“Agile” may be a buzzword that gets tossed around a lot when it comes to product development, but it’s definitely a word that you want your developers to be familiar with.  An agile approach is fundamentally different from a traditional approach to managing software development, but it’s being adopted by more and more developers that want to save clients time and money while still meeting the needs of users.  We adhere to the principals of agile development at Rootstrap because we’ve seen the method in action, and we know it works.

Here are five reasons why:

Emphasis on User Involvement
Gone are the days of developers locking themselves away in dark rooms as they churn out a project.  Now, the user is front and center, and with agile, a user is involved throughout the entire development lifecycle.  It promotes real-time conversations between the user and team members which allows requirements to be prioritized based on user needs and also allows any emerging requirements to be quickly factored into the development.  This can make a product more intuitive and easier to use because its function and design is serving the user, not a rigid blueprint.

Empowered Project Team
In the very early stages of the life of a product, it’s tempting to have as little people in the room as possible.  The idea that “too many cooks spoil the broth” isn’t a factor here though.  In fact, it’s vital to have all the relevant team members present to hear and share ideas.  You need for your team to have a deep commitment and that comes from a sense of ownership.  From the top down every person is important, and therefore every person cares.  Breaking the hierarchy is one of the major reasons agile is replacing traditional software development and being embraced by developers the world over.

Constant Product Testing
In traditional product development there is a separate test phase.  After the designs, after the development, it’s time to see if the thing actually works.  The flaw here is obvious, and an agile approach corrects that.  Progress should be measured by working software.  With agile, the product is continuously tested throughout the entire project lifecycle.  Here the testing is actually part of the build, which means that it makes sure that each feature works properly as you go, not just at the end.  This way the software actually remains releasable through every step of development.

Regular Delivery of Product
Your competitors aren’t waiting; you can’t afford to either.  Agile puts a product in your hands quickly.  No more year-long projects.  Agile strives on feature-driven products with lightweight requirements that can be delivered in smaller pieces.  Constantly having the advantage of working prototypes helps reduce risks and allows the whole team the flexibility to change direction and develop features in priority order.  This flexibility is a key to cost-management and increasing the value of your product on release.  This also makes for a quicker release plan and allows real user data to be gathered which will drive decision-making as opposed to assumptions.

Complete Collaboration
This might seem like common sense, but it’s not a key principal in traditional software development – cooperation and collaboration.  Clients and developers have to be on the same page every step of the way.  It’s the quickest, most effective way to work toward everyone’s shared goal: a successful product.  Agile offers what others methods don’t, and that is complete transparency.  As a client, you’re never left in the dark and there are no surprises because you’re involved in all aspects of the product lifecycle.

Author

CEO and Co-founder of Rootstrap Ben Lee is the co-founder and CEO of Rootstrap, a digital development agency with a mission to destroy the development model and rebuild it from the ground up. After a brief correspondence with Fidel Castro at age nine, Ben decided to start doing things his own way, going from busboy to club manager at a world-class nightclub before he turned 18. Since then, Ben has founded or taken a leading role in 5 businesses in everything from software development to food and entertainment.