Agile is a project management methodology that is an alternative to the waterfall methodology. Whereas the waterfall method is rigid and linear, Agile is a flexible and adaptable methodology that focuses on being iterative. Because of Agile’s iterative nature, customer feedback is a part of, even required in the developmental process so that the product can be continuously tested and improved after every iteration. By being able to respond to change through customer collaboration, the end-product can be completed to more closely resemble the end-product that the customer is looking for.
The iteration of Agile allows a project team to only focus on specific tasks and complete them within the timeframe allotted. For example, in Kanban, a project board is divided into tasks that must be done, tasks in progress, and tasks that have been completed. One of the best practices for Kanban is to restrict the number of items allowed on the board under the category of ‘in progress’, this singles out tasks that are of a higher priority or are more within grasp than others and helps to lessen any distractions team members might have from other tasks that aren’t the focus of the iteration. Furthermore, the visualization of progress through the use of the ‘tasks done’ category on the project board provides a tangible measure of progress so that the project members and stakeholders have a perspective on how far the project has come.
Agile allows higher attention to detail to the intricacies of a project as breaking up the project into smaller chunks and taking them on a little at a time with breaks allows the project team to refocus after every iteration and reflect on how things can be improved before continuing on to the next iteration. With the frequent delivery of working components, it is also easier for stakeholders to provide feedback on the completed work.
Collaboration between stakeholders and the project team an important part of Agile. After every iteration, the stakeholders or customers review the current state of the project and can provide input to what can be changed or improved. Doing this fosters trust between the stakeholders and the project team so that both parties know that they have support from the other and can then be motivated to perform better.
Agile is a methodology that can be used to deliver complex projects that have changing requirements over the course of the project. It allows everyone involved to collaborate on the project so that the end product is a collection of continuous improvements made throughout the development process. This results in a product that is of high quality, made in the allotted timeframe and with as little conflict between stakeholders as possible.