February 25, 2012

The Benefits of Being Agile

As the pace of technological innovation has accelerated in the last several years, software development methodologies have matured in parallel. Software products today are conceived and delivered more rapidly than ever before, thanks in part to the growing popularity of agile software development.

3Pillar has been an agile development partner since we were founded, so the attention heaped on agile thanks to books like Eric Ries’ “The Lean Startup” didn’t come as a complete surprise to us. Every day we see firsthand evidence of the benefits our clients reap by using an agile development methodology.

Agile emphasizes these tenants that ultimately result in higher-quality applications and software products:

  1. A reduced time-to-market ideology. One of the key tenants of agile is that products are released early so that product stakeholders can get feedback from users throughout the development process. Gone are the days when software was developed in prolonged phases where many months, if not years, went in to the development of software applications before their release. Globally, software development companies are offering software development services with agility and also conforming to development best practices. This includes putting software through early production cycles to get user acceptance feedback. Also known as Scrum software development methodology, software service providers are coming one step closer to software specifications and creating iterative prototypes that are receptive and evolve with each iteration. These prototypes are enhanced, tested, and enhanced again until all functional and non-functional requirements are met.
  2. Requirements are validated as they are introduced. In agile, we gather requirements in real-time and add them to what’s known as the product backlog. The product backlog contains functional design, development, and testing tasks. This helps in saving requirement gathering time and validates requirements earlier than you would using the traditional waterfall method. Requirements get validated much earlier than conventional methods.
  3. Utilizing frameworks. Presently with the advent of cloud computing and related technologies, time-consuming software development tasks can now be further optimized. Cloud technologies introduce on-demand platforms like LAMP, WAMP, JBoss, and Visual Studio, which can be provisioned in minutes and de-provisioned once development is over.

The use of agile development methodologies has opened new avenues for businesses looking to employ software products to leverage emerging technologies and monetize data and information. Be it applications running prime business processes or supporting processes, software agility and adaptability are areas that will increasingly determine the future success or failure of any organization.