Software development has taken a critical role in transforming businesses across the industries. As organisations and firms grow, they need IT solutions to handle new consumer demands, changing business environment, and increasing competition. For continuous and sustainable growth, companies should deliver timely innovations to streamline business operations and outdo competitors. Choosing the right project management approach for software development is important to deliver effective solutions within the budget and timelines.

This article will guide you on how to choose the right agile project management methodology without exceeding your budget, or compromising the quality of your product. Your best choice depends on the type and size of your project among other factors. First, we explore the main benefits of using agile methodologies in software development.

Why Choose Agile Software Development Methodology

The software industry has been evolving swiftly in the last few years. The dynamic nature of the sector has made it harder for developers to effectively manage software projects. According to a recent survey by Innotas, more than 50% of IT projects fail or do not meet the business expectations. This failure results from a number of project management challenges including;

  • Changing technologies.
  • Poor project planning.
  • Lack of effective communication.
  • High cost of development.
  • Low quality.
  • Competition in local and global software markets.

To minimize the rate of failure, it is important for developers to use a flexible development approach that allows delivery of quality solution at the right time. For this reason, software companies have been shifting to agile development methodology. Agile software development allows change of requirements at any stage of the project without incurring hefty costs. This reduces development related cost. Moreover, it enhances the quality, usability and sustainability of the final solutions.

What Are Some Benefits Of Using Agile Project Management Practices?

Stakeholder engagement and customer satisfaction – Opens an opportunity for genuine interaction between the development team and the clients during the regular sprints. This enables the team to fully understand the client’s goal leading release of high quality software.

  1. Increased transparency – Clients are involved in every phase of the project through the sprint planning and review sessions. This increases the customer trust leading to stronger and lasting relationships.
  2. Improved software quality – Continuous design, development and testing allows the team to handle issues as they occur. Additionally, the iterative review enables the developers to improve tools and processes leading to higher quality.
  3. Risk mitigation – There is a working product right from the first iteration eliminating the chance of total project failure. It also lowers the risk of changing requirements and ensures early ROI, it only requires little up-front investment.
  4. On time and Budget completion – With sprints set between 1-4 weeks, it is easy to estimate cost for every sprint making it simple for the decision making process.

Understanding Agile Project Development Approach

In simple terms agile methodology is a software project management approach that enables development team to respond uncertainties when building software. It is an iterative model that allows quick assessment of the project progress throughout the development cycle. The process allows seamless collaboration between developers, business experts, and other stakeholders to design and develop ideal solutions.

All agile software development practices are based on four core-values, and aims to promote the 12 agile principles as defined in the 2001 Agile Manifesto. These core values are:

  • Focusing more on interactions and individuals than processes and tools.
  • Importance of working solutions over documentation.
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
  • Ability to respond to change over following a standard plan.

How do you choose the right agile methodology for your software development team?

There are a variety of agile software development methods in use today but they are not equal. Each methodology has its own processes and tactics. Selecting the most appropriate agile methodology for your project depends on your purpose. To make the right decision, it is important to understand the various available options.

Common Agile Methodologies and their Suitability to a Given Project

  1. Scrum

Scrum is the most popular agile model that provides extensive management and control over increments and iterations for a wide range of projects. With sprints scheduled between 1 and 2 weeks, it enables frequent delivery of working software. It also involves sharing of responsibilities among the different parties involved in the development project as follows:

The client/ product owner is responsible for all matters relating to the business including making prioritization decisions.

The scrum master/ the project manager directs the development team to deliver effective results. This involves eliminating obstacles, organising meetings and discussions and monitoring progress.

The development team is responsible for choosing and implementing the appropriate technical activities to achieve the project objectives.

Scum is ideal for a wide range of software and engineering projects that involves small teams of between 5 and 9 members.

  1. Kanban Software Development

Closely related to Scrum, Kaban approach is designed to facilitate the efficiency of teamwork. It emphasizes on continuous delivery of software features without straining the team. It is built on three basic values:

  • Visualizing tasks within the context of others.
  • Minimal WIP – Limiting work in progress so that the development team is not overloaded.
  • Improving work flow – Take on the next task as soon as you complete the one in hand.

It is suitable for development projects that require steady output with no limitation on the team or project size.

  1. Extreme Programming (XP)

XP is an agile software development model that focuses on improving the quality to address customer needs. It involves short iterations scheduled at 1 to 3 weeks and continuous collaboration between the client and development teams. The model follows for core values:

  • Simplistic design.
  • Seamless communication.
  • Constant feedback.
  • Coding standards.

It is ideal for large and complex development projects where plan-based methodologies cannot work. It is also effective with small teams, not exceeding 10, of highly qualified and experienced players.

  1. Crystal Clear Method

Crystal clear model emphasizes on people over processes. It is based on 3 compulsory principles:

  • Frequent delivery.
  • Reflective increment.
  • Gradual communication.

It is suitable for project teams of 6 to 8 members, and a wide range of both small and large intensity. The iteration may be scheduled for up to four months for complex software projects.

In summary, there is no clear route to the right agile methodology. It all depends on the nature of the development project and your purpose. However, agile software development models follows a similar framework which involves: frequent delivery, stakeholder collaboration and improvements. Moreover, it is advisable to find a tool that enhances communication, involves the customer, and minimizes software development risks.