I keep reading and hearing about agile methodology, agile software development, agile project management, scrum methodology, waterfalls…. and sometimes wonder wtf is going on. These terms sound great, but you can often get lost in the terminology and yet this is the time to know exactly what these terms are all about. Many corporates are embracing this methodology since it encourages a different way of working that is self-managed, innovative, customer focused and nimble. I’ve been doing a bit of reading around on agile methodology and in this post thought i would summarise what i have learnt:
Agile Methodology Ain’t a Methodology
Yeah, and agile ain’t anything new! It is a new way of thinking that dates back to 2001, when 17 software guys pulled together the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. The beauty of the Agile Manifesto lies in its simplicity – just 4 key principles:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.
So when you hear people talking about Agile, they’re basically talking about the above 4 principles. Thats it.
12 Principles of the Agile Manifesto
These principles are so simple its unreal. Check out the Principles behind the Agile Manifesto for full details, following are my quick and dirty notes:
- Customer satisfaction through the early and continuous delivery of software
- Not being phased by changing requirements, no matter what stage of the project
- Delivering frequent software updates
- Business and IT folks working together on a daily basis
- Providing motivated individuals with the right environment, support and trust
- Encouraging face to face conversation
- Working software is the main indicator of progress
- Sustainable development
- Focusing on technical excellence and good design, which will enable agility
- Keeping it simple
- Self-governing teams bring out the best in each other
- The need for continuous review and adjustment
Okay, so what the heck is Scrum?
Again scrum has been talked about for years. Its origins go back to the Harvard Business Review paper The New New Product Development Game, which was later refined by Jeff Sunderland, the founder of the scrum methodology. Imagine an umbrella of Agile, under which you have different methodologies – Scrum is one of those.
Like the movement of a rugby team, as a close knit unit, up the field of play with intricate passes of the ball – the scrum methodology embraces similar principles in the workplace.
- Some key roles: Product Owner, Scrum Master and the Team
- Sprints: typically last a couple of weeks, during which a small chunk of work is completed and delivered to the customer
- After a sprint review, the next sprint is started and so the process repeats itself
Which companies are embracing Agile?
Check out the following articles for further information:
- Bank Innovation – Agile development in banking
- BBVA – Scrum, agile… BBVA’s new ways of working to accelerate its transformation
- BBVA – Agile Methodology. The revolution of the ways of working
- American Banker – Agile Development Is Reshaping Tech at Banks Like Chase and BBVA
But wait, what is Waterfall Model of Software Development?
You could view the Waterfall Model as being the old school way of doing things, involving a number of sequential phases. The number of phases varies depending on the model being used – the point here is that there are a number of sequential phases, one follows another:
- Requirements analysis
When should i use Agile versus Waterfall Model?