The Agile software development methodology is one of the rising project management methodology in the area of IT. Many tech companies are or in the process of adopting the Agile mindset in terms of developing a software product.
Agile software development methodology sprung from the notion of creating and responding to change. It prepares the developer with a mindset of being alert to be able to adjust and respond to changes in the process of software development.
Authors of the Agile Manifesto covered 12 principles behind the methodology. One advantage of adopting Agile methodology is the focus on people and how they work together. Solutions evolved through the close collaboration between self-organising, cross-functional software development teams that practices the principles listed in the manifesto.
A great portion of Agile’s focus is to establish self-organising teams capable of deciding on how they would like to approach the development of the product. This does not mean there are no project managers supervising and managing the teams.
Agile software development has notable frameworks or approaches under its umbrella such as Scrum, Kanban, Extreme Programming, and Feature-Driven Development, among others.
However, even when it is increasingly becoming popular among IT communities all over the world, there are misconceptions surrounding the methodology. Here are some of Agile software development myths we would like to debunk.
Myth #1: Agile is only applicable to IT, tech, and software development industries.
As documented in the Agile manifesto in February 2001, Agile methodology was mainly used by the IT industry and tech companies, it is not exclusive to IT development.
In fact, the Agile approach was a great success in various aspects of the business as a key management instrument. Agile is not exclusive to IT development.
Agile is a division of a project’s whole scope into logic iterations. Compared to Waterfall methodology, Agile provides the possibility to change business goals through the inclusion of amendments to the defined iterations. This makes the team focus only on high-priority tasks that you define in your sprint.
The recommendations, considerations, and thoughts of shareholders can be compiled to the “backlog” which could be revisited before the next sprint. The team then decides whether to work on it or not.
Agile is more than IT development, and even non-tech industries can adopt this methodology as well. Agile is a practice of the 12 principles stated in the Agile Manifesto.
Myth #2: Agile is always faster
Agile methodology gained traction throughout the years because it optimises processes in software development. However, it does not guarantee that development will be faster because the approach can only affect an aspect of the overall development. Whether it is suitable for a project or not depends on the decision-makers.
One important note to keep in mind is Agile’s well-tested iterations of work. Regress testing is applied in each stage defined as the sprint. However, Agile does not guarantee earlier project completion. Some projects could have a fixed scope, some are well-documented, so teams could use a more appropriate approach like the waterfall method in developing the product.
Myths #3: Stakeholders can change the scope of work any time
Agile focuses on flexibility and adaptability on changes. However, it does not mean that the scope of work can be changed at any time. Aside from the business implications, stakeholders cannot change the scope of work in a snap since there are a number of things to consider before executing the changes.
Implementing changes could impact the initial infrastructure of the system, so stakeholders need to keep in mind that changes could result to delay of project completion, higher costs, re-planning, among others.
Aside from that, changes, suggestions, and improvements are all considered and added to the backlog. Then, developments teams can work on it again in the next sprint.
Myth #4: Agile is undisciplined, no specification guides
Since Agile is always flexible to change, documentation for agile projects might not be as complete or well-specified. Agile is lenient in documentation unlike the rigid documentation requirements for the waterfall method.
Lacking documentation does not mean Agile is undisciplined. Agile works with detailed specification guide of the software the team is planning to develop. It could be possible to discuss and create tickets in project management tools such as Jira and Asana, and then proceed as soon as the scope of the iteration is approved.
Myth #5: Agile does not involve the Product Owners
This is probably the biggest myth in Agile. Adapting this methodology does not mean software development teams can do anything they seem fit for the project. As we mentioned earlier, one core concept of Agile is the close collaboration of the development team and concerned stakeholders.
Agile definitely (with emphasis) require the constant participation of the product owner. It’s also important that the product owner and their technical representative are forming the sprints.
What a typical agile workflow looks like:
- Usually takes two to three weeks per sprint
- Formation of the first sprint
- Negotiations and formation of the second sprint
- Execution and delivery of the first sprint; start of the second sprint
- Negotiations and formation of the third sprint.
The development is a simultaneous cycle, although the nitty-gritty of the specific sprint is another matter.
Constant transformations and the fast-paced nature of Agile requires the constant involvement of the product owners. Typically, there are daily stand-up meetings and constant collaboration with project managers and product owners.
Agile is a popular software development and project management methodology used by many companies and teams to enhance agility and collaboration in projects. Various myths and misconceptions are spread about Agile, but many of them are debunked.
What are other Agile software development myths that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
Tiffany Tolones is a content writer and a social media manager with experience in writing for media companies in the Philippines. She creates content for lifestyle, tech, and Korean-related niches.