Now that you’ve decided to outsource software development, it’s important to familiarize yourself with agile technology. It’s going to prove to be your best friend throughout the phase of product development.
So what is agile development?
Agile is an iterative and incremental development methodology that allows teams to incorporate user feedback and changes while the development is underway.
With agile, a project is divided into small increments. Each increment is designed, developed, tested and deployed before the next increment is started. As you ship small increments, you get user feedback constantly, which can be incorporated along the way.
You start with the increments you are most certain of (like login and signup functionalities that are necessary), leaving the more uncertain functionalities for later. This gives you the time you need to incorporate any user feedback.
Although every company claims to be agile, most of them tend to have their own version of it. While the “philosophy” remains the same, the practices are adapted to suit a team’s preferences.
Here is an example of an agile development setup, where the project is divided into the following increments:
- Releases or Iterations: A release is the “demo-able” state of the product. Releases are planned in a way that after each release, you can organize a product demo for customers and get feedback. A release would contain multiple modules.
- Modules: Modules can be described as functionalities, like registration flow, chat, picture sharing etc. A module may be defined through a collection of user stories.
- Stories: User stories are the smallest unit of development. For instance, “Reset Password” is a user story, which is part of the “Login” module.
In the planning stage, your focus should be to break down the project into such sections and work with the developers to come up with a timeline. Every story and module, at least in the first iteration, should have an estimated deadline in place. Subsequent iterations can be planned as and when they are completed.
Agile development is necessary for the process of software development. It helps it flow smoothly, accommodates feedback, and makes room for reviews at different phases. It’s almost impossible to imagine the success of the project without it.
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