Choosing Agile Software to Improve Development Life Cycle (2023)

Every piece of software follows a process, from conception to release and beyond. Teams around the world have used Agile software development methods to improve the speed, efficiency, and effectiveness of their development life cycles.

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Choosing Agile Software to Improve Development Life Cycle (1)

Trying to work in an Agile way with tools that aren’t Agile can feel like swimming against the current. If you’d like to improve your software development life cycle and are familiar with Agile development practices, the next step might be to invest in a purpose-built Agile tool.

Purpose-built Agile software can bring your process to life through effective visualization, collaboration capabilities, and metrics that are meaningful and useful to furthering your Agile journey.

But choosing the right Agile tool, like any software buying decision, can be tricky. There are several methodologies within Agile that might influence how a piece of software is designed to be used. It’s also important to consider how the Agile software you select will integrate with other tools in your teams’ stack, and in your organization’s bigger technology footprint.

Aligning your goals, the specific Agile methodology your team follows, and the features and functionality of any Agile tool you’re considering is key to success.

Agile Software Development Methodology

First, let’s discuss what exactly the Agile development methodology is, as well as the types of Agile methodologies that exist within the broader umbrella of “Agile software development” – because understanding this can help you to make an informed software buying decision.

Agile software development is a set of guiding principles and values that teams around the world use to improve their software development processes.

(Video) Agile Software Development Lifecycle in 9 minutes! (The ONLY Agile SDLC Video YOU NEED...)

The core values of Agile, as expressed in the Agile Manifesto, include:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools: The Agile software development methodology emphasizes effective collaboration between competent people over overly complex processes and tools.
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation: A key element of Agile is frequent, iterative development – planning and producing work in small batches, and then testing that work in the market. As such, Agile methodology values working software – software that can be delivered to the market – over comprehensive documentation. Agile thinking is that good documentation is useful in helping people understand how a piece of software was built and how to use it, but ultimately the purpose of development is to create software (or in other disciplines, a functional product or service), not documentation.
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation: What determines whether a product or service is successful? Ultimately, it’s whether the product or service meets the customer’s needs. Agile methodology engages the voice of the customer in the development of products. It values active, frequent collaboration with customers to develop work that truly addresses real needs.
  • Responding to change over following a plan: Agile development methodology allows teams to deliver in small batches, frequently, with short planning cycles – so as plans change, teams can change with it.

There are many benefits to using the Agile software development process, which explains why the methodology is so popular. Agile teams have been found to deliver higher-quality products, faster, with greater predictability. Having the right Agile tool can help to ensure that your team maximizes these benefits.

The importance your methodology plays when choosing Agile software

We’ve shared that the term ‘Agile’ is an umbrella term which describes many practices, principles, and values used in software development and beyond. You might be familiar with team-level Agile methods such as Scrum, Kanban, etc.

Agile has evolved from software development to be a team-level methodology and a big-picture organizational strategy.

Agile Program Management is a term you might be familiar with, which describes the application of Agile practices and principles to planning and executing initiatives in teams of teams. With the growth of Agile Program Management, has come a host of Agile software designed to facilitate Agile Program Management and even Enterprise Agile Planning, an approach that involved planning, funding and managing delivery from the portfolio, down to the Agile teams.

Although you might be in the market for this (now or in the future), it’s also possible that software with Agile portfolio management capabilities might be overkill for your team’s needs.

So, in addition to understanding what type of Agile your team practices, when looking at Agile tools, it’s important to consider what scale of Agile you are looking to practice.

Like with any software buying decision, when you’re looking for Agile software, you’ll likely follow this process:

1) Identify the key attributes that define the software category.

2) Research which capabilities are essential in a possible solution.

3) Make a list of the questions you need to ask vendors to ensure a good fit.

(Video) An Ultimate Guide to Agile Software Development | Agile Methodology | Invensis Learning

Types of Agile methodologies

There are a variety of Agile development methodologies, including, but not limited to:

  • Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD)
  • Adaptive Software Development
  • Kanban
  • Scrum
  • Scrumban
  • Extreme Programming (XP)
  • Dynamic Systems Development (DSDM)
  • Feature Driven Development
  • Lean Software Development

The overall goal of each of these Agile methodologies is to adapt to change and deliver working software as quickly as possible. However, each methodology has slight variations in the way it defines the phases of software development.

