When software professionals grew tired of the limitations and challenges of the traditional waterfall methodology, they started looking for ways to directly address the issues and that is how agile approach got promoted leading to the development of the agile model, which is an iterative and incremental method of software development.
For a custom software development company, agile methodology is a powerful tool to develop software that has higher efficiency to meet customer’s expectation. While the agile approach has too many benefits, it also has its own set of challenges. Listed below are the primary benefits and challenges of agile methodology.
1. High Product Quality
In Agile development, testing is integrated into the development process, thus the check-ups are regular, and the product owner can ask for changes and modifications during the development process itself. Daily testing allows the team to address the challenges while they are fresh. The methodology facilitates the development of the software in incremental, rapid cycles. Only after thorough testing and successful release of one section, in technical language – ‘scrum’, the next segment of development starts.
2. Higher Customer Satisfaction
A software development company can aim to achieve higher customer satisfaction by taking up an agile approach in its development process. This becomes possible as the product owner always stays involved and engaged throughout the project. Thus, has high visibility of the advances in the software. As a result, they get a product which is more in line with their expectations. The delivery is considerably quicker in agile methodology.
3. Increased Project Control
Customers prefer working with a software development company that adopts agile methodology because that provides them (customers) more control over the project. It is not that they explain a project and stay aloof of it till the final product is delivered, only to find out that the product is a lot different than what is needed. In agile methodology, the client stays engaged throughout the development cycle. In the development cycle itself through sprint reviews, they get the demonstration of the functionalities of the software and can ask for changes and modifications, during the development progress itself. And Jira usage provides visibility of each step of the project.
4. Reduced Risks:
After putting so much money on a project, customers don’t enjoy risks. They want everything to be smooth, Agile methodologies are free of the risk of absolute project failure. Moreover, the methodology gives the freedom to incorporate new changes at a very little cost. The software’s features are defined by referring to user stories and then combining their preferences with business-focus. So, the aim is not just to deliver an IT product but a product with features that incrementally deliver value. The software also provides the opportunity to beta test after each iteration, and feedback can be gained early in the project and accordingly changes can be made.
Predictable Costs and Schedule, Early and Predictable Delivery and Faster ROI are the other major benefits of using the agile methodology of development.
While the benefits of the agile model are convincing enough, both customers and the software development company should also become well aware of the challenges of this model.
- The agile methodology takes user stories into consideration while defining the product features, but the product owners or business stakeholders or business analysts are used to Business Requirements Document (BRD) and thus hesitate to give up the BRD for something as new or different as an agile model. BRD is like a contract between them (client) and the IT team; it is difficult for them to understand how they will control the direction of the project without that contract?
- Agile is a flexible methodology that allows frequent changes in the product and along with that even cost, quality or time has to change. However, in practice, mostly IT projects have a fixed budget and a mandatory deadline. Thus, even if a project is following an agile methodology, at a ‘certain point’ it needs to cease the changes to fit within the fixed budget or time. Realizing that ‘certain point’ is a challenge.
- Even the agile model fails to ‘design’ for future requirements despite having the best design models and highly experienced design personnel on a project team.
- One of the key challenges faced by a software application development company in regard to agile methodology is external dependencies which can’t be controlled by the core project team. Mostly, external teams are not always following the agile methodology and hence the delivery from their end is not as time bound as the agile core team. This often holds back the progress in the development process.
In the end, it can be concluded that the benefits of agile methodology surpass the challenges. Thus, its demand is only expected to grow further and therefore a custom software development company must focus on making its team more aware and comfortable in adopting the agile approach in its software development process.