Pros And Cons Of Using Agile Methodology For Your Projects
Over 20 years ago, the most popular software development approach was the Waterfall methodology. While it was relatively effective, most projects utilizing this methodology often took too long to complete or didn’t reach the development stage. This led to the realization that the Waterfall methodology is simply too time-consuming. That’s when the Agile methodology was introduced to the software development industry.
Fast forward to today, most companies in every industry now follow the principles of Agile methodology for their projects, or at least a version of it, such as Kanban or Scrum. What brought upon this surge of popularity and why is it still relevant after all these years?
This guide will answer these questions and more as we examine the fundamentals of how the Agile methodology can work for and against your project development process.
Pros #1: Reduces Expenses
Collaboration is an essential aspect of any project. For instance, it can potentially speed up the software development project and may also result in fewer errors.
Although the traditional Waterfall methodology encourages collaboration among the software development team, that’s no longer enough to ensure success. It’s also necessary for the product owner, or the one who started the project, to collaborate with the team. Feedback, insights, and ideas are some examples of things they can contribute to the process, but due to the structure of the Waterfall methodology, product owners find it challenging to join the fray, as the team puts all their attention to development.
On the other hand, one of the Agile methodology values is ‘Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.’ Basically, it encourages both the stakeholder (product owner) and your company’s Agile teams working together. So, there won’t be a case where the product ends up being different from what the product owner expected, eliminating any need to re-engineer the software, which can be pretty expensive. In other words, the Agile methodology can reduce the expenses of the project.
Pros #2: Accelerates Development
During the Waterfall methodology era, a software development project often takes around a couple of years to complete, the main reason being the numerous phases of the project.
To be precise, the Waterfall methodology consists of five phases:
- Requirements: During the Requirements phase, the project manager will understand what the consumers want, and then they create the requirements based on that.
- Design: The Design phase is when the system analyst describes how the software should be built, what tools to use, and how it should work.
- Implementation: Programmers are the main driving force during this phase, and it’s when they start the actual software development process based on the Design and Requirements.
- Verification: Quality Assurance (QA) engineers will then ‘verify’ if the software meets the supposed users’ minimum requirements.
- Maintenance: Lastly, during the Maintenance phase, users will get their hands on the software, and any bugs or security issues are then taken care of.
Unfortunately, while it may result in high-quality software, it simply takes too much time. There are even cases where the concept behind the software becomes irrelevant during the years of development, which will ultimately take away the point of the project.
Using Agile methodology, however, leads to much quicker development. But even though it’s a lot faster, that doesn’t mean the quality will be lower. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Pros #3: Refines Product Quality
In the past, software development teams used to wait for a signal from the project manager before they start working. They do things according to what the manager and the owner want. Simply put, the teams are dependent. But that’s not the case with the Agile methodology as it focuses on focuses on self-organizing teams.
Unlike traditional teams, self-organizing teams don’t need the order of the upper management. They identify tasks that need to be done, prioritize the work required, and manage their time according to their preferences.
In other words, although they still receive feedback from stakeholders, they rely more on their fellow team members rather than the upper management. As a result, the team members will continue to strive and improve their skills with time, which will undoubtedly contribute to the final product’s quality.
But, as in the case with any software development process, there are also disadvantages to the Agile methodology.
Cons #1: Changes Company Values
Company values refer to the beliefs and principles that drive the business. Having clear company values allows you to make sure your employees are working towards the same goal as you are. Unfortunately, the Agile methodology follows its own values:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Responding to change over following a plan
While they were intended to aid software development projects, they can sometimes end up contradicting your company values. Perhaps that’s why even with its clear benefits, some companies hesitate in adopting the Agile methodology.
Cons #2: Relies Too Much On Programmers
The Waterfall methodology doesn’t demand too much from programmers. After all, the work is divided among different individuals, such as the project manager, system analysts, and QA engineers. In other words, the programmers aren’t put on the spot.
On the other hand, the Agile methodology requires the programmers to do most of the tasks by themselves, especially since they’re self-organizing teams. Hence, if your company wants to implement this methodology, you have to hire relatively skilled individuals who can keep up with the whole process.
Even then, you’ll have to invest in their regular training to refresh their skills. Either way, procuring talents and nurturing them will add to the list of your problems, unless you already have relatively skilled individuals working for your company.
The Agile methodology has taken over numerous industries around the world. Retail, eCommerce, health, and real estate are just a few examples. Simply put, it’s no longer exclusive to the software development industry or the tech industry, which is why it’s crucial, now more than ever, that you get to know what Agile methodology can offer to your business.