Furthermore, even though the goal is the same, each team’s process flow may vary depending on the specific project or situation. Most Agile teams follow a software development life cycle that includes a step to plan, design, develop, test, and evaluate their software. Another commonality between most versions of Agile methodologies is that teams plan and execute in sprints, iterations that are usually two or four weeks in duration. This is distinctly different from traditional workflow management methods which might have indefinite timelines.

What is the Agile Software Development Life Cycle?

The term ‘Agile software development life cycle’ describes the process of applying Agile practices to the development of software, from conception to release and beyond.

The Agile software development life cycle includes the following steps:

  • Plan
  • Design
  • Develop
  • Test
  • Evaluate

Typically, Agile teams follow this life cycle in two-week sprints, or iterations. Assessing your needs for each of these steps can be a valuable exercise as you shop for the right Agile tool for your team.

Plan

During the planning phase of the Agile software development life cycle, the objective is to establish the goals for the work. This is also a time to collect feedback from stakeholders, plan around your team’s current capacity, and define the goals and objectives of the work.

You’ll want to make sure your Agile tool has the capabilities to manage this step of the planning process.

Key Agile software capabilities: visual management

Many Agile tools include visual management functionality, often in the form of Kanban boards. Kanban boards give the flexibility to easily model any workflow process, regardless of complexity or methodology, during the planning stage and beyond.

Choosing Agile Software to Improve Development Life Cycle (3)

Design

The Design step of the Agile software development process is where the team dives into the specific design requirements of the project. This can include defining the:

  • Architecture (programming language, industry practices, overall design)
  • User interface design
  • Platforms
  • Programming (programming language, methods of solving problems and performing tasks in the application)
  • Communications (how the application might communicate with other assets, such as a central server or other instances of the application)
  • Security (might include SSL traffic encryption, password protection, and secure storage of user information)

Key Agile software capabilities: integrations

The design stage of the Agile software development life cycle highlights the need for seamless integrations with other tools in your teams’ stack. The right Agile software will integrate with the tools you already use, drive team collaboration, and deliver enterprise-class security.

(Video) Agile Software Development life cycle | Agile Development | Agile

Choosing Agile Software to Improve Development Life Cycle (4)

Develop

The development stage of the Agile software development life cycle is where the magic happens! This is when the hard work of planning and designing gets brought to life, and includes development and troubleshooting errors along the way.

Development teams need to be able to stay aligned and connected throughout this process, communicating about any bugs, roadblocks, or changes in requirements as well as providing status updates to key stakeholders within the organization.

Key Agile software capabilities: real-time collaboration

Real-time collaboration and communication functionalities should be a must-have on your list of requirements for Agile tools.

Choosing Agile Software to Improve Development Life Cycle (5)

Test

After development, the product is ready to be tested. During the testing stage, the quality assurance (QA) team performs tests to ensure that the software is fully functional and meets the outlined requirements. If bugs or defects are detected, the developers will address them swiftly. User training will also take place during this stage, which will require documentation.

After the testing stage is complete, the product’s final iteration can be released to production.

Key Agile software capabilities: risk identification

Swift, clear risk identification and communication is critical during the testing stage. The right Agile software will allow you to visually communicate blocked work and identify process bottlenecks to ensure that risks to delivery are addressed as quickly as possible.

Choosing Agile Software to Improve Development Life Cycle (6)

Evaluate

Once the product is released, its journey is not finished: Although it is available to customers, it is not “done” – this iteration has simply been released. The evaluation stage is the time to collect user feedback, analyze data, generate ideas for improvement, and host retrospectives with the team to learn as much as possible from this sprint.

After the initial evaluation stage, teams can shift from ‘evaluation’ to ‘maintenance’ – constant, ongoing support of the product – and move onto the next iteration or a different functionality.

(Video) An Overview of Agile Development

Key Agile software capabilities: Lean and Agile metrics

The evaluation stage of the Agile software development life cycle provides teams with an opportunity to reflect and learn from their performance. Lean and Agile metrics can help teams track and measure how quickly work moves through the process to identify opportunities for meaningful improvement.

