Agile Software Development
~5 min read

Agile development: The success factor

Today, software development is an elementary component in almost every industry, whether for the introduction of new products or process optimisation.

Fast results instead of outdated processes

Agile software development is an elementary component of corporate or organisational development in almost every industry today. It is a success factor for companies in various areas: It helps with the introduction of new products, optimises the productivity of companies or accelerates work processes in projects. We explain how agile software development leads to more efficiency.

Successful software development for short development times

These success factors can also be proven: According to the Software Development Handbook (McKinsey, 2016), the top performers develop their software up to three times faster than average companies in the same industries using agile software development. The most successful companies also achieve 70% shorter development times for new products and applications. Smart, flexible software development makes this possible.

Software development with agile methods

One of the most modern and efficient approaches to software development is agile software development. Agile software development is the generic term for a range of innovative development concepts that lead to timely results and fewer errors. The core idea: to optimise agility and thus the entire development process through transparency and flexibility. To meet these demands, agile methods rely on self-organised development teams and iterative, incremental work processes. In combination with open communication among all participants and regular roll-outs, it guarantees continuous improvement and fast results.

What agile methods are there?

Agile software development can be implemented in different forms. The most common application at the moment is the Scrum method, but there are a number of other options, such as Extreme Programming (XP), Crystal Methods or the Dynamic System Development Model (DSDM), each of which offers a different focus. What all these agile approaches have in common, however, is the basic principle of short sprint cycles with iterative repetitions, which clearly distinguishes them from older, outdated work processes.

Agile software development: The advantages at a glance

The short sprints are also one of the enormous advantages of developing with flexible working methods. They make it possible to deliver individual parts of the software, test them and make them available directly. This allows customers faster access, thus shortening the time-to-market and creating an important competitive advantage. The constant delivery is also significant in another aspect: through the incremental provision of functional software, difficulties and problems can be quickly identified and solutions, possibly also a reorientation of the project, can be undertaken. The flexibility thus ensures easier problem management and reduces risks.

High quality and flexible approaches

Associated with the advantages of permanent code delivery (Continuos Delivery) is above all a high quality of the results achieved with agile software development. This quality is further enhanced by additional areas such as automatic testing and a high level of transparency in the individual work steps. The flexible approach to agile projects is also advantageous in the event of upcoming changes during the software project. Precise planning is the basis, but in practice certain developments can lead to the software having to be changed at short notice. With agile software development, these quick, short-term adjustments are no problem.

Improved cost control

In addition, agile working methods offer improved cost control. The high adaptability in agile projects offers the possibility to quickly respond to changing requirements and needs of the customer and to develop and pay only for the functions that the customer needs.

Technical requirements for agile software development

Aspects such as automated testing and continuous delivery form the basis for a high quality of the desired products on the one hand - and thus an advantage when working with agile methods. On the other hand, they show that the introduction of this way of working requires some technological prerequisites to be implemented successfully. For example, it makes sense to set up a platform that allows access to all regularly used development environments and applications in the form of platform plug-ins, for example. This availability guarantees the high flexibility that the development team needs to ensure the smooth delivery of software.

Agile software development: basis for process improvements

The establishment of such a platform contributes with its functions a part to the improvement of the infrastructure of a project. In order for this to be as effective as possible - and in order to be able to make further potential improvements to the processes - a precise knowledge of the complete infrastructure is important. This overview is at the same time the basis for embedding and interweaving the agile methods with the other divisions of the company. Transparent communication is elementary for this interconnectedness. This shows an additional aspect of the technological prerequisites: the correct use of efficient tools. Communication can be ensured by combining or using different tools such as instant messenger, chat and cloud services. Other possible applications include online dashboards for project development or project progress monitoring.

Agile vs. classic: rethinking software development

For companies, switching to agile methods can seem challenging at first. Where can you find a start? How does agile software development work in one's own company? To answer these questions, cooperation with a service company can be useful. IT experts advise companies on which steps lead to the successful achievement of goals and how agile can help. If the company itself lacks the resources, agile software development can also be outsourced. Of course, the method still leads to qualitative results becoming visible quickly.

Agility: The future of software development

The increasing use of software development in companies reflects the general development of future-oriented companies: In times of digital change, it becomes essential to adapt to the new challenges in terms of fast and dynamic change. Agile software development picks up on these dynamics and not only presents possible solutions, but also combines them with various advantages.

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