Agile Manifesto Software Development Research Paper

Pages: 12 (3646 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Computers/Internet - Software

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Lean development and Kanban focus on simplicity and a non-waste mentality. Each of the five most popular methods thus represents some aspect of these 12 principles.

Differentiating between Agile Methods and Traditional Waterfall Methods

The main difference between Agile methods and traditional waterfall methods is that Agile incorporates testing of the software into every iteration whereas waterfall has testing as its own unique phase at the end of development. Thus, in waterfall it is not uncommon for defects in development to be discovered late in the process, whereas in Agile they will be discovered and corrected during the iteration phase (Balaji & Murugaiyan, 2012).

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Another big difference is that Agile promotes a product mentality rather than a project mentality. In traditional waterfall methodologies the project itself is seen as the all-encompassing objective and it is broken down into phases, with one phase being completed before a new phase is begun. This gives the project a pre-defined scope and character. Agile does not embrace such a style but rather views each iteration as a product in and of itself so that the focus—as in Scrum—is on delivering a product within just a matter of weeks and allowing that product’s value to dictate how the team proceeds from that point forward as it tackles the next requirement of the client (Mahalakshmi & Sundararajan, 2013). The waterfall approach uses Software Development Lifecycle phases (SDLC) in order to guide the overall project and keep it within a time frame. The agile approach uses iterations, which are typically around 2 weeks, to keep the products coming at a rapid pace as they provide the consumer with something tangible to see and understand and give feedback on along the way. In the SDLC framework, the consumer does not receive anything until the project is concluded.

Best Practices for Applying Agile Methods to Project Management

Research Paper on Agile Manifesto Software Development Assignment

Agile methodology can be applied to the realm of project management and best practices have been identified for doing just that (Sutherland, Viktorov, Blount & Puntikov, 2007). For example, Kanban provides a framework for project managers to use that promotes transparency and better understanding of the work flow so that all stakeholders involved in a project can see the progress to date and know who is waiting on deliver of what so that another portion of the project can commence.

Traditional project management methodologies tend to be linear: they begin with a project initiation and proceed to planning and execution stages. Performance is monitored and finally the project comes to a close. This is essentially the waterfall model: the client’s needs are specified, the project is designed in total around those specifications, the project design is then implemented and progress is monitored with goals being determined according to phases that are pre-determined (VanderLeest & Butler, 2009).

Agile methods applied to project management focus instead on flexibility of design, work phases being broken down further into micro-cycles—i.e., sprints as they are known in Scrum; team members are communicative throughout the entire process and everyone collaborates well with others. Iterations are designed to yield a product and that product is passed on to the consumer for feedback, and the client is thus made an integral part of the process all the along the way (Fernandez & Fernandez, 2008). Project managers who use agile methods can better manage any change in priorities that are communicated by clients to the team. They can also increase the team’s motivation and ability to perform by breaking down work into sprints and providing tasks on a day-to-day basis. By using a framework like Kanban, they can create a visual display of how the work flow will be, which helps create a sense of transparency and understanding among workers.

Benefits of Agile Project Management Methods for My Organization

The benefits of agile project management methods for my organization are enormous considering that there is a need for companies like mine to have more customer-oriented services, such as online shopping, that customers can use to add convenience to their day. For example, my organization is a grocery chain with stores across the country. It is traditional for customers to come to the store, shop and checkout their items at that checkout line. However, because there has been so much innovation in shopping over the last two decades thanks to the Internet, customers have multiple options when it comes to getting their groceries. Amazon offers delivery services so that consumers do not even have to leave their homes to get their goods. As a competitor, our organization is faced with the task of matching Amazon’s customer-oriented shopping experiences. Yet our organization has to work fast in order to compete and not lose market share—which means the company must create some sort of web presence that allows consumers to shop online and either pick-up in store or have delivered to their homes.

That is where agile project management can come into play. It can help our company to increase its speed to market in terms of getting our product offerings onto a web-based platform that consumers can access conveniently from their homes. The Scrum approach would allow for an iterative approach—i.e., for a product to be delivered in quick time so that the organization can at least begin to have a presence online and allow customers to see what is available. The front end can be quickly produced and the back end segments can be added later: prioritizing the needs of the organization would be easier for the project manager to do if he adopts a flexible approach, like that used in Scrum, XP and Crystal.

In the end, the main benefit is a higher product quality: for our organization, our website would be based upon feedback that is obtained from consumers as one iteration is provided after another and feedback is incorporated into the next iteration. Thus, the project is constantly undergoing revision and testing with real consumers. The idea behind this is to be as customer-oriented as possible and to achieve a high rate of customer satisfaction (Ferreira & Cohen, 2008).

Increased project control, the mitigation of risk, and a quicker return on investment are other benefits that for my organization that agile project management can provide. For instance, using the Kanban framework, my company’s team members could see exactly how the work flow of the project is leading to the final outcome for each iteration, thus allowing everyone to stay on task. This gives the project manager a great deal of control in terms of communicating the whole picture to the team. Likewise, risk can be reduced by having the client actively engaged with team members in the development of the product: so for our company, our consumers would be providing constant feedback to our developers regarding the latest iterations put up online for the consumer to test and try out. This reduces the risk of getting to the very end of a project using traditional waterfall methods and having the consumer hate it—meaning the entire six months to a year was wasted. With agile project management, feedback is immediate after each iteration, and issues can be addressed quickly and thus mitigate the risk of total failure down the road. This in turn leads to a greater return on investment, as the organization is investing time and money in the development of the project and by the time it is completed wants to see a positive return. In agile project management that return is more likely to be guaranteed because the consumer will have been providing guidance all along the way so that the final iteration reflects the will of the consumer (Jyothi & Rao, 2011).

How Agile Techniques Influence the Leadership of a Project

Agile techniques can influence the leadership of a project by promoting flexibility and adaptability among project leaders. Leaders can focus less on the actual tasks and more on the people involved in making goals obtainable. In other words, leaders do not have to be micro-managers when agile techniques are implemented. In traditional waterfall approaches, the leader will conduct oversight of every operation and look at metrics to make sure tasks are being accomplished on time. With agile techniques, the leader focuses more on shoring up the morale of the workers and providing them with the means to collaborate and communicate with one another and with their clients so that everyone is on the same page and has the same idea of what is required for the product to get out the door.

Leaders using agile techniques will thus spend more time communicating with team members and making sure that information is passed along properly and less time looking at the work that is being done from one day to the next to make sure everything is in order. This obviously necessitates a great deal of trust and belief in the members of one’s team,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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