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What is agile project development?

In DevOps, agile project development – otherwise known as agile software development – is an iterative approach to project delivery, in which software is built in an incremental fashion from the beginning of the project. Agile project development stands in stark contrast to the “Waterfall Model”––a traditional approach in the software development field in which projects are delivered all at once.

So how does agile project development works and what are its benefits? Let’s start with the first half of that question.

In agile project development, teams first break down projects into smaller pieces that they can tackle; these pieces are known as user stories and they contain simple descriptions of what the project’s requirements and components are. 

 

After laying out these user stories, teams then discuss them, prioritize them and begin working on them. With agile project development, teams deliver components of the project through continuous delivery and integration and short cycles (known as sprints) and iterations. 

Benefits of agile project development 

Teams that implement agile project development can experience a number of benefits: 

  1. Higher project quality. In agile project development, teams define and prioritize requirements ahead of time. In addition, DevOps processes – such as continuous delivery and integration – ensure consistent testing, continual improvements and better documentation. This results in software that is a higher quality than that produced using traditional approaches.
  2. Better visibility and performance. Teams that embrace agile project development know exactly where they stand, as each component of the project is broken down into smaller pieces––making it easier for them to see their progress as well as the progress of other teams involved. This leads to better visibility of the product and more productive, performing teams. 
  3. Greater predictability. Because agile project development improves visibility and performance, it also has a positive impact on predictability. With every project development cycle or sprint, teams see where the roadblocks are and can work quickly to fix them.
  4. Less risk. In agile project development, teams work on requirements in an iterative fashion and, as a result, they are able to reduce the risk of project failure. This is because, with every piece that is “assembled,” the team will have visibility into whether it works or not. That way, when the final product is complete, every part of the product has already been tested and is functional. This is in contrast to a traditional approach, where everything is delivered at once, making it difficult to discern what part of the project is not working. 
  5. Higher customer satisfaction. At the end of the day, the above benefits that agile project development provides leads to an important outcome: customer satisfaction. Through agile methodologies, teams ensure that the software works at every step, this not only leads to higher satisfaction when customers use the product, but also provides room for further customer engagement during the development cycle. For example, teams can share get feedback from clients by providing them with early access to products. 

Get started with agile project development

Agile project development is one of most adopted approaches to software development, with 71% companies reporting that they use agile methodologies. Studies show that using this approach can, on average, bring products to market 37% more quickly and be 16% more productive as a team. 

Agile project development starts with having the right tools at your disposal. See how MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform can enable teams to apply DevOps practices throughout the entire software development cycle