Jul 27 2017

Traditional Vs Agile Software Development

Nick

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Software development is conducted under one of two methodologies: Agile or Traditional. Agile processes offer benefits over traditional methods in just about every field. Often the most impactful benefit of Agile development is the cost savings over traditional practices. Here’s a look at why all of the work we do here at Tenex is done with Agility in mind!

The methodology a developer chooses dictates the entire approach they’ll take from start to finish for creating software. This includes everything from identifying and setting goals to how updates are implemented to what the finished product ends up being. Since clients are usually billed by the hour, it is important to be as efficient as possible. As its name implies, Agile development focuses on swiftly navigating the necessary steps and structuring them such that there minimal roadblocks. Traditional developers see software as a large single structure. Agile developers tend to see it as more of a complex entity consisting of separate parts constantly interacting with one another.

Traditionally, client requirements are first outlined then planned for. Then the developer lays out a framework for the software and builds on that until the original goals have been reached. After being shown to the client, feedback meetings determine what has met expectations and what needs to be re-worked. The nature of this practice leads to slow costly progress because time is often spent on structure & code that does not end up in the final product. Traditional development relies on having a comprehensive vision of the finished product before starting production. While many people feel they know what they need, it is usually the case that a final product is quite different from the starting idea.

Agile computing, on the other hand, eliminates wasted effort through regular communication and review. Instead of requiring the client to outline the whole project, a simple understanding of the necessary features is all that’s needed to get started. Knowing the end goals, the developer begins to work on the building blocks for the software. As minimum functionality of a feature or change is attained, or on a predetermined schedule, the project is reviewed and progress is assessed. Naturally, it is important to match the frequency of review with the impact of the change. This method of constant reassessment keeps a dev team focused on goals, rather than a rigid development schedule as with the traditional outlook. Recognizing that the software will go through multiple iterations promotes concentration on the task (or feature) at hand.

The more frequent client interaction associated with Agile Development helps to build peace of mind on both sides of the meeting table. The developer gains invaluable feedback about the things they are building and the client sees, regularly, what work is being done on their project. Not only does this make both parties happy, but it serves to cut costs by identifying changes that need to be made early on. Changes are always easier, quicker, and cheaper to implement this way. Costs are also brought down by the fact that agile testing is more targeted towards specific parts of a project and therefore, less cumbersome than the traditional route.

As technology continues to evolve, it becomes clear that Agile processes are the only way to go for professional software development. While there are individual methodologies in the Agile category, they all share a common characteristic: the short client-developer feedback loop. It keeps costs low, low costs keep clients happy and happy clients are the life blood of every development company. The future holds no place for expensive outdated methodologies. Your money and your time are worth much more than that!