John Pereless is President / CEO of Pereless Software, a global software development firm delivering business solutions and custom applications to customers including National Geographic Channel, Fox, PepsiCo, and Nokia Siemens Networks. He is responsible for the strategic and overall business development of Pereless.
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An Introduction to Agile Software Development
Agile software Development encapsulates a collection of software development methodologies in which the requirements are met by cross functional teams. Though the methodology of Agile dates back to the 90s but it was only in 2001 that its theories received due consideration. In this development process, the process of software design is fragmented into small pieces. The basic components of agile are client collaboration, teamwork, high degree of adaptability and time boxes.
The programming teams for agile software development are broken down into small groups of five to ten programmers. The smaller size of the group makes way for daily and planned interactions. Prevailing corporate identities are not considered as group members as each person is equally important for the completion of time box. Each team is provided direct access to a customer relation expert so that all the queries emerged during the process of development can be sorted out in a timely manner. Client satisfaction is the foremost concern in agile development.
Also known as iterations, time boxes are short frames of time in the design process and they are usually of one to four weeks. The component of code is constructed by the teams during this time. The entire process of software design is contained in the iterations and at the end of the time period a bug free component is produced. Teams have to perform the tasks of designing, planning, analyzing, coding and testing before the component is presented to the clients. This is the main difference between agile method of software development and the bulky designs like ‘Waterfall model’ which require the project to be completed before the approval or the denial by clients.
The feedback from clients offers the software a greater degree of adaptability within the single method. The troubleshooting of issues by the programmer during the process of development provides room for innovative thinking. In the agile model of software development, the clients assess and ranks their requirements based on the value of each component with respect to their business. The quantity of generated documentation is very less in this model as compared to other development models.
The main approaches used in agile development include scrum, adaptive software development, extreme programming, Dynamic Systems development Method (DSDM), feature targeted and clear development. The approaches are targeted towards the people cantered approach for software development. Agile method may not be suitable for all software projects but it is still considered as very valuable for some.