Choosing Agile Software to Improve Development Life Cycle (7)

How the Right Agile Software Can Improve Development Life Cycle

Managing the complexity of software development while keeping teams aligned and on track and maintaining flexibility can be tricky – especially without the right tools to manage the process.

Having the right Agile software can drastically improve every stage of the Agile development life cycle.

A purpose-built Agile tool can bring your process to life through effective visualization, collaboration tools, and metrics that are actually meaningful to your Agile journey – from planning to release and beyond.

There are several ways to approach the process of selecting an Agile tool for your team or organization. It’s easy to get overwhelmed considering how many Agile and Agile-adjacent tools there are on the market.

Keep your decision-making process simple by focusing on the key functionalities you need from your Agile software in each of the stages of the development life cycle: Planning, Design, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Starting with the Planning stage, visual management is key. The right Agile tool will allow you to brainstorm, document, share, and prioritize your ideas all in one place – ideally, in an intuitive, collaborative Kanban format.

Seamless integration with the rest of your stack is also a critical consideration for making sure that your Agile teams can work efficiently. Also crucial: Real-time collaboration and communication functionalities, including swift, clear risk identification and communication.

Finally, Lean and Agile metrics can help teams track and measure how quickly work moves through the process to identify opportunities for meaningful improvement.

What To Do Next

Ready to learn more about how to use Agile software to improve your organization beyond just software development?

Whether you are just starting your Agile journey at the team level, scaling Agile and implementing Agile Program Management at the program level, or stepping up your portfolio practices with a Lean approach, download The Complete Agile Software Buying Guide as a smart next step.

This guide provides the basic selection criteria to help your organization understand what it needs to grow and thrive at each stage of the journey. You’ll learn what to consider when adopting Lean and Agile practices and how to determine the right solution for your organization.

(Video) Software Development Lifecycle in 9 minutes!

FAQs

What are the advantages of using the agile model in software development life cycle? ›

One of the major benefits of an Agile SDLC is that it promotes cross-functional team collaboration and feedback sharing. This means different teams work in tandem to create better quality software while aligning with client requirements.

Is Agile a software development life cycle? ›

The Agile software development life cycle is the structured series of stages that a product goes through as it moves from beginning to end. It contains six phases: concept, inception, iteration, release, maintenance, and retirement.

When would you use Agile vs SDLC? ›

SDLC works on the principle of one-time massive whole delivery, where the complete project is delivered at the end of SDLC lifecycle. Agile offers the flexibility to break the project into multiple small chunks of deliveries at a defined time interval.

What are 3 benefits of an Agile approach? ›

Agile produces important metrics like lead time, cycle time, and throughput that helps measure the team's performance, identify bottlenecks and make data-driven decisions to correct them. The Agile framework is a powerful tool that helps managers, team members, and clients.

What is the main purpose of using software development life cycle? ›

Purpose. The purpose of an SDLC methodology is to provide IT Project Managers with the tools to help ensure successful implementation of systems that satisfy University strategic and business objectives.

Which software development life cycle is best? ›

Agile is the best SDLC methodology and also one of the most used SDLC in the tech industry as per the annual State of Agile report. At RnF Technologies, Agile is the most loved software development life cycle model.

Why Agile model is best? ›

Agile methods can help teams manage work more efficiently and do the work more effectively while delivering the highest quality product within the constraints of the budget.

What are the 5 lifecycle steps of an Agile project? ›

The beauty of Agile is realized throughout a series of five stages, known as the software development lifecycle: Ideation, development, testing, deployment, and operations.

How do I choose a good software development methodology? ›

How to Choose the Best Software Development Methodology
  1. Requirements Flexibility – Before deciding on a methodology, teams should consider the requirements of the project.
  2. Project Size – Some methodologies work best for large-scale projects, while others are more suitable for smaller projects.
29 Sept 2022

Which agile approach helps to improve? ›

Scrum, one of the main agile methods, help teams to improve their project cycle time by considering team capacity.

When should an agile model be used? ›

The Agile methodology was created for projects where the significant constraints are not well understood. If your project involves developing a new product, the scope and timeline may be difficult to determine in advance.

