Agile Software Development: Principles, Use, Future

If you’ve been researching software application degrees, you most likely come across the phrase “agile software development”.

So what exactly is it, what are its benefits, and how often is agile development used in the software industry?

Agile software development is a broad term that describes a software development process in which a team of programmers and customers collaborate to refine the software through several iterations.

Why Use Agile Software Development?

The idea behind agile software development is to promote continual improvement as a product is being developed: delivering software incrementally, and regularly testing and changing it throughout the process. You can find principles of the agile manifesto online.

There are several versions of agile software development, but they differ from the so-called “waterfall model,” which is more linear and less focused on face-to-face interaction between programmers and customers.

In general, the agile method is meant to give software developers more freedom and flexibility, and help them respond to needed changes as a product is being created.

Benefits of agile software development include:

  • More engagement from clients
  • Better transparency
  • Earlier product delivery
  • Faster fixes
  • More predictable costs
  • Easier product refinement

Agile Software Development: Industry Use

The agile approach, initially created in 2001, is being used more and more in the software development industry.

A Florida Institute of Technology professor says agile software development is already part of the mainstream, according to a post on CIO Perspectives.

Nearly 85 percent of organizations are practicing agile development, up from 80 percent in 2011, according to a 2012 survey from VersionOne. More than 4,000 people from the software development community were surveyed.

The percentage of projects developed under the agile method is also on the rise: 59 percent in 2012, up from 50 percent in 2011, according to the survey.

In an evolving industry in which changes are based on technology, user experience and consumer demand, agile software development is becoming more popular.

A blog post from Segue Technologies sums it up well:

“Incorporating agile methodologies into your software development process can have a big impact on the overall success of your program, as well as the interim usefulness of your development and investment. Feedback and correction can occur quickly to fix small glitches before they become big problems. Communication throughout the process is also improved by the agile approach to project management. Overall, agile provides a lean and effective model for the successful development of software.”