How Agile Methodology Can Improve the Workflow of Your Business
Every industry looks for efficiency in process, and therefore humanity has always sought to invent, improve, and improvise. Without this impulse, we would still be living in the stone age. Some human advancements arrived by random chance, such as the discovery of penicillin, which was one of the most fortunate incidents in scientific history when Alexander Fleming found mold in a disregarded lab dish. Other human improvements were much more by design, such as the assembly line created by Henry Ford to manufacture his Model T car; this new way of working cut production time to almost a quarter of what it previously was. Innovations such as this should be what every business in every industry strives to achieve. Agile Methodology is one such idea that has taken hold over the last couple of decades. Here we take a closer look at what Agile Methodology is, where it came from, and how it can be used in a variety of industries.
So, What is It?
It is, in its purest form, a methodology that puts the changing needs and desires of the customer or the market first before everything else. Flexibility and adaptability are at the core of this philosophy, and it is really a way of structuring your approach to and thinking about projects. No matter when a change in strategy is required, no matter how far down the process we are, it needs to be possible and be embraced. The whole project should have space in the workflow for this type of eventuality built in from the start of the planning process. This process ensures that we avoid stubborn refusal to change, individuals who are so pig-headed and arrogant that they will continue with a harmful strategy to feed and satisfy their own ego. Many consider this to be a cause in some ways, and you will often hear the Methodology referred to as the Agile Manifesto as well.
At the very heart of agile Methodology is people; it is believed that the skills and personalities of the individuals are more important than the hardware, software, or other tools that may be used in the creation of the product. This goes back to our earlier point of avoiding stubbornness, as good people should be working collaboratively which ensures discussion and a measure of internal quality control. No one person can have the optimal ideas one hundred percent of the time, and in agile Methodology, the idea of the single genius creator is not one that is embraced. Collaboration between developers and the customer is also considered to be crucial to success. After all, it is the customer that we are designing for, and no matter how impressed the team is with its creation, it’s the users in the field that ultimately can give the most relevant feedback on how effective a product is in the end.
It’s important to remember that agile Methodology is an umbrella term for a variety of different work processes. We don’t have time and space here to give a detailed account of how all of them work. But here is a quick overview:
Scrum is a methodology of trying to use simple frameworks to complete complex projects and principally splitting tasks into small working groups of 7-9 people.
Extreme Programming (XP) is one way of working where collaboration is vital and often involves one programmer observing another to advise, learn, or suggest a strategy.
Adaptive Software Development (ASD) has at its heart continuous adaptation and involves constant learning, adaptation, and feedback between professionals and customers until a result is found.
Dynamic Software Development Method (DSDM) is a type of project management where an initial plan is implemented incrementally and carefully, allowing adaptation and change as the project progresses.
Feature Driven Development (FDD) is a process where large teams of people will come together to deliver projects in a short space of time.
Kanban is one of the most prominent working methods in the agile family of processes, and it is a, “non-disruptive evolutionary method for improvement,” meaning teams are to deliver small successes every two to three weeks.
Behavior Driven Development (BDD) brings a more prominent role than usual to non-technical individuals through testing and feedback.
What Are Its Origins & Where is it Going?
Agile Methodology came from the 1990s initially, and was solely in use in digital industries, but can be found in all types of business now since it is so effective. Agile processes are still going strong, many top firms are employing these methods today, and it’s not going away.
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