When Agile is suitable for a project? ›

Agile is suitable for use on projects that have a level of urgency and complexity attached to it. The agile approach will only be feasible for a project if the goals of the project are properly defined and the project deliverables can be released incrementally.

What is the difference between SDLC and Agile methodologies? ›

Main Differences

Philosophy: SDLC follows a predictive approach, with detailed planning and defined user requirements. Agile follows an adaptive approach, based on quick feedback exchange and continuous design improvements.

What are the 5 important types of Agile methodology? ›

There are 5 main Agile methodologies: Scrum, Kanban, Extreme Programming (XP), Lean Development e Crystal.

What are the top two reasons for adopting Agile? ›

12 Key Reasons Companies are Adopting Agile
  • Faster time to market.
  • Early ROI.
  • Feedback from real customers.
  • Build the right products.
  • Early risk reduction.

What are the principles of software development life cycle? ›

The SDLC is not a methodology per se, but rather a description of the phases in the life cycle of a software application. In a broad sense, these phases are: investigation, analysis, design, build, test, implement, and maintenance and support.

What are the features of software development life cycle? ›

Software Development Life Cycle is the application of standard business practices to building software applications. It's typically divided into six to eight steps: Planning, Requirements, Design, Build, Document, Test, Deploy, Maintain.

What is the most significant stage in the software development life cycle? ›

However, many software development experts suggest that the requirement collection and analysis stage is the most important aspect of SDLC. This is when the project team begins to understand what the stakeholders expect from the project.

Which SDLC model is best suited for big projects? ›

The Spiral model is mainly used for large projects. It allows development teams to include user feedback early on and create a highly customized product. Another advantage of this SDLC model is how it handles risk management.

Why is SDLC the best option? ›

SDLC is crucial because it breaks up the long and tedious life cycle of software development. By and large, evaluating each part of the development is much easier and it helps programmers concurrently work on every stage.

Which SDLC model is best for large projects? ›

The Spiral model is typically used for large projects. It enables development teams to build a highly customized product and incorporate user feedback early on. Another benefit of this SDLC model is risk management.

Why do companies choose Agile? ›

Agile methods give companies frameworks they can use to complete their projects in an effective manner. All the project needs and requirements are listed in the framework and all projects progress in a smooth manner. This is a much better way of managing projects when compared to the traditional waterfall method.

What is the most important thing in Agile? ›

An Agile focus should be on improving the product and advancing consistently. Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential. The goal is to get just enough done to complete the requested project.

What are the 4 pillars of Agile? ›

The four values of the Agile Manifesto
  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation.
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
  • Responding to change over following a plan.

What are the 4 principles of Agile? ›

The four core values of Agile software development as stated by the Agile Manifesto are:
  • individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
  • working software over comprehensive documentation;
  • customer collaboration over contract negotiation; and.
  • responding to change over following a plan.

What is Agile life cycle management? ›

Agile Product Lifecycle Management is a tool acquired by Oracle that is used to drive product innovation process in number of industries including manufacturing, FMCG, life sciences, high-tech, etc.

What factors should you consider when choosing software? ›

7 Things to Consider Before Buying Software
  • How much does it cost and what is the value? ...
  • Will you need assisted implementation? ...
  • Is the software company prepared to fix bugs? ...
  • How often do they push updates? ...
  • Is the system customizable enough to meet your needs? ...
  • What kind of support do they offer?
2 Dec 2019

What are the criteria for selecting good software? ›

  • Evaluating a wide range of emerging options requires the development of software selection criteria to ensure that products are the best fit for the varied needs of the users and are in alignment with a sustainable business model. ...
  • Operating costs.
  • Functions/features.
  • Reliability.
  • software have been released? ...
  • Vendor.

How do I know which Agile framework to use? ›

The choice of agile framework should be a collaborative discussion between teams, organizational leadership, and any stakeholders. Every part of the team should have input into what key features they will need from the framework.

Why Agile is better than traditional methods? ›

The advantages of Agile over traditional development methodologies include: Though the problem statement/business need and solution are defined in advance, they can be modified at any time. Requirements/User Stories can be provided periodically implying better chances for mutual understanding among developer and user.

