Today, agile is such a buzzword that teams outside software development try to incorporate it into their workflow. But agile is not for everyone. Agile isn’t the right approach for every software project either. If you don’t have access to customers, can’t iterate, or if you have complex organizational structure, it’s very difficult to adhere to agile principles. I want to cover some of advantages and disadvantages of agile software development.
Agile works best when:
You can’t estimate the time you’ll need and don’t know the full scope of requirements
You don’t know whether there’s a need on the market for your software
You can’t map out the business needs so the design needs to emerge through trial and error
Neither you nor your client have a complex bureaucracy that delays decision
Clients don’t have a fixed budget/schedule
You need to capture the market before there’s any competition
Your customers don’t have trouble updating their software (or don’t even notice it, eg. they use a web app)
You have unlimited access to your customer who’s ready for extensive involvement
You can afford to iterate and don’t need to deliver a fully functional software at once
Advantages of Agile
Customer Satisfaction by Rapid, Continuous Delivery of Useful Software.
Your customers and users will be satisfied because you are continuously delivery value to them with usable software.
By delivering working pieces of functionality sooner and more regularly you are giving your users an opportunity to get a return on their investment sooner. Sure, they may not have all the functionality they need upfront, but they can start to make use of the solution to make their lives easier and start realising the benefits sooner.
People and Interactions are Emphasized Rather Than Process and Tools.
Agile is focused very heavily around people and the interactions between people, rather than process and tools. This is a core value of the agile manifesto.
The reason this is important is because it is the input from your team and customers that will ultimately make your project a success as opposed to what tools you use. Continual collaboration throughout the entire development cycle of your project enables everyone involved to build up a good working relationship that will be based on trust. This trust based working relationship is crucial when building software incrementally.
Developers understand, and choose from, many possible technical ways to satisfy business need and these are choices that reflect a craft that balances design, use, and support. They provide the technical underpinnings that enable us always to move forward at a steady pace, and keep code quality consistently high.
Disadvantages of Agile model:
In case of some software deliverables, especially the large ones, it is difficult to assess the effort required at the beginning of the software development life cycle.
There is lack of emphasis on necessary designing and documentation.
The project can easily get taken off track if the customer representative is not clear what final outcome that they want.
Only senior programmers are capable of taking the kind of decisions required during the development process. Hence it has no place for newbie programmers, unless combined with experienced resources.
There are many ways to develop software but Agile methodologies really accomplish a win-win solution for clients and providers. Software development is not going away and how companies approach this service is key to their success. Working with Agile Methodologies has its challenges yet in the end, both client and provider win.