Everyone’s using Agile methodologies for software development, but do they know what it is?

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nearshore software outsourcing

You’ve probably heard of Agile. You may also be familiar with Scrum, Crystal, Feature-Driven Development (FDD), and other Agile frameworks. But if you’re turning to nearshore software outsourcing for your project, and the team is using the Agile methodology, you should know exactly what it is and what it will mean for your product.

Introduced in 2001, Agile is essentially a mindset based on a set of principles written in the Agile Manifesto. These developers and technology professionals were looking for an approach to adapt software development to the ever-changing technology landscape. This method, they believed, would bring the focus back to users and individuals, functionality, and collaboration, rather than the nitty-gritty of the development cycle.

Today, many offshore and nearshore software development companies use Agile. So, to return to the initial question, what exactly is it?

What is Agile?

Agile is not a process, per se, but a way of thinking and approaching software development. It is based on values such as:

  • People first
  • Collaboration
  • Delivering value
  • Gathering feedback
  • Planning
  • Continuous learning
  • Sustainability
  • Efficiency
  • Adapting
  • Being transparent

In fact, the 12 principles in the Agile Manifesto begin with “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.”

If you’re working with nearshore development services that are using Agile and its principles to create your product, you can expect them to collaborate with you, solicit feedback regularly, and keep you informed at all stages. That’s why it’s a good choice in the case of nearshore software outsourcing — you can be sure that the team is being fair, open, and honest and putting you, your company, and its product first.

Because Agile is an approach, software development teams use it to guide and inform their process. They should continually return to the principles if they encounter obstacles to course-correct. In fact, the 12th principle states, “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.”

Benefits of Agile

You can probably see from the guiding principles of Agile just how helpful the methodology can be for your software development, especially when you’re using nearshore software outsourcing to build your product. Here are some of the more specific advantages of using Agile:

Upgrade from Waterfall

Before Agile, the industry-standard was Waterfall. This approach left much to be desired. Developers largely worked on their own, rather than communicating and collaborating with other team members, causing a lack of transparency. Because the coders weren’t working closely with and informing quality assurance (QA) testers and vice versa, bugs and defects fell through the cracks.

Agile presents a huge upgrade. Through this model, everyone is informed, and collaboration and communication are prioritized.

High-quality results

If you use nearshore development services that practice Agile, you’ll state your requirements upfront, and the team will keep you updated on its progress. They’ll also test regularly — in many cases every day — during the software development cycle and keep you informed about any issues or defects, as well as make changes if need be. This means fewer problems down the line when you’re ready to launch your product.

You’ll be closely involved and can request adjustments based on the information your nearshore software development team provides. This transparency will likely mean a higher degree of customer satisfaction as well.

In the case of nearshore software outsourcing, it can sometimes be difficult to stay on schedule and understand all the costs you’ll incur upfront. With Agile, teams work quickly and efficiently and can better predict turnaround.

Moreover, because the schedule is fixed from the beginning, the team can better estimate how much the product delivery will cost from the beginning. And because you’ll be informed every step of the way, you’ll understand where these estimates are coming from and ask for adjustments as needed.

Customer satisfaction

Through the Agile method, development teams complete a set amount of work in short cycles called sprints. These short periods allow for an immediate review of the work, so developers make progress quickly or know immediately if an approach won’t work. Ultimately, this means that the process is more likely to create a product that satisfies the client.

Flexibility

You’ll be kept in the loop as your nearshore development services build your product. If you want to make any changes along the way, the team will readily adapt to your needs, given Agile’s client-centric approach.

When you employ a nearshore software development team that uses Agile, you can expect to be closely involved with its efforts. You’ll also achieve high-quality results and incur fewer risks and greater predictability and flexibility when following this “people-first” methodology. Given these benefits, it’s no wonder so many software development companies of all types and sizes are turning to Agile.

I don’t think this applies to Agile. In fact, one of the biggest drawbacks of using it is that the outcome is less predictable than with a Waterfall approach. That’s because Agile contemplates the possibility of changing features mid-development based on feedback. That’s why Agile is used for new software solutions or to take new directions in software development (because is more about validating hypothesis with every new software iteration). Please check the source from where you got this and let me know, because it contradicts what I understand about Agile.

A few different sources I read discuss how Agile make projects more predictable, particularly in terms of costs and timelines (see two links below). Perhaps clarifying these two metrics in the subtitle would help make it clear that we’re not necessarily talking about the outcome?

Ten Benefits of Agile Project Management

8 Benefits of Agile Software Development

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