Embracing agile software methodologies to improve workflows

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Developing software is fast these days. Software development is a leaner, faster and more optimized than ever before. Modern software development relies on agile methodologies to help create and guide project management, development processes and workflows.

The core of agile software development are a few once-revolutionary (now widely-accepted) hypotheses. These hypotheses were based off of years of participation, observation and consternation with the software development process.

Agile software development principles are based off of a few key tenets. Individuals and interactions have priority over processes and tools, no matter how appealing a technology may be. Working software is considered a barometer for the progress of the project over comprehensive documentation. Customer collaboration is valued over contract negotiation. And, finally, responding to change is welcomed. Rigidly following a plan is considered adverse to the development process.

These key tenets are further expounded upon by the 12 principles of agile development. These principles specify the priorities of software development in agile environments.

Welcoming change is one of the themes of these principles that can be seen quite often throughout. Responding to change, even late and development, is very important to agile environments. Because agile software development requires delivering working software as frequently as possible, change must be welcomed because edits and revisions happen in an ad hoc, just-in-time method.

Concentrating on the user experience, continuing to pay attention to technical excellence and good design, and enhancing simplicity, also known as the art of maximizing the amount of work not done, is essential to agile software development. In order to optimize the user experience, constant delivery, critique, and revision is needed. This happens as each feature is deployed. The software is built upon and revised upon in a fluid way that makes for better UX design once the product is ready to roll out into production.

It is also important to keep a sustainable pace. While agility is the goal in these types of software development environments, the most efficient and effective method for creating software is keeping a realistic timetable. Having bouts of productivity is actually counter to the process. A steady, consistent pace is of the utmost importance.

In order to keep pace, you will need to have consistent meetings with your team. Daily meetings, or scrum meetings, are the goal for software development teams in an agile environment. In these daily meetings software developers, engineers, and business people outside of the technical team go over all that has been accomplished and all that will be accomplished in the 24 hours to come.

These daily meetings are structured around larger timetables. These time periods are punctuated with certain goals and usually last around 30 days. At the end of this 30 day period is when big reviews happen of the software product, major revisions are proposed, and timetables are revised.

Although not explicitly mandated in the Agile Manifesto, there are a few other tips and tricks based off of agile methodologies that may be helpful to you. Having your teams sum up work in weekly reports, using kanban-based project management tools like Trello, and testing your software as you deliver it can help manage these large software product without each day becoming too burdensome for the team. There’s a lot of complexity to manage, but taking it one day at a time can really help skyrocket your team’s performance.

Building a software product is always going to be a challenging endeavor. Using existing agile methodologies with your own software processes and practices can help you a cheese the most you can and the shortest amount of time.

Spamming for continuous Improvement, constant change, and a consistent paste will help guide your team through the highs and lows of software development. Test agile hypotheses, get feedback from your team, and keep the deploying working software. Respond to change and revise your workflows as necessary.

In no time at all you’ll have a happy, productive and effective development process.

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