The Agile development model is based upon the product incremental model. While discussing Agile in reference to software development, the software product features are developed through quickly repeating “production” cycles. Typically, small product increments are developed at the end of each cycle. As the cycles keep on repeating, more and more features are developed and functionality is ”added” up towards the final product release. Development carried out in each cycle is thoroughly tested for any designing or development flaws, bugs, and instances of regression likely to occur. Only “shippable” product increments are to be developed through the incremental cycles to ensure that high quality of the product features is maintained at all times.
What is an Agile model in SDLC? In a nutshell, SDLC stands for “System Development Life Cycle”. Since the Agile model is based upon SDLC structure, it means Agile exhibits features typical of SDLC methods of development. The actual production process occurs through product increment cycles known as “sprints”.
There are several frameworks and methodologies under the Agile “umbrella”. They include Scrum, Extreme Programming or “XP”, Kanban etc.
Advantages of Agile SDLC
There are several advantages of Agile SDLC model.
- Increased customer or client satisfaction levels are availed by the rapid and continuous delivery of bug-free product features.
- People and personal interactions are considered more important than processes and tools. This improves team involvement and increases productivity since each person feels responsible for his or her work.
- Fully functional product features having high business values are delivered on a frequent basis.
- Personal or face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication. Personal involvement leads to accountability. Greater accountability results in increased productivity.
- The client and project owners are closely involved with the development work. They remain constantly appraised of all development activity. They clear the Story features. This can lead to the completion of successful projects.
- The team makes constant efforts to self-learn and improve the current working process.
- Changing market conditions and changes in the product design can be easily and effortlessly incorporated into the production cycle – even late in the product development cycle.
When should Agile SDLC model be used?
There are several indications of using Agile SDLC model. Perhaps, the most common reason why an Agile model is used is that changes can be readily incorporated into the project design. If the nature of the product were such that some, or many of the product features are likely to change over time, and the changes need to be incorporated in the product development cycle, Agile SDLC would be recommended. Agile frameworks are specially designed to incorporate changes – even late during the product design and production.
Secondly, almost new “extra” cost is incurred while incorporating the changes. The product is developed in an incremental manner. If a particular feature needs to be changed, the user story can be simply “updated” with the new acceptance criterion and feature description. During sprint planning, the story can be picked up for development purposes and “manufactured”.
Agile pre-supposes that the product is going to “change” with time and the entire model is based upon this assumption. New development can be easily introduced and existing can be effortlessly changed by the development team. At the most, the team loses a couple of day’s work depending upon the scope and nature of change. This is not possible with traditional Waterfall methods.
No special planning is required to incorporate the changes. A routine Agile process is more than sufficient to cater to the changes. The model is not required to be changed or modified in any manner to support the changes.