methodology pertain to:
- Levels of flexibility
Waterfall development is pretty rigid and offers little to no chance of modifying a preconceived plan, while flexibility and being able to adjust to any changes are key to success, especially since ideas and requirements may evolve over time.
- The nature of the processes
The waterfall process is divided into several stages with a single test phase at the end. In the agile process, iterative development consists of a number of short and effective sprints, that include testing and reviewing the assumptions.
- Client engagement
The agile method puts people first. The client is involved in every stage of development in order to remain fully informed and be able to react quickly when needed. In the waterfall method, the client is present only at the beginning and at the end stages of development.
Therefore, the agile approach has a pretty big advantage over the waterfall methodology, with five main pros that are definitely worth mentioning.
5 advantages of Agile project delivery
Small development teams that incorporate an incremental development strategy are able to collaborate as flawlessly as possible and successively deliver usable versions of the product in a relatively short time span. On average, this strategy is 16% more productive because it requires everyone to stay focused on their own tasks so that the process can move forward without any bigger disruptions.
In agile project management, it is not only easier to predict the outcome of single sprint performance, but also budgets and timelines for the entire project. Precise estimations are based on, for example, task boards, feedback from daily scrum meetings and the sprint length itself (which should always be constant).
Times are changing, as are project requirements. One cannot know everything beforehand, especially since software development is a pretty long process and a lot of issues (ideas as well!) can emerge out of the blue. A team’s ability to react quickly and adapt to changes can prevent the entire project from falling into crisis.
Agile project delivery is a transparent process that engages the client, who can track progress in real-time. Making sure every step is clear and visible is also crucial in terms of project management and internal team organisation.
Whenever there is a possibility of significant changes that may require modifications to the project (which often come up throughout the development process) – the agile approach is the safest approach one can choose. It’s not even close to being as costly and time-consuming as the waterfall approach, where a few changes can cause the entire project to come to a halt or collapse.
All of these advantages are, of course, highly beneficial to the customer – on many different levels. Let’s see just how, exactly.
5 benefits of Agile for the client
- High quality of the product
In agile development, there is a lot of testing, changing and adapting involved. Teams are oriented to deliver not just any product but the best possible solution that a client could expect to receive.
- Increased flexibility
Customers don’t have their hands tied with a rigid plan. If there’s anything they want to modify, they can intervene at any time to make their desired modifications.
- More control over the product development process
Thanks to increased visibility, a client knows exactly how far in development the project has progressed, allowing them to determine the priority of the features that are going to be delivered. Therefore, it is easier to control both the budget and the schedule, not to mention the next course of action.
- Lower risks
The risk of failure is reduced to a minimum, as the plan is being adjusted and the process corrected, on a day-to-day basis.
- Earlier delivery
A client can have a basic functional product after just a few iterations, and quickly obtain a competitive edge. Achieving a 37% faster time-to-market and focusing on business value means that high ROI may come much earlier, compared to non-agile methods of project delivery.
Wrapping it all up, it is quite safe to say that the agile model is probably the best option in software development in today’s dynamically changing environment. It gives both the clients and the project executors more freedom and peace of mind during the process. It’s possible to move forward without fear of getting stuck or losing control. But at the same time, one also has to remember that going agile doesn’t only mean leveraging given tools or practices. It’s first and foremost about having a certain mindset and specific approach to work.