Before starting off with any software project, it is essential for the business stakeholders to devise a proper plan that can be handed over to the tech team for development in a systematic and recorded manner. However, there are various models available out there in the software development industry using which one can devise a plan as per the suitability of their projects.
In this article, we will be talking about a very renowned development methodology which is known as the Agile Model.
What Is An Agile Model In SDLC (Software Development Lifecycle)?
Unlike the Waterfall model, the Agile method focuses on delivering the project in modular form. This means that the entire development of a project is broken down into different sections known as Sprints, and then the development takes place for each and every defined sprint based on the prior needs of the client or end customers. The general timelines for every sprint usually last for 2-3 weeks and not more than that.
Most of the time, it happens that people confuse the term agile with scrum. To be crisp in layman's terms, agile is a project development methodology, whereas scrum is just one way of achieving that agile method. Scrum includes sprints which are usually nothing but development iterations.
Repetitive development iterations based on continuous user feedback make this model highly efficient in terms of resource use and gaining 100% client satisfaction. Each iteration consists of different phases involving various teams that work simultaneously to achieve desired results. These phases are defined as follows:
- Iteration Planning
- Requirement Gathering & Analysis
- Unit Testing
- Acceptance Testing
Let us now look at each of these phases one by one to have a better understanding of how these steps are actually carried out in a continuous development environment.
1. Iteration Planning
This step involves the planning of all features to be rolled out in each iteration, starting off with the discussion of the first iteration. Timelines are decided in this phase for each incremental iteration against the deliverables.
2. Requirement Gathering and Analysis
Based on the functionalities defined in the Iteration planning phase by the end client, specific requirements are gathered from the business team. The development feasibility is then analyzed and evaluated by the technical team based on which the decided timelines might get changed sometimes.
3. Designing Phase
Once the requirements are gathered and finalized, flow diagrams and UML (Unified Modeling Language) diagrams are designed to have a clear picture and understanding of the functionality flow and how the things will look in the actual system.
The real hassle starts here once the developers start working on the coding platforms to design the required features. The coding phase has to be completed by the given deadline post which the internal testing builds are handed over to the testing teams for requirement validation purposes.
5. Unit Testing
Before the internal testing build lands in the hands of the QAs (Quality Analysts), coders/developers must carry out an initial round of testing at their end to verify the basic functionality of the defined requirements. This is the job of the developers to make sure that the code written is doing what it intends to do. To carry out unit testing, we have various tools and software's available in the market out there which can help the coders to write and conduct unit tests. A few examples of such software's are NUnit, JUnit, TestNG, Mockito, PHPUnit, and many more.
6. Acceptance Testing
Once unit testing is completed by the developers, then the team of Quality Assurance testers sits to dig deeper with a mindset of the target audience to confirm if everything is in place and is meeting the expected outcomes.
Various levels and types of testing are conducted here based on the business requirements like load testing, volume testing, etc.
Post acceptance testing now comes the time to deliver the completed sprint in the hands of the client or end customer. Within a defined timeline, feedback is shared based on which further sprint iterations are decided. These sprint iterations can be against the version upgrades of the software or change requests based on the business requirement.
Efficient Strategies for Implementing Agile Methodology in your Project
- There are many online tools and portals available that make the tracking of the entire sprint iterations easy to manage and get aligned with. For example, JIRA is one such tool that is widely being used to record the performance of each sprint in a project following agile methodology. This is because its easy to use GUI (graphic user interface), and the drag and drop feature makes it easy and smooth for its users to manage their work. Moreover, such tools are important to have because they provide a user interface where it is easy to manage the team members working on specific tasks in a sprint and record timelines and important discussions.
- Another important factor in achieving a smooth sprint plan is to have daily scrum meetings. This is usually conducted by a scrum master or the sprint release manager. This is carried out to have a clear picture of what is the current status of the ongoing sprint and to address any challenges faced by the team members. In general, the scrum call duration lasts from a minimum of 15 minutes to a maximum of 30 minutes, where each and every team member states what they did yesterday, what are their plans for the current day, and what are the challenges they are facing in case any.
Despite its numerous benefits, many teams find it difficult at first to adopt Agile methodology for their projects. But this doesn't mean that you should leave it right there. Good things take time to make them familiar, and agile project management strategies are proven to do wonders in most critical projects as well. Businesses can always start with smaller projects with loose deadlines to get started with this technique to have a hands-on exposure of how it actually works.
Also Read: Agile Methodology Of Software Development