The Agile methodology is one of the most popular structures for software development and project management, and it exists in such high standing because it consistently produces results. Aside from the end product, there are a ton of Agile methodology advantages that you should be aware of, all of which we’ll outline in this article.
Agile Methodology Review
The Agile methodology is a workflow ideology that is characterized by the fast and high-quality delivery of a product. It is specifically defined in our comprehensive overview as “The Agile methodology is a workflow ideology that emphasizes cyclical improvements, collaboration, and frequent adaptation in order to solve problems.”
There are many different ways you can apply Agile to your workflow, whether it be through general rules to follow or via popular project management techniques like scrum. What these techniques all share is the benefit of the Agile mindset.
The reason Agile is so successful with teams is it makes everyone’s job easier, and in turn allows them to perform their tasks at a higher efficiency. You gain more control over how your projects are run and can emphasize a quality end product. These are all important things to remember in terms of the Agile methodology and will be important as we walk through the biggest Agile methodology advantages.
Improves Product Quality
One of the biggest goals of using the Agile methodology is to improve the overall quality of the product you deliver. This could look like a full-scale release, a specific section, or even a test. Regardless of the thing you’re delivering, doing so through the Agile methodology promises to yield better results.
This is due to the fact that testing and quality assurance are both integral parts of the Agile methodology. As your team proceeds through multiple iterations and cycles, you will better understand exactly what the client wants and will be able to accurately deliver that. Additionally, the client is traditionally very involved in the development process so their vision will be very clear to you and your team.
The agile methodology is focused on efficiency, and one of the best strategies to increase efficiency is to eliminate waste. When we mention waste, we are referring to tasks or processes that take exorbitant amounts of time without yielding significant rewards. These are typically manual tasks that can be grouped up or automated or tasks that are communicated poorly. Because of this miscommunication or redundancy, they overlap with multiple people, resulting in wasted time.
The Agile methodology does a good job of removing rework by integrating communication into every aspect of the workflow. Especially in regards to agile strategies like kanban or scrum, there is a physical board that tracks every task being accomplished by the team. When using these boards there is absolutely no room for miscommunication and everyone has a very clear overview of what their assignments look like.
Constant communication and project diagramming mean Agile teams are able to eliminate waste and increase their efficiency.
Builds Team Cohesion
One of the most important Agile methodology advantages is its ability to promote team building. Agile teams usually organize themselves and because of the fast sprints they undertake, they often work very closely on completing these tasks.
When working like this, Agile teams are required to maintain frequent communication in order to stay aligned on the completion of the current project. Teams will meet daily to discuss strategy, their shared struggles, and things that need to be improved. This communication is key to building consensus within a team and helps each person better understand their role and their teammates.
Especially as your team builds chemistry with one another, you will begin to notice patterns of collaboration that appear due to their familiarity with working with one another. This demonstrates the power the Agile methodology has to build team cohesion.
Addresses Customer Needs
As we previously mentioned, one of the reasons Agile is so popular with software development teams is because it gives the client a lot of room to operate. The customer is consistently involved in the development process and has ample decision-making power. This helps increase both customer retention and customer satisfaction.
The reason customers are so involved in the Agile methodology is the development process calls for multiple iterative sprints, allowing room for pivots, reprioritization, and updates. This gives clients multiple opportunities to insert their opinion and have their say on the direction of the project.
When your team can consistently meet the standards and changing demands of the customer, they will be extremely satisfied with both the results and the process.
Increases Control & Flexibility
When running through a project, one of the most helpful things your team can do is remain open to new ideas and be flexible about changing their roadmap. The Agile methodology is centered around maximizing these traits and providing your team with as much control and flexibility as possible.
There are certain features of the Agile methodology that grant you better control over the project. Things like task transparency, consistent check-ins, and a system of quality control make it much easier to control the pace of the project while ensuring quality throughout.
Having flexibility within your team is one of the key pillars of Agile. Teams and individuals work in short sprints integrated into a larger network of team communication and feedback from the product owner. This means changes to the vision can be implemented fast and will be circulated through the entire team.
Additionally, since a single project is completed within multiple sprints, changes can be incorporated at any time without disrupting the end goal. These changes would traditionally be costly and time-consuming, but with Agile, they’re easy and harmless.
Having increased control and flexibility is one of the reasons teams everywhere integrate Agile and is one of the biggest agile methodology advantages.
Creates Cyclical Improvements
As we’ve mentioned already, one of the key pillars of the Agile methodology is working in short, organized sprints. One of the big advantages of working in a series of sprints is it allows your team to reflect on each sprint and posit what could be improved for next time.
This embodies the importance that continuous improvement holds in the agile methodology. Being able to conduct retrospectives with your team and build a more efficient dynamic each time you finish a sprint is incredibly valuable and a big agile methodology advantage.
This also makes your team more efficient when collaborating together and increases your value as an asset to any new customers.
The last Agile methodology advantage we’ll mention is the ability to manage risk. This is another symptom of working in small sprints and focusing on continuous delivery. When your team needs to pivot to another priority, or you realize there was a mistake made in the past, you don’t ever have to go back to the drawing board and restart the project. There will always be something that can be salvaged and used moving forward, and since you’re constantly checking in to ensure quality, there will be several successful layers you can fall back on.
Being able to regularly check-in and ensure things are developing successfully, your team will be able to spot and clear potential roadblocks more easily. Being able to overcome these issues before they become threatening creates a good internal system of risk mitigation that your team can utilize going forward.
Whether you’re hoping to increase team efficiency, create a more collaborative environment, or decrease your overall risk, integrating the Agile methodology is a great way to accomplish all of the above. Hopefully, this article helped outline some of the biggest Agile methodology advantages and if you want to learn more about how to integrate Agile into your virtual team, make sure you check out Fresco.