What is the main purpose of agile methodologies? ›

The Agile methodology is a collection of principles that value adaptability and flexibility. Agile aims to provide better responsiveness to changing business needs and therefore focuses on enabling teams to deliver in workable increments.

What are the 3 4 biggest challenges to the management of projects using agile methodologies? ›

Agile challenges and how to beat them
  • Clashes with finance. “You don't scope everything out to the -nth degree. ...
  • Lack of planning. ...
  • Change resistance to agile. ...
  • Legacy HR practices. ...
  • Taking a waterfall approach to agile rollouts.
24 Oct 2019

Which SDLC model is better waterfall or Agile? ›

Waterfall is a better method when a project must meet strict regulations as it requires deliverables for each phase before proceeding to the next one. Alternatively, Agile is better suited for teams that plan on moving fast, experimenting with direction and don't know how the final project will look before they start.

How does Scrum approach the development life cycle? ›

There are 5 phases within Scrum: product backlog creation, sprint planning, working on the Sprint, testing/demonstrating, and retrospective. First, in product backlog creation, the Product Owner works with the Scrum team to prioritize items based on: Custom priority.

Why Agile process is more advantageous? ›

Complete visibility of the progress of each project in real-time. Another advantage of using an agile approach is the transparency of each project thanks to feedbacks due to frequent exchanges with clients. This allows them to feel more involved and ask for changes throughout the project.

What are two advantages of using an agile project management tool? ›

Advantages of Agile Project Management
  • You can deploy software quicker, so your customer can get value sooner rather than later.
  • You waste fewer resources because you always work on up-to-date tasks.
  • You can better adapt to change and respond faster.
  • Faster turnaround times.
  • You can detect and fix issues and defects faster.
21 Jun 2017

What are the advantages of system development life cycle? ›

Benefits of System Development Life Cycle

Defined overview of a system, resources, timeline, and the project goals. Setting up a clear guideline for developers. Creating a schedule and tracking each stage of the development process and its results. Better control over the large and complex projects.

What is agility in software development and what are its advantages? ›

Agility means effective (rapid and adaptive) response to change, effective communication among all stockholder. Drawing the customer onto team and organizing a team so that it is in control of work performed.

What is the most important tool for agile development? ›

Sprint through this list to find the best Agile tools for your team of developers and project managers.
  • Codegiant. ...
  • ProProfs Project. ...
  • Axosoft. ...
  • Assembla. ...
  • Zoho Projects. ...
  • Asana. ...
  • Wrike. Wrike is a project management tool that works well for small Agile teams. ...
  • Trello. Trello is a popular Agile project management tool.
10 Nov 2022

Which Agile tool is best? ›

No doubt, Atlassian JIRA is one of the best project management tools used by Agile teams.
...
Tool Features:
  • Customizable Scrum Boards that can make to fit according to your team's workflow. ...
  • Flexible Kanban boards for continuously delivering maximum output at minimum effort.
25 Oct 2022

Which is the best method in SDLC? ›

Agile is the best SDLC methodology and also one of the most used SDLC in the tech industry as per the annual State of Agile report. At RnF Technologies, Agile is the most loved software development life cycle model. Here's why. Agile is extremely adaptive which makes it different from all other SDLC.

Which is the most important phase of SDLC? ›

The testing phase of the SDLC is one of the most important. It is impossible to deliver quality software without testing. There is a wide variety of testing necessary to measure quality: Code quality.

What is the most important stage in system development life cycle? ›

However, many software development experts suggest that the requirement collection and analysis stage is the most important aspect of SDLC. This is when the project team begins to understand what the stakeholders expect from the project.

Which is the value of Agile software development? ›

Four values of Agile

The four core values of Agile software development as stated by the Agile Manifesto are: individuals and interactions over processes and tools; working software over comprehensive documentation; customer collaboration over contract negotiation; and.

What is Agile software development process? ›

Agile is an iterative approach to project management and software development that helps teams deliver value to their customers faster and with fewer headaches. Instead of betting everything on a "big bang" launch, an agile team delivers work in small, but consumable, increments.

What is Agile model in software development? ›

Agile SDLC model is a combination of iterative and incremental process models with focus on process adaptability and customer satisfaction by rapid delivery of working software product. Agile Methods break the product into small incremental builds. These builds are provided in iterations.

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