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Agile software development

What is agile software development?

You wouldn’t say to an architect and builder, “I want a 4 bedroom house.”, agree based on a illustrated design and then leave for six months expecting to see something that is exactly how you wanted it, so why would you do that with software? Agile software enables you to see working versions throughout the development process to evaluate whether it is going in the direction you want it to and make any corrections as you see fit.

There are many documented examples of agile software, such as Bertrand Meyer’s Agile! The Good, the Hype and the Ugly, but we need to put this into terms that non-software developers understand and works for them. Our agile development process has three main objectives:

  • A demonstrable solution consistently through the development process. This is to enable testing, reviews and changes to the design if required. Basically, if you ask to see the new feature that is being worked on, you should be able to get a working version as soon as convenient.
  • Flexibility to change without excessive disruption to the project. Due to a shortened analysis and elaboration phase (that must still exist), unforeseen challenges or new opportunities can be discovered during development. Redirecting a project to solve challenges or take advantage of a new direction can be very valuable.
  • Reduce but not eliminate the planning phase of a project to enable a project to begin as soon as possible. This is particularly useful if integrated with rapid prototyping as they can enable investors and decision makers to have a tangible demonstration to review.

Agile software case studies

Web quotation system