Last week, we touched upon the changing rules that Technology VCs are adopting and how that is changing the face of new product development. This week, our focus is on how Agile is changing the rules of software development.
When Agile first started making an appearance, it was viewed as yet another development fad. But with Agile showing dramatic improvements in delivery time, quality of software and a reduced number of strategic mistakes compared to the waterfall model, it has taken a broader role in software development today. A number of companies practice Agile as a product development methodology from project inception to delivery, support and end-of-life phases.
However, Agile is not about using Scrum, Extreme Programming or RUP. It’s about using the best agile practices to respond to today’s frequently changing business needs. Using the waterfall model, frequent changes to software is difficult – the development cycle is long, systems are over engineered and end up costing a fortune.
Agile as an alternate development methodology evolved from the need for dynamic systems that can rapidly adapt to change. One basic tenet of Agile – simplicity – comes out of this need. Build the simplest possible system that satisfies today’s requirements and when tomorrow comes, be ready to adapt.
Agile is not fool-proof though. It is still evolving and there are some situations where it may not be applicable. The trick is to find out the right mix of techniques from Waterfall, Agile and other development methods that suit your particular product development needs, adapt those techniques and implement them!