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Agile Software Development | Key Methods, Principles & Practices

Agile software development is a topic that has many sub-topics under it. It can be viewed as a tree with frameworks like Scrum, Extreme Programming, and Feature-Driven Development. Agility is the ability to create things and respond to changes as quickly as possible. This is the reason why most companies are following this kind of software development strategy in their planning.

Rather than having to go with a traditional software product development in that case. Eventually, Agile is a lot more than any other development practices like pair programming, test-driven development, planning sessions, and sprints. Most people think of it as a very specific method. In particular, they think of it as an umbrella that covers a lot of things under it.

Fortunately, in this article, if you are among such oriented readers, you’ll get to know all about what it actually is. In addition to how it gives enterprises an edge in the market. Agile development is actually a practice that is based on values and some principles that are expressed in Manifesto For Agile Software Development — with some 12 key principles behind it.

Understanding Agile Methodologies

It defines a proper manner in which software development services are approached and it actually is a really good habit. This keeps the architecture, costing, and time in check so that companies can yield better quality and more quantity. For your information, Agile is different from other methods of software development that are most common today. But, why is this so?

Well, because it is the only one that focuses on the people who are working and the way they work together. In essence, collaboration is the most effective and efficient way to find solutions. Especially, for self-organizing cross-functional teams. Whereby, they can in this way, utilize the best practices that are in their context.

Understanding Different Agile Software Development Methods

As quoted by Alistair Cockburn, the set of rules and activities that a team agrees to perform can be termed a methodology. The same methodology can impact and be implemented in different ways in software development companies according to the size of the organization. Accordingly, Agile is also a methodology that a company agrees upon and follows its values and principles.

And now, this will also make some people change what they earlier thought. Most people think that the Agile development methodology is Scrum and XP. Alistair was the one who used the term “framework” for both of these, i.e., Scrum framework and XP framework.

1. Scrum

Without getting into it in detail, we can still say that it is the most popular framework or method for Agile development. In this framework, developers/development companies can address complex adaptive issues. And along with this, they could still productively and creatively deliver a product of the best value.

This tool is used to manage software product development processes (projects). The main focus is on the adaptive development of the software product in which a cross-functional team could work as one unit in order to reach the project goal.

Agile Software Development Processes 

The goal target/deadline is short (2–4 days) and this method helps the unit to fulfill it as quickly as possible. This has values, roles, ceremonies, rules, artifacts, and the best practices collected within itself.

2. Lean

To enumerate, the Lean framework originated with one of the companies that revolutionized the manufacturing of physical goods in the ’50s and ’60s. To be more specific, which is the Toyota Production System or TPS. Lean is a framework that has a stronghold in manufacturing and application in knowledge work.

It helps enterprises to reduce/eliminate waste and improve their operations and processes while boosting their innovation. All of this has to affect the quality of the product and the time and cost incurred to develop a product. Software development or enterprise product development is one of the natural applications of the Lean methodology.

Obviously, because just like in manufacturing it provides a systematic flow for development as well. It generally provides a definitive process that has to be followed by the companies that adapt to it. There are three pillars of Lean that guide all the practices. And, they include Continuous Improvement, Lightweight Leadership, and Respect For People.

3. DSDM

Realistically, the Dynamic Systems Development Methods (DSDM) framework is basically made up of eight principles, one lifecycle and a product, roles and responsibilities, and some best practices. Overall, something that — when working together in a unified way — will make the development process much tight and even better.

All of these things support the thought of providing strategically aligned business advantages, especially to custom software development companies in the least possible time to an enterprise so that they get the best ROI.

Dynamic Systems Development Methods (DSDM)

This is a methodology that prefers scheduling and quality over functionality. This can fix the cost, quality, and time taken to develop a software product by using the MoSCoW method of prioritizing. Ultimately, this method further breaks the process into four different requirement parts.

And they include:
  • Must-Have (M)
  • Should Have (S)
  • Could Have ©
  • Won’t Have (W)

Forthwith, there are also other eight key principles that are followed, therein, by these parts which are worth mentioning.

Consider the following:
  • Focusing On The Business Requirements
  • On-Time Delivery
  • Collaborate
  • No Compromise With Quality
  • Building The Product Incrementally From A Strong Foundation
  • Iterative Development
  • Clear and Continuous Communication
  • Demonstrate Control

4. Extreme Programming (XP)

As a matter of fact, this is both popular and controversial. This method was originally described by Kent Beck. XP provides a disciplined approach to software development services that focuses on continuously delivering high-quality products quickly.

Basically, this methodology is said to improve the quality and responsiveness according to the change in the requirements of customers. It has a lot of involvement with customers and works on the rapid feedback that is continuously received.

Extreme Programming (XP)

The planning is done continuously and teams work closely in order to deliver working software at intervals of 1–3 weeks. There were four simple values on which the original XP method was based and they were simplicity, communication, feedback, and courage. Additionally, it also has other 12 main supporting practices that are worth mentioning in the list below.

They include:
  • Planning
  • Small Releases
  • Customer Acceptance Test
  • Simple Design (Prototype)
  • Pair Programming
  • Test-Driven Development
  • Refactoring
  • Continuous Integration
  • Collective Ownership Of Code
  • Coding Standards
  • Metaphor
  • Sustainable Pace

In conclusion, on one hand, Agile development has become one of the most popular topics in the software development industry in today’s world. It is a different and effective way of managing software development projects. Rather than a particular software development model, it is a set of methods that can be applied based on values and principles.

On the other hand, this self-organizing and cross-functional model is used by a massive number of organizations. By all means, though it is very important to assess the needs and the goals of a software development company first and then choose the model, the agile model has been suitable for every industry and its requirements.


The Author


Technically, Tarun Nagar is the Founder & CEO of Dev Technosys — a top-ranking mobile app development company globally. With 10+ years of experience in enabling then Startups which are now global leaders with creative solutions, he is differentiated by out-of-the-box IT solutions throughout the domain. He is known for his visionary qualities by various entities.

As well as his adaptability to various technology development and trends. Also, passionate as he is in every aspect — he is also very dedicated. Whilst, making IT simple, accessible, and approachable for business enterprises.

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