What is Agile Methodology
The Agile methodology is generally opposed to traditional waterfall methodology. It aims to be more flexible and adapted, and places the needs of the client at the center of the project’s priorities. Originally, this approach was created for web and IT development projects. Today, the agile methodology is more and more popular because it is adaptable to many types of projects, all sectors combined. Today this post is all about agile methodology and it impact on business management.
The Agile Manifesto
Following a high failure rate of projects in the 1990’s, 17 software development experts met in the United States in 2001 to share their respective methods. The “Agile Manifesto” (Agile Manifesto in English) was born of the meeting and determines the values and fundamental principles of Agile.
A greater involvement of the client and a better responsiveness of the teams to his requests are at the heart of the agile method. This manifesto advocates the 4 fundamental values of the methodology:
- The team of individuals and interactions rather than processes and tools;
- Application , that is, operational functionality rather than exhaustive documentation;
- Collaboration with the client rather than the contractualization of relationships;
- Accepting change rather than following a plan.
These values are derived from the following 12 general principles:
- Satisfying the customer in priority
- Welcoming requests for change
- Deliver operational versions of the application as often as possible
- Ensure ongoing cooperation between the client and the project team
- Building projects around motivated people
- Focus on face-to-face conversation
- Measure the project’s progress in terms of application functionality
- Advancing the project at a sustainable and sustainable pace
- Continuous attention to technical excellence and design
- Make it simple
- Empowering teams
- Regularly adjust its behavior and processes to be more efficient
Process of Agile Methodology
The Agile methodology is based on this simple principle: planning your entire project down to the last detail before developing it is counterproductive.
Indeed, organizing all aspects of your project is a waste of time because it rarely happens exactly as expected. Often, hazards occur and force you to review your planning.
The Agile method recommends setting short-term goals. The project is therefore divided into several sub-projects. Once the goal is reached, the next step is completed until the final goal is achieved. This approach is more flexible. Since it is impossible to foresee and anticipate everything, it leaves room for unforeseen events and changes.
Another important point: the agile method relies on a privileged relationship between the client and the project team. Customer satisfaction being the priority, the total involvement of the team and its responsiveness to customer changes and contingencies are necessary. Dialogue with the client is preferred. He is the one who validates each stage of the project. The evolution of its needs is taken into account and the adjustments are carried out in real time in order to meet its expectations.
With the Agile approach, nothing is fixed. The project team must be able to constantly challenge and constantly seek to evolve.
A Concrete Example
For example, you plan to go to Brest from Strasbourg via small country roads. Before leaving, you plan each detail of your journey, specifying the name of each city and village crossed, the exact time of passage, each street used, amount of gasoline consumed, kilometers traveled, etc. The problem is that the unexpected will not fail on the way: traffic congestion, work and deviations, or even breakdown of your vehicle. Your planning quickly becomes obsolete and you have just lost precious time organizing a precise route that you may not necessarily follow. Frustrating, is not it?
With the Agile methodology, rather than planning your entire route, you set a first short-term goal, a big city, and you immediately take the road. Once the goal is reached, you take the time to analyze the current situation (traffic and car conditions) and adapt the rest of your route according to this information. You continue on until you reach your final destination.
Advantages and disadvantages of Agile Methodology
- The main advantage of the agile approach is its flexibility. Customer changes and contingencies are taken into account and the project team can react quickly.
- Another asset is collaboration and frequent communication with the client, as well as his strong involvement in the project. A relationship of trust is forged between the client and the project team.
- The client has better visibility on the progress of the project and can adjust it according to his needs. The quality control is permanent. As for the project team, it can respond quickly to customer requests.
- Finally, you control the project costs better because at the end of each stage, you know the budget already spent and the remainder. You can decide to continue or stop the project if the funds are insufficient.
- As the dialogue is privileged, the agile method leaves little room for documentation, which can be problematic in case of a change of project team, for example.
- The client must be available and interested in his / her project to ensure that it meets its needs. Not all clients have the time, or the desire to get fully involved in the realization of a project.
- The Agile method is not suitable for companies with a very strong hierarchical structure because of its collaborative operation.
- This methodology allows for good cost control, but it makes it very difficult to see a budget for the entire project. Flexibility has a cost that the customer must be willing to pay.
Unlike the traditional waterfall method, the agile approach offers greater flexibility and visibility in project management. In this age of personalization, this methodology is becoming more and more popular.