Agile Methods versus more Traditional Methods

25 Feb

Is Agile Software Development (ASD) a hype or does it deliver benefits that are destined to make this approach the main paradigm of development of the future?

ASD is a specific type of SDLC (System Development LifeCycle) and is up against the more traditional lifecycle methods such as the “Waterfall Model”, “Spiral Model” and the “V-Model”.

But what makes the Agile Methods stand out from the more Traditional Methods? Projects often fail due to a lack of sponsor involvement, poor scope management or even poor planning. In my opinion, the problem with traditional methods is that there is too much documentation involved and not enough physical action.

February 11th-13th 2001 is an important date for the diaries as it is the day that a Manifesto for Agile Development was announced.  This was the day that projects began improving and failure rates started lowering.

ASD is all about working with people, as a team and interacting with your customers directly.  There is a lot less number crunching and office time and much more human interaction.  Another advantage that ASD has over Traditional Methods is that it has very frequent, regular outputs of working, tested software.  ASD is often also open to change where as traditional methods were more opposed to change or anything new.

There are 4 main golden “rules” I suppose as such that make an Agile Method.

1Incremental – involves delivering releases regularly and not just once off.

2Cooperative – A close interaction between customers and developers resulting in a very good relationship

3Straightforward – no waft involved! The method is easy to learn and modify

4Adaptive – always open to change even late in the development process

I believe that it is Agile’s strong values and principles which make it stand out.  The 4 main principles that exist emphasise Communication, Simplicity, Feedback and Courage.

For me personally, it is Agile’s willingness and availability to accept change that makes it’s methods as successful as they are.

In the words of DarwinIt’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives.  It is the one that is most adaptable to change.

References: http://www.cathaldoyle.com

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