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Agile is a set of rules common for agile application development. It is based on assumptions that should be implemented to improve development processes and accelerate application development. The assumptions consist primarily in focusing on the practical part of application development as well as pragmatism and good communication – both in the team and with the client.
Today, these techniques are used for rapid development, but also to improve production quality, better watch the budget and at the same time create a product that will satisfy the customer. Agile methodologies will prepare those involved in the project for productive work and creating high-quality applications.
Analyzing the guidelines of projects created in the spirit of agile practices, some ambivalence can be seen. Developers quite confidently praise the products created by the Agile method. Transformations of work organization on Agile are used as a factor convincing the client to choose the services of a given software house. However, customers are still not convinced by agile methodologies. Doubts come from a lack of knowledge on this subject and from the nature of Agile. It assumes the lack of detail in the project, which may deter inexperienced. This causes unhealthy tension in the relationship with the client, and this in turn does not serve to follow the true Agile philosophy.
In Agile, less work is more valued than a normal production process, which, however, brings much better results. It sounds ridiculous, but if you use the right techniques, the effect will be perfect. Getting rid of unnecessary stages of work when planning, building strategies, but most of all – conceptual work can be the key to creating a better product in less time.
Instead of thinking about the last point of the project, so distant that it still seems unreachable, it is better to focus on the nearest stage of implementation and make sure that the product at a given stage of work will be refined. Its functionality should be the most important for the client, because it determines the receipt of the product by the customer.
Presenting this approach on a specific example, let’s look at e-commerce activities. Instead of arming a product for an online store with all possible payment methods and wasting time and money, maybe it would be better to focus on a simpler solution or on a finished product? Then, after analyzing its results, you can then decide to expand or implement another, more sophisticated solution. This is not about half measures, but rather about focusing on the nearest problems and solving them in the simplest way possible.
According to the Agile philosophy, you should focus on the product’s functionality at a given moment, not analyze and forecast its functions and tools for the future. The prospect of no plans may be a cause for concern. In practice, however, how often far-reaching plans for an IT product actually come true? During the creation of the product, it will change its appearance and functionality, and previous plans will no longer take place in the new planned implementation. This will happen because the decisions taken so far will prevent the implementation of the assumed solution and, as a result, an alternative will be needed anyway. This in turn will have to be created first in the concept. Therefore, the work on the analysis will be carried out twice, completely without the need – first at the planning stage, later, in the face of a change in architecture.
However, as a customer you don’t have to worry. Development teams have experience you can rely on. This experience comes from many successful projects, but so much knowledge comes from failures. They will help you choose the right path and specific solution at given stages of the way to create a product. The right solution will always result from communication between the client and the developers. The transfer of ideas to contractors will result in their opinion and perhaps alternative proposals. In Agile, the simplest and most useful solution is chosen. It should not be forgotten that the budget also plays a role in product development. Experience can save you from unnecessary waste of resources for analysis and empty work at the earliest stages of planning.
Another important feature of agile methodologies is the ability to resist unnecessary design changes. If a specific solution has been created and fulfills its function, it is worth focusing on the rest of the project in order to close it faster. To achieve your most important goal, i.e. bring the project to completion, you cannot make continuous insignificant changes and analyze every little detail. Establishing certain boundaries with stakeholders can go well for everyone, and the changes they required can always be made later.
The worst thing that can happen to a project is to temporarily suspend progress or correct functioning elements before giving the finished product away. This badly affects the smoothness of work of developers and the overall development of the project. Any changes should be communicated before implementation. However, remember that the product will never be perfect the first time. Nothing prevents you from refining it later so that it meets all the requirements of the client, but above all – the user.
Continuous and fast work is important in the smooth creation of a product. It will not be possible if the development team has to constantly go back and make changes to the already finished function. Even if the changes seem small, in practice they can mean a lot of work in reorganizing the application architecture, due to the nature of the correction and the consequences that follow. As a result, such small changes can significantly extend the work on the product, which will not be commensurate with the effects achieved by the change itself. Communication will prove to be beneficial here. The development team will respect the opinions and requirements of the stakeholders, but must also consider their goals, i.e. complete the application as soon as possible.
Part of Agile’s philosophy will be less planning, and more effects as well as a pragmatic approach. Sometimes it’s worth thinking about completing tests faster, which verify that the plan has been carried out flawlessly and that you can move on to the next stage. Experimenting in different ways can naturally bring positive results, but sometimes it is worth referring to the experience of developers and agree on the simplest solution, because it may turn out to be the best in the long run.
In order to successfully complete the project in agile methodologies, you will first need a good cooperation with an experienced team. This seems obvious, but it should be emphasized that relying on a team entrusted with implementation will always give a better result than an infinite race to perfection. In the end, the customer will appreciate the product in which its functionality prevails rather than excessive innovation.
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